6.2/10
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74 user 63 critic

Mad City (1997)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 7 November 1997 (USA)
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A disgruntled security guard holds a school trip group hostage, while a news reporter forms a bond with him.

Director:

Costa-Gavras

Writers:

Tom Matthews (screenplay), Tom Matthews (story) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Sam
Dustin Hoffman ... Brackett
Mia Kirshner ... Laurie
Alan Alda ... Kevin Hollander
Robert Prosky ... Lou Potts
Blythe Danner ... Mrs. Banks
William Atherton ... Dohlen
Ted Levine ... Lemke
Tammy Lauren ... Miss Rose
William O'Leary ... CTN Junior Executive
Raymond J. Barry ... Dobbins
Lucinda Jenney ... Jenny
Akosua Busia ... Diane
Ebbe Roe Smith ... Bartholomew
Bingwa Bingwa ... Nat Jackson
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Storyline

Sam Baily, upset over losing his job, takes a natural history museum hostage. Max Brackett, journalist, is in the museum when this occurs, and gets the scoop. The story spreads nation wide, and soon it is all anyone talks about. The story itself is the news, not the reason why or the real people behind it. Written by <freckles@vivid.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This November, the biggest hostage negotiation is about to begin See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of a hostage situation, including violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cuarto poder See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,649,742, 9 November 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,556,196, 11 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pastor in the news montage is an actual pastor of the church where the filming took place for his brief interview. The crew was filming, he was watching and was talking with one of the assistant directors, who then invited him to appear in the movie. He had no prior acting experience. See more »

Quotes

Max Brackett: I think they'd want to know.
See more »

Connections

References Dog Day Afternoon (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Jenny's Garden
Written and Produced by Philippe Sarde
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User Reviews

 
Costa-Gavras is certainly worth a little of your time
9 April 2002 | by Keith F. HatcherSee all my reviews

A second seeing of this film recently confirmed my impressions on seeing `Missing' (1982)(qv) also a second time a few months back. Costa-Gavras has things to say and he does not mince up his message.

In `Missing' he succeeded in getting Jack Lemmon to play a convincing role, and in `Mad City' he managed to get John Travolta to carry out the best role I have seen him in: his playing of a deranged simple worker real mad at having lost his job is truly memorable. Dustin Hoffman ably supports but without exceeding himself overly.

However, rather than the actors in themselves, it is the story itself which is more important and its message: getting the story on your TV news programme before your competitors is much more important than any other considerations – such as in this case, a group of schoolchildren held hostage with a shotgun aimed at them. But do not worry about them – get the story live on TV at any price, what a scoop! what a sensation!

And thus we live at the dictates of that ogre of communications called TV: whether wars in Rwanda or Afghanistan or Palestinians blowing themselves up in Israeli cafés or airliners crashing into the WTC, the most important thing is to get it live on screen for the hungry masses. We are at the mercy of papirazzi, that merciless squad of camera-toting fame-seekers, who have no scruples at getting their story first or even inventing it.

Thanks for the message, Costa-Gavras: I learnt it long ago, but you tell it well.


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