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The Siege (1998)

R  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  6 November 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 55,374 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 277 user | 118 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

The secret US abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York that lead to the declaration of martial law.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ahmed Ben Larby ...
Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed ...
Lianna Pai ...
Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
FBI Agent Mike Johanssen
Fred Darius
Danny Sussman
FBI Agent Floyd Rose
Jeremy Knaster ...
INS Official
INS Uniform
Khalil Saleh


After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City. Written by Karen Eiler <keiler@sprintmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


On November 6th our freedom is history See more »


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

6 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Against All Enemies  »

Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,931,285 (USA) (6 November 1998)


SGD 511,909 (Singapore) (19 February 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


This started life with the title "Martial Law". See more »


The terrorist's hands are on/off the pizza box depending on the angle. See more »


General William Devereaux: The Army is a broad sword, not a scalpel. Trust me, senator - you do not want the Army in an American city.
See more »


Features Jesse James (1939) See more »


First You Cry
Written by Buddy Flett and David Egan
Performed by Little Buster And The Soul Brothers
Courtesy of Rounder Records
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the Effects of Cinematic Media: Reaction
23 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Watching the 1998 THE SIEGE in 2007 and then rolling through all the reviews of this film from the time of release to the present is a lesson in the power of the cinema. The obvious initial response was less about the film as a film than about the manner in which the FBI, CIA, Military, Terrorists, and public responded to the unimaginable: shouts of protests about 'glorification of occult terrorists', the Hollywood idea of the impossible happening, and the criticism of the fine cast of actors who steeped into roles 'beyond swallowing' are all here in these reviews.

Now, six years after 9/11 reviewers are taking a different view, though most still find the film pompous and obnoxious. Offensive versus defensive. And after viewing the movie as a movie it is gratifying to know that people feel strongly and are vocal about the depiction of the 'war against terrorism' we continue to lose. Movies that make people think and talk are valuable, and in that light the film is more successful than initially considered.

Yes, there are gaping holes in the script and the plot and the concept, but as a little thriller it maintains our attention throughout and offers some fine moments from actors such as Denzel Washington, Annette Bening, Tony Shalhoub, Bruce Willis, Sami Bouajila, Ahmed Ben Larby, Aasif Mandvi among others. And then there are the panoramas of New York City under siege with the Twin Towers standing mightily in the cityscape... It begs the question: if scriptwriter Lawrence Wright and director Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Courage Under Fire, Glory, Leaving Normal, Legends of the Fall, etc) were thinking along these lines and finding flaws in our intelligence forces, why weren't the leaders in Washington, DC in tune with 'absurd possibilities'? It makes one think - and that is the best thing about this film. Grady Harp

37 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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