6.3/10
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289 user 119 critic

The Siege (1998)

The secret U.S. abduction of a suspected terrorist, leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York City, that lead to the declaration of martial-law.

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Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
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Ahmed Ben Larby ...
Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed ...
Muezzin
Lianna Pai ...
Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
...
...
Fred Darius
...
...
Jeremy Knaster ...
...
INS Uniform
...
Khalil Saleh
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

On November 6th our freedom is history See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

6 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Against All Enemies  »

Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,931,285 (USA) (8 November 1998)

Gross:

$40,981,289 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to an interview that screenwriter Lawrence Wright gave to CBS in 2007, the film was a box-office failure upon its theatrical release, "but it was the most-rented movie in America after 9/11." Wright also claimed that the initial release bombed because "Muslim and Arab protesters picketed the theaters. They were furious at being stereotyped as terrorists." See more »

Goofs

As in many movies and TV shows, empty paper cups are used when the characters are supposedly drinking coffee. This is most noticeable when Frank Haddad places a cup of coffee on the desk for Tony Hubbard. It has a hollow, empty sound. See more »

Quotes

[Hub and Haddad are being summoned to the Bus 99 incident]
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: [getting in the car] How soon can we get there?
Agent Frank Haddad: This time of day, maybe tomorrow.
See more »

Connections

References 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Eerily prescient.
21 August 2004 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

This film, made in 1998, is so close to the reality of Sept. 11, 2001 that it sends chills down your spine. Although events played out differently, so many elements in the film are near-mirror reflections of the reality. The attacks are carried out by Islamic extremists, whose core network were trained by the CIA, their attacks were dramatic and centered on New York City, there was little cooperation between, the FBI, CIA and military, and Arabs and Arab-Americans were rounded up in large numbers, or were subjected to harassment and violence. The images of bodies and debris are no less shocking than the sight of people jumping to their death from the World Trade Center. Torture was employed by US soldiers, in pursuit of terrorists. With all of that said, even had the attacks of Sept. 11th not occurred, this would still be a tremendous film.

Director Ed Zwick and actor Denzell Washington team up once again for a great one-two punch. Denzell brings great humanity to his role as an FBI agent, charged with counter-terrorism operations and investigations. He is aided by Tony Shalhoub, who delivers another great performance and some of the best lines. Annette Benning displays her talent as a CIA operative at the heart of the whole crisis. Roger Deacons adds his wonderful cinematography, and Bruce Willis turns in a fine performance as an over-zealous army general.

The film delivers a cautionary tale about extreme reactions to terror and the loss of freedoms that can result from acting in anger, rather than with reason and law. The rounding up of citizens, as depicted in the film, and the declarations of martial law, are not that far away from the provisions of the Patriot Act, which violates First Amendment rights, the right to privacy, and the right to due process. The film suggests that by giving up these rights, or stripping them away, we become the very thing that our enemies claim we are. It suggests that that may be the terrorists true aim.

This is not a crystal ball prediction of 9/11; but it is a fine thriller. The filmmakers did their homework and got quite a bit right. They also extrapolated things to an extreme, but not an implausible one. However, they delivered an excellent film, and one that should be seen and studied.


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