8.0/10
567,301
655 user 184 critic

12 Monkeys (1995)

Twelve Monkeys (original title)
In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director:

Terry Gilliam

Writers:

Chris Marker (film La Jetée), David Webb Peoples (screenplay) (as David Peoples) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
549 ( 110)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Melito Joseph Melito ... Young Cole
Bruce Willis ... James Cole
Jon Seda ... Jose
Michael Chance Michael Chance ... Scarface
Vernon Campbell ... Tiny
H. Michael Walls H. Michael Walls ... Botanist
Bob Adrian ... Geologist
Simon Jones ... Zoologist
Carol Florence Carol Florence ... Astrophysicist / Jones
Bill Raymond ... Microbiologist
Ernest Abuba Ernest Abuba ... Engineer
Irma St. Paule ... Poet
Madeleine Stowe ... Kathryn Railly
Joey Perillo ... Detective Franki
Bruce Kirkpatrick Bruce Kirkpatrick ... Policeman No. 1
Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman
Donnie Darko (2001)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton
Looper (2012)
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
District 9 (2009)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Violence ensues after an extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth finds a kindred spirit in a government agent exposed to their biotechnology.

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope
Sin City (2005)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A movie that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis
Moon (2009)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.

Director: Duncan Jones
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott
Gattaca (1997)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

Director: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law
Brazil (1985)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.

Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Total Recall (1990)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or is he?

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Danny Ocean and his ten accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Edit

Storyline

An intense film about time travel, this Sci-Fi entry was directed by Terry Gilliam, a member of the comedy troupe Monty Python. The film stars Bruce Willis as James Cole, a prisoner of the state in the year 2035 who can earn parole if he agrees to travel back in time and thwart a devastating plague. The virus has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the remainder live underground because the air is poisonous. Returning to the year 1990, six years before the start of the plague, Cole is soon imprisoned in a psychiatric facility because his warnings sound like mad ravings. There he meets a scientist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the mad son of an eminent virologist (Christopher Plummer). Cole is returned by the authorities to the year 2035, and finally ends up at his intended destination in 1996. He kidnaps Dr. Railly in order to enlist her help in his quest. Cole discovers graffiti by an apparent animal rights group called the Army ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're Coming. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A tagline originally suggested for this film was: "The future is in the hands of a man who has none." This was considered to be a confusing tagline, as it made it sound as though he had no hands, as opposed to having no future. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Railly is tied to the bed in the motel, her bonds are clearly not very secure. In her struggles, she very nearly frees her right foot, by accident. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
James Cole: Jose - psst! Jose, what's going on?
Jose: Bad news, man
James Cole: Volunteers?
Jose: Yeah. And they said your name.
[pause]
Jose: Hey, maybe they'll give you a pardon, man.
James Cole: [sarcastic] Yeah, that's why none of the volunteers come back. They all get a pardon.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The symbol of the 12 Monkeys provides the backdrop for the opening and closing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cascadeur (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Introduccion
(1982)
from "Suite Punta Del Este" (Twelve Monkeys Theme)
Written by Astor Piazzolla
See more »

User Reviews

 
Full of Gillian-isms, Empty of Willis-isms - in a good way...
23 November 2006 | by j30bellSee all my reviews

There is a story (possibly apocryphal) about an exchange between Bruce Willis and Terry Gilliam at the start of Twelve Monkeys. Gilliam (allegedly) produced a long list (think about the aircraft one from the Fifth Element) and handed it to Butch Bruce. It was entitled "Things Bruce Willis Does When He Acts". It ended with a simple message saying: "please don't do any of the above in my movie".

There is a fact about this movie (definitely true). Gilliam didn't have a hand in the writing.

I would contend that these two factors played a huge role in creating the extraordinary (if not commercial) success that is The Twelve Monkeys.

Visually, the Twelve Monkeys is all that we have rightly come to expect from a Gilliam film. It is also full of Gilliamesque surrealism and general (but magnificent) strangeness. Gilliam delights in wrong-footing his audience. Although the ending of the Twelve Monkeys will surprise no one who has sat through the first real, Gilliam borrows heavily from Kafka in the clockwork, bureaucratic relentless movement of the characters towards their fate. It is this journey, and the character developments they undergo, which unsettles.

I love Gilliam films (Brazil, in particular). But they do all tend to suffer from the same weakness. He seems to have so many ideas, and so much enthusiasm, that his films almost invariably end up as a tangled mess (Brazil, in particular). I still maintain that Brazil is Gilliam's tour de force, but there's no denying that The Twelve Monkey's is a breath of fresh air in the tight-plotting department. Style, substance and form seem to merge in a way not usually seen from the ex-Python.

Whatever the truth of the rumour above, Gilliam also manages to get a first rate (and very atypical) performance out of the bald one. Bruce is excellent in this film, as are all the cast, particularly a suitably bonkers - and very scary - Brad Pitt.

It's been over a decade since this film was released. When I watched it again, I realised that it hadn't really aged. I had changed, of course. And this made me look at the film with fresh eyes. This seems to me to be a fitting tribute to a film that, partly at least, is about reflections in mirrors, altered perspectives and the absurd one-way journey through time that we all make. A first rate film. 8/10.


117 of 153 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 655 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

5 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

12 Monkeys See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,001 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,776, 1 January 1996

Gross USA:

$57,141,459

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$168,839,459
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS-Stereo | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.



Recently Viewed