User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 167 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 167

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  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!!!
  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, itAh, 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. Expand
  3. Jan 14, 2011
    10
    This movie is amazing. It leaves your mind in a twist wondering what happened. Great acting by Bruce Willis. Great directing. But the best part is the story line! Truly original. It shows the flaws in time travel very very well!
  4. Oct 27, 2012
    9
    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 andA 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. Expand
  5. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    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.
  6. Apr 7, 2014
    10
    Gilliams best work. Stow and Willis are awesome as well. Love the cinematography. Might take a few viewings to really fully grasp and appreciate it. One of my favorite movies.
  7. 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.
  8. Mar 20, 2012
    10
    I love this film, its artistic enough to be slightly confusing and has fantastic visuals and eerie music. A note to Max P...if its too confusing then, you just aren't bright enough to understand it. And really, its not hard to understand at all. Not if you watch it all the way through.
  9. Aug 5, 2013
    10
    Magnificent work, who initially argued that we can not change the future. Frightening ...
    Magnífica obra, que desde un principio nos plantea que no es posible cambiar el futuro. Atemorizante...
  10. May 18, 2014
    8
    I love this movie so much and I can't even explain why.

    Like, there's so much going on but it's not a mess, it's all in its place.

    All in all, something refreshing.
  11. Oct 22, 2010
    7
    I loved this movie up until the unsatisfactory ending. It's not bad at all, it's just not what I wanted. Willis' acting is completely natural in this movie for how out-of-place his character is. Brad Pitt is excellent in his role, he nails it perfectly. The music is mainly just reconstructions of the hypnotically enticing theme to the film, but overall is silent aside from a few classicI loved this movie up until the unsatisfactory ending. It's not bad at all, it's just not what I wanted. Willis' acting is completely natural in this movie for how out-of-place his character is. Brad Pitt is excellent in his role, he nails it perfectly. The music is mainly just reconstructions of the hypnotically enticing theme to the film, but overall is silent aside from a few classic songs. The plot is a bit confusing at times, but if you can get your head wrapped around the idea of it, it's really interesting. I recommend it for people who like Sci-Fi as well as good thrillers. Check it out. Expand
  12. Jan 11, 2011
    6
    was a good film really enjoyed it i loved allot of things about it i loved the cinematography and the ending would highly reccomend ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
  13. Mar 1, 2011
    8
    This was science fiction time travel at its best. I am not a fan of Brad Pitt but he portrayed a mentally ill man very well. Bruce Willis is also not one of my favorite actors but he also did a great job as a reluctant pawn of scientists. Great plot.
  14. Mar 23, 2011
    10
    As a 56 yr old I really enjoyed this movie when it came out and now. Clever people making clever movies is a joy to see. In this day of coming climate change and the very real chance our grandchildren will see a much different world than the sanctuary we presently enjoy this 1996 movie raises interesting dramatic points for the 2011 audiences.
  15. Jul 2, 2011
    9
    One of my favourite time-travelling based sci-fi movies (Together with "Back to the future" being the funny approach); with a very catching end (a "real" end, considering many actual movie endings which are more like "stop filming, because time is up")
  16. Apr 27, 2013
    10
    An endlessly entertaining, head-twisting sci-fi time travel tale directed by the great Terry Gilliam so everything is off-kilter. Bruce Willis' and Brad Pitt's best career performances. Truly amazing ending. One of my favorite movies ever.
  17. Jul 6, 2012
    8
    just recently had the chance to watch this movie. This was an awesome time travel movie, especially the conclusion. The actors have also done justice to their roles. Altogether a neatly put sci-fi thriller
  18. Jun 27, 2014
    8
    Twelve Monkeys is a little hard to understand at first, but once it got into it, it became a great mind bending science fiction thriller that was complex, sure, but was not overly complicated when it came to figuring out what exactly was happening. The science fiction elements are great and really thought provoking about what we consider to be insanity. In addition, Brad Pitt wasTwelve Monkeys is a little hard to understand at first, but once it got into it, it became a great mind bending science fiction thriller that was complex, sure, but was not overly complicated when it came to figuring out what exactly was happening. The science fiction elements are great and really thought provoking about what we consider to be insanity. In addition, Brad Pitt was absolutely fantastic. He killed his role here and really stole the show, not to say that Madeline Stowe or Bruce Willis were not good, because they were. This one certainly keeps you guessing until the end and really sinks its hooks deep into you and does not let go until the film is over. The only thing about this one is that I saw in some places that it is considered a satire, though I never really found it funny. Sure, Pitt's over the top performance is at times funny, but for the most part, that is about it. But, aside from that small confusion for me, Twelve Monkeys is a very good film that shows Terry Gilliam's mastery of the science fiction genre. Expand
  19. Aug 16, 2014
    8
    Good thought-provoking movie that continues to be relevant even after all these years.
    Story is outstanding, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt amp it up a level. Every other character is forgettable though. I especially love the crazy Brad Pitt scenes. The ending still leaves me questioning what exactly happened, although after a few explanations on IMDB, you can figure out the plot. Reminded me
    Good thought-provoking movie that continues to be relevant even after all these years.
    Story is outstanding, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt amp it up a level. Every other character is forgettable though. I especially love the crazy Brad Pitt scenes. The ending still leaves me questioning what exactly happened, although after a few explanations on IMDB, you can figure out the plot. Reminded me of Memento (style of video) and Fight Club (twisting plot)
    In summary, rent or watch on Netflix before you buy. I would buy it if you like Sci-Fi and time travel movies. This is Bruce Willis' better time travel movie (Looper being the lesser of the two).
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  20. Oct 22, 2013
    9
    This is one thought provoking, disturbing, and ingeniously constructed film. It may have even inspired Looper, but I found this film both superior in style and plot. Terry Gilliam always creates strange, disorienting worlds. When I first saw Brazil I really didn't like it at all, but I might have to watch it again after viewing 12 Monkeys. The performances are all incredibly convincingThis is one thought provoking, disturbing, and ingeniously constructed film. It may have even inspired Looper, but I found this film both superior in style and plot. Terry Gilliam always creates strange, disorienting worlds. When I first saw Brazil I really didn't like it at all, but I might have to watch it again after viewing 12 Monkeys. The performances are all incredibly convincing and strange. Willis gives perhaps his most mortal and desperate performance, and Pitt goes full retard as a crazy animal rights activist, showing that he possesses an acting range which I thought he lacked. I don't want to spoil things, so I'll just say that the plot needs to be paid close attention to at all times and it will definitely keep you on your toes. If you're a fan of sci-fi or mindbender films at all then you need to see this creepy and unique vision. Expand
  21. Jan 26, 2014
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. these ratings baffle me all the time, it's like i'm watching a different movie,
    and here i say it, the movie wasn't that good, twist endings and mystery are my favorite genre so i know what i'm talking about.
    yeah it's a movie about time travel but it's doesn't offer a new idea or a new sight or objective, which means it doesn't use the time travel to it's benefit, and the movie doesn't look good, the screen was dark, it was actually too dark that i've seen movies done in the 80's that's better than this.
    yeah the movie keep you guessing and deciphering and offers a questionable ending, i get it ok,
    but don't overrated any movie because it left you baffled, think about this way, it's not enjoyable, didn't bring a new thing to the table and more importantly the screen was terrible.
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  22. Apr 5, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I really enjoyed this film, like the naive me usualy does, even although it's sad that 5 billion people die at the ending. This review must be longer there you go 150 characters. Expand
  23. Oct 28, 2014
    5
    Honestly I was expecting something else. It seemed like a movie more interesting and more exciting. Honestly, I like Sci-Fi movies like, but it disappointed me ... The only thing that I liked are the actors performances ...
  24. Nov 22, 2014
    9
    Twelve Monkeys was a great movie. Brad Pitt was so great as a psycho, you'd think that's what he is in real life. The movie seemed pretty realistic too. The whole disease scenario spreading worldwide.
  25. Jan 1, 2015
    10
    This movie is insanely good, and is easily worthy of a crown fit for kings. Before I will try to explain just why this movie is so horribly good I just want to say that I don't often enjoy a movie as much as this one. Movies like Star Wars, The Matrix and Back to the Future pale and shudder in comparison to this heavily underrated star among filmmaking. Those movies were good, certainly,This movie is insanely good, and is easily worthy of a crown fit for kings. Before I will try to explain just why this movie is so horribly good I just want to say that I don't often enjoy a movie as much as this one. Movies like Star Wars, The Matrix and Back to the Future pale and shudder in comparison to this heavily underrated star among filmmaking. Those movies were good, certainly, but not executed as flawlessly as this one. For this title alone Terry Gilliam should be raised above and beyond other directors. The only movies I have enjoyed as much as this one have to be Scarface and Pulp Fiction. I honestly don't know why everyone agrees that those movies are masterworks, but doesn't put 12 Monkeys besides them on a pedestal. This movie is more than worth it.

