7.3/10
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282 user 69 critic

The Negotiator (1998)

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In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director:

F. Gary Gray
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel L. Jackson ... Danny Roman
Kevin Spacey ... Chris Sabian
David Morse ... Adam Beck
Ron Rifkin ... Grant Frost
John Spencer ... Chief Al Travis
J.T. Walsh ... Terence Niebaum
Siobhan Fallon Hogan ... Maggie (as Siobhan Fallon)
Paul Giamatti ... Rudy
Regina Taylor ... Karen Roman
Bruce Beatty ... Markus
Michael Cudlitz ... Palermo
Carlos Gómez ... Eagle
Tim Kelleher ... Argento
Dean Norris ... Scott
Nestor Serrano ... Hellman
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Storyline

In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late. Written by Ted Walters

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He frees hostages for a living. Now he's taking hostages to survive. 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

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mediador See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,218,831, 2 August 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,484,065, 1 November 1998

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,400,000, 25 October 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS-Stereo | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

When Danny (Samuel L. Jackson) gets on the radio and talks to all of his co-workers from the Department, he says he knows the "rules of engagement". Jackson later starred in Rules of Engagement (2000). See more »

Goofs

The taped segment of the conversation between Danny and Nate before being interrupted is different from the actual scene at the beginning of the film. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Danny Roman: One last question... Do you know who killed Nate?
Insp. Terence Niebaum: [Niebaum leans forward after a long pause] You.
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Connections

References Die Hard (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Doin' What I Did
(1994)
Performed and Written by Dwight Yoakam
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Markets
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User Reviews

An intelligent, taut thriller
11 May 2002 | by Arthur-23See all my reviews

Just when you think he's cornered, he thinks of a new strategy. Samuel L. Jackson portrays Lieutenant Danny Roman, police hostage negotiator. When he's framed for a crime he didn't commit, against his fellow police officers no less, he knows that the only way out is to bring in an equally tough negotiator, Lieutenant Chris Sabian played by Kevin Spacey, who's from another precinct and who therefore could not have been contaminated by the bad elements within his own force, which buys him the necessary time to bluff and blindside while he finds the clues he needs to prove he's innocent. Chicago is taken hostage along with the few people he retains as bargaining chips, and we are taken along for the ride. This was a masterful job of film-making from beginning to end. The characters and story were flawlessly developed. We don't precisely know who's guilty or who's innocent. Roman conducts his interrogation and trial while he negotiates with the police outside, some of whom are working overtime to eliminate Roman before he figures it all out. This all occurs right under the noses of the FBI who are in way over their heads and don't have a clue who's guilty or innocent, just like the rest of us watching. Along the way, we get to witness Roman lecture his underlings about the finer points of negotiations while he himself has just become a hostage taker. "Never say no!" he barks with effective zeal. And he tests his bewildered pupils continuously, who fail continuously. Only Sabian is smart enough to understand what's going on in Roman's mind. The strategy is shared by two men who think alike, who are under stress, and have an innate instinct for lie detection. The screenplay was terrific. The cinematography was effective. The acting of Jackson and Spacey exceptional. And the supporting cast, particularly bad-guy-turned-good-guy Paul Giamatti who provides great comic relief, was outstanding. If you're in the mood for an intelligent, taut thriller, The Negotiator delivers... 9/10.


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