Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    Gilliam, along with the gifted cinematographer Roger Pratt and production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, fashions a disturbing and dazzling lost world.
  2. Bruce Willis is bruisingly good as the hero and Brad Pitt is suitably zany as the activist who dogs his trail.
  3. 100
    Gilliam keeps the audience guessing, and in doing so creates a startlingly effective rumination on the nature of sanity and madness cloaked in the shroud of a sci-fi thriller.
  4. Fierce and disturbing, with a plot that skillfully resists following any familiar course. The film's hero fears that he's half-crazy, and for two hours Mr. Gilliam artfully keeps his audience feeling the same way.
  5. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    88
    One of the qualities that makes "12 Monkeys" so good is the fact that it is almost too complicated to explain.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    A Hitchcockian chase...A crowd-pleasing airport-pursuit pic. [27 Dec 1995, p.D1]
  7. 88
    It's refreshing to encounter a movie with a logical, intelligent approach to the dangers of zipping through time.
  8. For all his daring, the brazen creator maintains control - there's aesthetic order in the disorder, and calculated reason in the madness. Seldom has it felt so good to seem so lost.
  9. As the jabbering psychotic Jeffrey Goines, Brad Pitt has a rabid, get-a-load-of-me deviousness that works for the film's central mystery: We can't tell where the fanatic leaves off and the put-on artist begins.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 175 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 44
  2. Negative: 1 out of 44
  1. Aug 25, 2010
    10
    Since I see most reviews are spot on here, I will simply say "ditto".

    ALSO, another in a long line of my favorite movies that require you to
    THINK! (A lost concept in movie making). IT IS BRILLIANT!!! Full Review »
  2. Apr 23, 2014
    10
    Ah, I just love a good non-linear film, and 12 Monkeys satisfies that craving to the fullest. Bruce Willis is unsettling and crazy in all the right ways, and Brad Pitt is neurotic in all the best ways. There's no fairytale world in this movie; just a great big messed up fantasy. To decipher what's real, what's fake, what's in the past, what's in the future could take forever, in fact, it might even be impossible. This is the great mystery of this film. Full Review »
  3. Aug 13, 2014
    9
    This movie is one of Gilliam's best, and it won't leave your brain bored. Brilliant performances by Bruce Willis and one of the best performances of Brad Pitt in his acting career. Great movie. Full Review »