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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

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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.



883 ( 95)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 84 wins & 167 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wahab Sheikh ...
Detainee on Monitor
Detainee on Monitor
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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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:

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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
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Did You Know?


This is Jeremy Hindle's first feature-film work as production designer. Hindle previously collaborated with Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser on numerous TV commercial shoots. Director Kathryn Bigelow lauded Hindle for his remarkably precise re-creation of the huge Osama bin Laden compound, built from scratch in the Jordanian desert, in less than three months. See more »


In one interrogating scene the tattoo on Dan's right upper arm is smudged, revealing that its only painted on. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

The filmmakers wish to especially acknowledge the sacrifice of those men, women, and families who were most impacted by the events depicted in this film: the victims and the families of the 9/11 attacks; as well as the attacks in the United Kingdom; the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan; in Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and at the Camp Chapman Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. We also wish to acknowledge and honor the many extraordinary military and intelligence professionals and first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice. See more »


Featured in Loose Canon: 9/11 (2016) See more »


Pavlov's Dogs
Written by Charles Maggio, Keith Huckins, Andrew Gormley, Nick Forte III and Chris Laucella
Performed by Rorschach
Courtesy of Gern Blandsten Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Perfect Depiction of the UBL Saga
15 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

I'm not claiming that this movie is 100% factual or even close to it but I think the filmmaker did a brilliant job of chronicling the UBL saga. IMO the theme of the movie in a nutshell is this: We got this guy (maybe?) but at what cost and were we justified? These are not easy questions to answer and they are left open ended for the most part.

The three main criticisms I've come across in the reviews is that 1) The movie is propaganda 2) It glorifies torture and 3) It is factually inaccurate. The third is probably a legitimate criticism but the movie really makes no pretenses about being a documentary and there is a prominent disclaimer at the beginning that it is based primarily on eye-witness accounts (and it is common knowledge that those can be unreliable). Regarding the death of UBL - well the movie even leaves that open ended which is pretty consistent with the actual reported events. We only get brief blurred glimpses of the side of his face and the only definitive identification comes from the 'expert' protagonist who is clearly somewhat derailed and obsessed with the manhunt (and who also stated UBL was at that location with 100% certainty).

That leads in to the first criticism. I fail to understand how this movie can be perceived as propaganda. How does portraying a 10 year ordeal culminating in an unglamorous methodical execution style raid (in which a helicopter crashes and SEALS kill possibly innocent bystanders with machine like precision) where the target's identity is not a even a certainty even remotely constitute a biased pro American agenda? Not to mention that the whole raid is brought about by a hunch and a fluke stroke of luck and not any actual key pieces of information obtained through interrogation (other than a name). If anything luck was the deciding factor in taking down UBL - not American awesomeness.

Now the torture - How does showing torture equate to glorifying torture? Does Braveheart glorify torture too? Again - this had the opposite effect on me. The viewer is forced to confront the unpleasant reality that we tortured many detainees (probably pointlessly) in our desperation to capture UBL and bring him to justice. What was the primary motivation? Revenge? Safety? Do the ends justify the means? Essentially that's the exact question the filmmaker is posing to the viewer by exposing the torture to public scrutiny.

Perhaps this movie just rubs people the wrong way because they find it too sympathetic to government officials. It's easy to criticize to the Government and trust me I am far from an optimist when it comes to American politicians so I do it often. Obviously our leaders were faced with some difficult decisions after 9/11. Did we handle things the best way? Certainly not, but for better or worse this thing played out the way it did and we have to deal with it and move forward.

86 of 136 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Dont understand the hate for this! gordonwilson1
Recruited out of high school pb-2
learn the facts! owenryanhhs
So why did Argo win over this? jimmyr5595
This movie did not glorify waterboarding and torture TrouserArmadillo
This movie was a massive letdown thehiphopunderworld
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