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Face/Off (1997)

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In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.

Director:

John Woo
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1,594 ( 181)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Sean Archer
Nicolas Cage ... Castor Troy
Joan Allen ... Eve Archer
Alessandro Nivola ... Pollux Troy
Gina Gershon ... Sasha Hassler
Dominique Swain ... Jamie Archer
Nick Cassavetes ... Dietrich Hassler
Harve Presnell ... Victor Lazarro
Colm Feore ... Dr. Malcolm Walsh
John Carroll Lynch ... Prison Guard Walton
CCH Pounder ... Hollis Miller
Robert Wisdom ... Tito Biondi
Margaret Cho ... Wanda
James Denton ... Buzz (as Jamie Denton)
Matt Ross ... Loomis
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Storyline

Sean Archer, a very tough, rugged FBI Agent, is still grieving for his dead son Michael. Archer believes that his son's killer is his sworn enemy and a very powerful criminal, Castor Troy. One day, Archer has finally cornered Castor, however, their fight has knocked out Troy cold. As Archer finally breathes easy over the capture of his enemy, he finds out that Troy has planted a bomb that will destroy the entire city of Los Angeles and all of its inhabitants. Unfortunately the only other person who knows its location is Castor's brother Pollux, and he refuses to talk. The solution, a special operation doctor that can cut off people's faces, and can place a person's face onto another person. Archer undergoes one of those surgeries to talk to Pollux. However, Castor Troy somehow regains consciousness and now wants revenge on Archer for taking his face. Not only is Troy ruining Archer's mission, but his personal life as well. Archer must stop Troy again. This time, it's personal. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Only one will survive See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense sequences of strong violence, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

27 June 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Face Off See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,387,530, 29 June 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$112,225,777, 2 November 1997

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$128,000,000, 22 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby | SDDS (uncredited)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name for the floating prison, Erewhon, is a simple anagram of "nowhere" (originally used as the title of a satirical novel by Samuel Butler in 1872). See more »

Goofs

(at around 53 mins) The choking that Archer gave Troy during the visitation scene should have been more than enough to dislodge the microchip in his larynx, therefore preventing him from talking in Archer's voice for the remainder of the film. See more »

Quotes

Sean Archer: [to Eve] I was thinking the other day, I remember I once took a date out for surf and turf, not knowing she was a vegetarian, so she ate bread and broke her tooth on a rice seed, we drove around all night, looking for an all night dentist, and he was so drunk he fixed the wrong tooth, when I finally brought her home, even though it must've hurt like hell, you kissed me
See more »

Alternate Versions

7 seconds in which a butterfly knife is shown were cut out of the UK version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Master of Disguise (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ach, ich fühl's
From 2nd act of opera "Die Zauberflöte"
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Hungarian Festival Chorus and Failoni Kamerazenekar (as Failoni Orchestra, Budapest)
Conducted by Michael Halász (uncredited)
Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz, soprano
Courtesy of Naxos of America
By Arrangement with Source/Q
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Woo's US breakthrough: A triumph!
26 January 2000 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

FACE/OFF

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound formats: Dolby Digital / DTS

This magnificent thriller represents director John Woo's triumphant return to the kind of hyperkinetic, emotionally charged film-making which made him such a hot property in the first place. Following the artistic bankruptcy of his first two Hollywood projects, this one is a marriage of high-octane movie-making and mind-twisting narrative complexities. It's also one of the few American action movies which manages to strike a balance between crowd-pleasing set-pieces and domestic interludes, and renders them equally important. John Travolta and Nicolas Cage are perfectly matched as hero/villain (and vice versa!), whilst heavyweight theatre actress Joan Allen provides the narrative with much of its dramatic backbone in the role of Travolta's wife (the scene in which she is first confronted with her husband in Cage's body is almost identical to a similar scene in Terence Fisher's FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED [1969]).

Technically, the film is a blast, and Woo stages the action highlights with a visual grace and dexterity that is often breathtaking to behold. The climactic speedboat battle is probably the finest set-piece of Woo's career to date, and the script is overflowing with visual and thematic ironies that underscore the action highlights. In fact, the production has arguably more dramatic resonance than any other Hollywood blockbuster of the 1990s, but the dictates of American commercialism mean that Woo is only able to skate over the emotional surface of his characters and their moral dilemmas. The two main protagonists are much too cold and heartless to fully engage the audience's sympathies, and there's nothing here that matches the scorching human drama of, say, BULLET IN THE HEAD (1990). But for all that, FACE/OFF dares to go deeper than your average Hollywood action picture. It's clever, witty and thrilling, and it manages to accomplish the difficult task of feeding the brain whilst entertaining the eye.


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