6.2/10
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74 user 63 critic

Mad City (1997)

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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:

One man will make a mistake. The other will make it a spectacle. 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

Lou Potts: Jeez, I sent you to cover a piece of fluff, and you come back with a hostage situation.
See more »

Connections

References 60 Minutes (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Guys Like Me
Written and Produced by Philippe Sarde
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User Reviews

Intellectually thrilling - one for the grown-ups.
25 April 2003 | by philipdaviesSee all my reviews

A brilliant examination of our media-driven culture, by a film-maker who has lost none of the passion and intelligence which previously crafted such definitive political thrillers as 'Z' and 'State of siege'. I am staggered that Costa-Gavras could bring this one off while actually working within the American media empire he excoriates!

There's enough stuff here to keep any serious media-studies or political theory courses in seminars and theses for years! I immediately bought a video copy after seeing it - in Glorious SpottiVision - on Britain's quirkily watchable Channel 5; I shall be giving it regular viewings from now on. Few and far between are such examples of intellectually adult and satisfying cinema these days. Truly one to savour, unless you prefer to leave your brains out when watching films.

And Travolta's performance as the wretched ex-guard - a far from simple simpleton - is a revelation: The man is magnificent - Oscar-worthy - the great Hoffman is forced to accept a supporting role!

A great, widely misunderstood film by a true master of cinema.


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