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
    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
    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

Universal acclaim- based on 132 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Aug 25, 2010
    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. Oct 27, 2012
    A very touching and thought-provoking film surprisingly made by Terry Gilliam, one of the people behind Monty Python. The insight and themes surrounding this brilliant science-fiction film have depicted that somehow we ourselves are unsure of what is real and what is not. Each actor has their own creative part to play, and despite what you may think, with all the life-threatening and time-travel twists to get your head around, it will end up having a real impact on you, thinking about the real issues that are actually quite close to home. Full Review »
  3. Aug 1, 2012
    12 Monkeys is the 2nd best science fiction; #1 being Bladerunner. A highly imaginative movie with a heart crushing ending. This will be around my 6th watching through and you notice something new every time. For example, this time I noticed that each inmate in the future had plastic pouch stapled to their prisoner uniform shirt, for identification. Full Review »