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The Siege (1998)

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The secret U.S. abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York City, which leads to the declaration of martial-law.



(story), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ahmed Ben Larby ...
Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed ...
Lianna Pai ...
Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
Fred Darius
Jeremy Knaster ...
INS Uniform
Khalil Saleh


After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City. Written by Karen Eiler <keiler@sprintmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An enemy they can't see. A nation under siege. A crisis they can't control See more »


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

6 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Against All Enemies  »


Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,931,285, 8 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


While negotiating with the bus bombers, Hubbard offers to exchange himself for the hostages. In Ricochet (1991), Denzel Washington's character makes the same offer while negotiating with another criminal holding a woman hostage. See more »


General Devereaux mentions the M16-A1 assault rifle when he should have said the M16-A2 See more »


Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: All right, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to take your boy Samir downtown, I'm going to strap his ass to a polygraph machine and I'm going to ask him questions about you. Then I'm going to take those transcripts, I'm going to take them to a friend of mine at the New York Times who just loves to write stories about the link between the CIA and political horror shows.
Sharon Bridger: If you burn him, you'll lose any chance you've got.
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: So what? It's lose-lose, isn't that what you said?
Sharon Bridger: I'm not ...
See more »


First You Cry
Written by Buddy Flett and David Egan
Performed by Little Buster And The Soul Brothers
Courtesy of Rounder Records
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Effective movie on a relevant topic with an ending that contradicts its message
28 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

Released in 1998, "The Siege" chronicles events as New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks after the abduction of an Islamic leader by the US military. The head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force (Denzel Washington) teams up with a CIA operative (Annette Benning) to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. Ultimately, the US government declares martial law and sends in the troops, led by General Devereaux (Bruce Willis). Tony Shalhoub plays the FBI agent's Arab-American partner while Sami Bouajila plays a seemingly suspicious Arab-American.

While clueless PC morons have criticized this movie as "racist propaganda" it dared to show the awful truth in the late 90s and was nigh prophetic in light of 9/11 occurring less than three years later. There are numerous noble Arab-Americans, and the movie emphasizes this, but – let's be honest – there are also Islamic whack-jobs in our midst who enjoy blowing themselves up with as many innocents as possible so they can go home to Allah and 72 virgins (or whatever).

I like the fact that General Devereaux (Willis) isn't a black or white character and viewers can have completely different views about whether or not he's actually a villain. The movie shows that he's a professional soldier who warns the governmental leaders exactly what would happen under martial Law, a suspension of all civilian rights guaranteed under the constitution, clearly cautioning them that they might not like the form of medicine martial law dishes out. But it's a desperate situation and they give him the go-ahead, so he offers up exactly what he said he would give. He has his methods to protect his country and performs them with conviction. The terrorists were killing masses of innocents and he's commissioned to stop it, which is what he does, PC or not. Does this make him evil? These are questions the movie provokes and you'll have to answer them for yourself.

This is a quality movie that frankly addresses relevant topics and tries to be fair and balanced, but it sorta shoots itself in the foot at the end. Read the spoiler commentary below for details.

The film runs 116 minutes and was shot in New York City with a couple scenes in California.



One of the main points of the movie is that it's wrong to mistreat Muslim-Americans by profiling them, rounding them up and subjecting them to investigation outside normal procedures because it's equivalent to the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2. There are two problems with this: (1.) It isn't the same issue. Interning the Japanese was wrong because the government was rounding them up based on their ETHNIC HERITAGE. The Feds would've interned German-Americans if they used the same logic. The issue with Muslim terrorism isn't ethnicity, but rather religion. Statistically, most terrorists against the US are Muslims of Middle Eastern descent. Therefore "profiling" them is simply acting in accord with statistics. That's just cold hard logic, not racism. By contrast, interning Japanese-Americans during WW2 wasn't logical.

(2.) More importantly, the movie undermines itself by having Samir turn out to be a radical suicide bomber. This revelation demonstrates that peaceful Muslims can't be trusted, just as the Army and their supporters believed (in the movie). There's no reason to assume that any of the rank-and-file Muslims depicted couldn't have turned out to be terrorists just like Samir. This being the case, the army was right to intern and interrogate them. As you can see, the movie takes a noble position and then inexplicably contradicts it.

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