When a man enters a hospital claiming to have journeyed back in time from the year 2025 to stop a killer virus from exterminating mankind, a beautiful psychologist decides he might be more than delusional. Terry Gilliam populates this labyrinthine, apocalyptic film with twisted characters and eerie revelations. The film was shot primarily in Philadelphia; Gilliam uses the more dilapidated area of the city to the film's apocalyptic advantage. The film is based on the 1962 French short film LA JETEE.
Main Cast & Crew:
Terry Gilliam - Director
- Format: DVD (Special Edition)
- Run Time: 130
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 025192545221
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Rating: R (MPAA) (for violence and language)
- Release Date: March 1998
In this intriguing science fiction film from director Terry Gilliam, penal colony prisoner James Cole must travel back in time from the year 2035 to find the cause of a virus that killed five billion people in 1997. Cole's trip into the past won't be easy. For starters, he winds up in the wrong year on his first attempt. Once, as he time-travels, Cole ends up a prisoner in an insane asylum in 1990. There, he meets psychiatrist Kathryn Railly and inmate Jeffrey Goines, who could hold the key to the epidemic's spread. Cole later winds up in the middle of a World War I battlefield. After meeting James for a second time, in another year, Dr. Railly gets further involved in his quest. Although she thinks at first that Cole must be crazy, Kathryn soon starts to believe him and attempts to help. But James has already started to question his own sanity and tries to figure out if his journeys through time are real or if he's just been imagining everything.
Released theatrically in New York City and Los Angeles December 27, 1995; released nationwide in the USA January 6, 1996. The film went ape at the box office, grossing $57 million domestically. 12 MONKEYS was inspired by Chris Marker's short film LA JETEE. Marker's work, which is now considered a classic, consists almost completely of still photos, with the exception of one moving image. A presentation of Atlas/Classico. Shot on location in Philadelphia and Baltimore. In DTS Sound. Additional credits: Vincent Montefusco (special effects mechanical and pyrotechnic engineer) and Shirley Montefusco (special effects project manager). Rated BBFC 15 by the British Board of Film Classification. Copyright 1995 Universal City Studios, Inc.
"...Plenty of surrealistic fluorish..." - 12/01/1995 Premiere, p.36
"...Pitt is terrific....Solving the riddle of 12 MONKEYS is an exhilarating challenge..." - 01/29/1996 Rolling Stone, p.64-66
"...A Hitchcockian chase...A crowd-pleasing airport-pursuit pic..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars - 12/27/1995 USA Today, p.1D
"...A near-fractal script,...[an] achingly battered performance [by Willis]...and its own pell-mell momentum....Emotional urgency..." -- Rating: B+ - 07/12/1996 Entertainment Weekly, pp.64-5
"...An unlikely love story combined with a visionary detective yarn....Mystifying, intriguing..." - 12/27/1995 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"This is vintage Gilliam, meaning it's dark, pessimistic, intricate at best..." - 09/27/2012 Wall Street Journal
"Gilliam can find beauty in the most haunting imagery, and 12 MONKEYS is packed with frames that simultaneously horrify and delight." - 04/18/2020 The Atlantic