8.0/10
492,375
553 user 146 critic

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director:

Writers:

(film La Jetée), (screenplay) (as David Peoples) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
885 ( 173)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #235 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Groundhog Day (1993)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Donnie Darko (2001)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
Snatch (2000)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro
Die Hard (1988)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of 'Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Memento (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Melito ...
...
...
Michael Chance ...
...
H. Michael Walls ...
...
...
Carol Florence ...
...
Ernest Abuba ...
Irma St. Paule ...
...
...
Bruce Kirkpatrick ...
Edit

Storyline

An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he's told was spread by a mysterious "Army of the Twelve Monkeys") and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert. Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The future is history. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

12 Monkeys  »

Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,001 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,320,430 (UK) (19 April 1996)

Gross:

$56,882,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Cole wakes up in the future to the doctors singing "Blueberry Hill," the painting above him is "Valley of the Yosemite", by Albert Bierstadt. See more »

Goofs

The steering wheel in the taxi. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
James Cole: Jose - psst! Jose, what's going on?
Jose: Bad news, man
James Cole: Volunteers?
Jose: Yeah. And they said your name.
[pause]
Jose: Hey, maybe they'll give you a pardon, man.
James Cole: [sarcastic] Yeah, that's why none of the volunteers come back. They all get a pardon.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The symbol of the 12 Monkeys provides the backdrop for the opening and closing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.140 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Comanche
(1959)
Written by Milton Grant, Link Wray
Performed by Link Wray & The Wraymen
Courtesy of Epic Records Company Limited, London
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Full of Gillian-isms, Empty of Willis-isms - in a good way...
23 November 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

There is a story (possibly apocryphal) about an exchange between Bruce Willis and Terry Gilliam at the start of Twelve Monkeys. Gilliam (allegedly) produced a long list (think about the aircraft one from the Fifth Element) and handed it to Butch Bruce. It was entitled "Things Bruce Willis Does When He Acts". It ended with a simple message saying: "please don't do any of the above in my movie".

There is a fact about this movie (definitely true). Gilliam didn't have a hand in the writing.

I would contend that these two factors played a huge role in creating the extraordinary (if not commercial) success that is The Twelve Monkeys.

Visually, the Twelve Monkeys is all that we have rightly come to expect from a Gilliam film. It is also full of Gilliamesque surrealism and general (but magnificent) strangeness. Gilliam delights in wrong-footing his audience. Although the ending of the Twelve Monkeys will surprise no one who has sat through the first real, Gilliam borrows heavily from Kafka in the clockwork, bureaucratic relentless movement of the characters towards their fate. It is this journey, and the character developments they undergo, which unsettles.

I love Gilliam films (Brazil, in particular). But they do all tend to suffer from the same weakness. He seems to have so many ideas, and so much enthusiasm, that his films almost invariably end up as a tangled mess (Brazil, in particular). I still maintain that Brazil is Gilliam's tour de force, but there's no denying that The Twelve Monkey's is a breath of fresh air in the tight-plotting department. Style, substance and form seem to merge in a way not usually seen from the ex-Python.

Whatever the truth of the rumour above, Gilliam also manages to get a first rate (and very atypical) performance out of the bald one. Bruce is excellent in this film, as are all the cast, particularly a suitably bonkers - and very scary - Brad Pitt.

It's been over a decade since this film was released. When I watched it again, I realised that it hadn't really aged. I had changed, of course. And this made me look at the film with fresh eyes. This seems to me to be a fitting tribute to a film that, partly at least, is about reflections in mirrors, altered perspectives and the absurd one-way journey through time that we all make. A first rate film. 8/10.


92 of 125 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page