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Twelve Monkeys (1995)

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 »
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Popularity
943 ( 11)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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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 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
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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 »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,001 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,200,000, 7 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 | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the movie, there is an escape attempt but it ends rather quickly. In real life, Eastern State Penitentiary saw dozens of successful escapes. The biggest one was in 1945 when a dozen inmates successfully dug a tunnel from the prison to the outside. The mastermind was bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and he was caught just two blocks away. Most of the others were recaptured and/or shot and one of them, James Grace, voluntarily surrendered himself a week later. He hadn't been able to feed himself since his escape and wanted to know if his cell was still vacant. See more »

Goofs

When in the car in 1996 and Cole asks for more music, the switching from station to station is the sound of an analog radio dial (fade out of one station, fade in to the next), whereas the radio being used is a digital direct-tune type. This is likely intentional on the part of the filmmakers as Terry Gilliam frequently places "retro" technology alongside or inside the modern. 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

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.95 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Woody Woodpecker Music
from cartoon Prehistoric Super Salesman (1969)
Written by Walter Greene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Mind-Bending and Heart-Breaking
31 March 2002 | by dtbSee all my reviews

Terry Gilliam's stunning feature-length adaptation of Chris Marker's short film LA JETEE is full of mind-bending surprises, yet still touches your heart thanks to the superb cast. Gilliam's flair for the phantasmagorical works with the script by David and Janet Peoples to play with your head as much as it does with poor James Cole (Willis at his most Steve McQueen-like -- better than McQueen, even!), a time-traveling convict from the future who literally doesn't know whether he's coming or going as a team of scientists keeps sending him back to the wrong eras while trying to prevent a 1995 plague that's deadly to humans but harmless to animals. Willis, the justifiably Oscar-nominated Brad Pitt, and Madeline Stowe as a well-meaning psychiatrist give some of the best performances of their careers. Even Paul Buckmaster's tango-style score is haunting. This one's a don't-miss!


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