    Why is this movie so damn good? Well first of all it is slow. I like slow movies. When bits go flying from one end of the screen to another you must make sure to have build up a lot of tension before doing so, or the bits flying won't have any impact whatsoever. This movie builds up to a lot. The entire movie is basically build-up, and that's the way I like it. The ending felt appropriately heavy and important.

    The movie is also very smart. The plot is interesting, the little bits and pieces of social commentary scattered around are always welcome, and the overall premise requires attention. Perhaps this is why it isn't on any must-watch list, but for me the amount of intelligence this film needs was perfect. For the entire duration of the movie I was trying to figure out what everything meant and how the story was going to end. It had me completely gripped in thought about this movie, I did not once stop to wonder about anything else. That is sheer brilliance in my book.

    I also loved the way the story changed completely for maybe 4-5 times. It makes sure things stay interesting. The way this movie works with bringing things you have seen before back, but with some more general info, is the best. It just is. It doesn't dumb down to explain things to you either, it expects you to be smart enough to recognize it yourself, and link it back to the story yourself too. The story requires you to pay attention and think about it, an art that is lost in popular movie-making. It is gripping, more so than any film I have ever seen.

    And the general setting of this movie (usually in places with insane people) just works for me. It's a personal preference, but I love this movie for the same reason I love the original Terminator: the setting, both of the future and the present, is completely perfect. And Brad Pitt isn't usually my favourite actor, but he was perfect here. And so was Bruce Willis. Even the casting was top notch.

    Straight out 10 out of 10, could not find a single damn flaw. No-one can ever do this kind of movie better than this.
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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 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.
  2. Brad Pitt has fun with his secondary part as a pontificating lunatic, but I wish I'd enjoyed the rest of the cast more.
  3. 75
    Any laughs that it inspires will be very hollow. It's more of a celebration of madness and doom, with a hero who tries to prevail against the chaos of his condition, and is inadequate.