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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.

Director:

Edward Zwick

Writers:

Lawrence Wright (story), Lawrence Wright (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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3,992 ( 1,328)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Anthony Hubbard
Annette Bening ... Elise Kraft / Sharon Bridger
Bruce Willis ... General William Devereaux
Tony Shalhoub ... Frank Haddad
Sami Bouajila ... Samir Nazhde
Ahmed Ben Larby Ahmed Ben Larby ... Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed Mosleh Mohamed ... Muezzin
Lianna Pai ... Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
Mark Valley ... Mike Johanssen
Jack Gwaltney ... Fred Darius
David Proval ... Danny Sussman
Lance Reddick ... FBI Agent Floyd Rose
Jeremy Knaster Jeremy Knaster ... INS Official
William Hill ... INS Uniform
Aasif Mandvi ... Khalil Saleh
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

On November 6th our freedom is history See more »

Genres:

Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic | Spanish

Release Date:

6 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Against All Enemies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

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

Gross USA:

$40,981,289

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$116,672,912
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In several scenes, General William Devereaux is seen not wearing his U.S. Army uniform, instead he's seen wearing an ordinary suit. It is revealed that General Devereaux is actually holding a position in the President's cabinet while retaining his Army commission as a Major General, possibly National Security Advisor, or White House Chief of Staff. This resembled Alexander Haig, who was Richard Nixon's Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and later White House Chief of Staff, while retaining his General rank in the Army, or Colin Powell, who was Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, while also retaining his General rank in the Army, and later known as "political General". See more »

Goofs

When Devereaux speaks on live TV about imposing martial law, he is speaking from New York in broad daylight. Yet, within the same scene, a "live" broadcast of Devereaux's speech is shown on a giant screen from Times Square, also in New York, and yet it is night there. See more »

Quotes

[the agents observe and capture Samir]
Agent Frank Haddad: His name's Samir Nazhde. Teaches Arab Studies at Brooklyn College. He sponsored Ail Waziri's student visa. And dig this - his brother blew up a movie theatre in Tel Aviv.
Elise Kraft: You might consider leaving him alone.
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: Why would I consider doing that?
Elise Kraft: Play him like a cop and haul him in now and get your arrest, or tag him and let him lead you to the really big fish.
Agent Frank Haddad: [curses in Arabic] You're fishing and he's getting visas for bombers.
Elise Kraft: You ever heard of catch and ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some post-2001 versions have the World Trade Center digitally removed from the New York skyline. See more »

Connections

Featured in Light It Up (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Great Leap Forward
Written by Jim Kerr (as James Kerr) and Charlie Burchill (as Charles Burchill)
Performed by Simple Minds
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
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 WuchakkSee 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.

GRADE: B-

***SPOILER ALERT*** DON'T READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM

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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