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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

R  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  11 January 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 202,640 users   Metascore: 95/100
Reviews: 633 user | 553 critic | 46 from

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 107 wins & 128 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wahab Sheikh ...
Detainee on Monitor
Detainee on Monitor
Nabil Elouahabi ...
Detainee on Monitor
Aymen Hamdouchi ...
Detainee on Monitor
Detainee on Monitor
Ali Marhyar ...
Interrogator on Monitor
Interrogator on Monitor


Maya is a CIA operative whose first experience is in the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on the 11th September 2001. She is a reluctant participant in extreme duress applied to the detainees, but believes that the truth may only be obtained through such tactics. For several years, she is single-minded in her pursuit of leads to uncover the whereabouts of Al Qaeda's leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is confident Bin Laden is where she says he is. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


For ten years one woman never stopped searching for the most wanted man in history See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

11 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kill Bin Laden  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$417,150 (USA) (21 December 2012)


$95,720,716 (USA) (29 March 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The term "zero dark thirty" in everyday military life does not refer to any specific time. It is usually used in a somewhat derogatory manner to indicate a time that is extremely early in the morning, as an inconvenience to a member, a time that is out of a person's normal routine. See more »


The breed of dog used in the actual capture of Osama bin Laden was a Belgian Malinois. The breed of dog used in the movie is a German Shepherd. See more »


[first lines]
Dan: I own you, Ammar.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Annapurna Pictures logo briefly appears as if seen through night vision goggles. See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Episode #10.1 (2013) See more »


Move Ya Body
Written by Full Force, Lionel Bermingham, Elijah Wells, Cordel Burell, Natalie Albino, Nicole Albino and Luis Diaz
Performed by Nina Sky featuring Jabba
Courtesy of Universal Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Contains sample of "Coolie Dance Rhythm"
By Cordel Burell (as Cordell 'Scatta' Burrell)
Courtesy of Greensleeves Records Ltd.
License arranged by Fine Goldproductions LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Straightforward Hunt
13 January 2013 | by (Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines) – See all my reviews

One's appeal for Zero Dark Thirty is to see how it depicts the search for Osama Bin Laden like it seems too impossible to find him, like he's probably already dead, or almost doesn't exist. Even though there are controversies going around and some revelations, the story is still all dramatized. Without a surprise from director Kathryn Bigelow, the film is totally electrifying and deliberately engrossing. There is humanity left in the end that made this a lot more compelling, but that's the last thing we should talk about. It never backs away from the promise and stays focus on the mission. Zero Dark Thirty is a powerfully gripping thriller.

It's a straightforward mission and only about the mission. We can see the main protagonist's obsession of capturing Bin Laden even without showing any backstories. She's brave, probably too brave, enough on what she's doing. They have to make difficult decisions to where are they gonna go or who are they gonna find. The film is indeed a dramatize version of the ten year hunt. It plays too much suspense and sudden shock, but no matter what, every tragic event are still portrayed in a completely terrifying way.

There is no doubt this film will fall into a controversy. It features a torture scene that many think they justify it. It is so talked about and was against it but it seems the scenes only exists nothing more than showing that sort of truth. The most awaited part of the movie is indeed the climax. Just like anyone would imagine, it's a silent and mercilessly violent raid. There's a lot of humanity in the character Maya. As much as she aggressively wanted to find her target, she still cannot stomach any brutal interrogation and tragedy happening on her associates and other people. Jessica Chastain manages to weigh all of her personalities. Other strong actors like Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, and Mark Strong keeps their roles effective as well.

Kathryn Bigelow's prominent style is slick tension. Here she displays danger in any place where the characters go like something will suddenly explode or a loud gunfire. The action scenes is filled with suspense. One of the sequences can be tad too ridiculous for this movie but it didn't ruin a single thing to the experience. When it takes place inside the CIA or a meeting, it gets undeniably absorbing. The screen writing makes sure it's factual enough and interesting.

People's expectations might mislead them. Zero Dark Thirty is not only about finding and killing Osama Bin Laden but it's also about one's obsession and revenge to this terrorist. In the end, there's plenty of guilt to express but that proves that they are still human beings. We could merit its brilliant filmmaking and strong storytelling that made it feel like we're part of the search. We all know this is just a dramatization of the true events but all the horrifying truths like the violence stays to the picture. It's a story with nobody calling themselves heroes even though they defeated their enemy. It depicts the darkest parts of its history. Some might wonder how worse it could have been but ignoring all the commotion, Zero Dark Thirty is still a compelling thriller.

63 of 124 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Dont understand the hate for this! gordonwilson1
Why didn't ZDT make American Sniper kind of money? SpaceMonkey-Mafioso
So why did Argo win over this? jimmyr5595
learn the facts! owenryanhhs
Recruited out of high school pb-2
Come on people, it's a f'ing movie... rommedahl-0603
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