Twelve Monkeys

Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 292 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Between sanity and madness, fantasy and reality, the past and the future, comes an adventure beyond imagination from Terry Gilliam, the acclaimed director of "The Fisher King." Penal colony prisoner James Cole (Willis) must travel back in time from the year 2035 to find the cause of a virusBetween sanity and madness, fantasy and reality, the past and the future, comes an adventure beyond imagination from Terry Gilliam, the acclaimed director of "The Fisher King." Penal colony prisoner James Cole (Willis) must travel back in time from the year 2035 to find the cause of a virus that killed five billion people in 1997. (Universal) Expand
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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. 100
    Gilliam, along with the gifted cinematographer Roger Pratt and production designer Jeffrey Beecroft, fashions a disturbing and dazzling lost world.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    80
    That Terry Gilliam managed to make Twelve Monkeys into a clever, complex, and poignant success is as astonishing as it is satisfying.
  5. A grandiose cinematic invention, cleverly turning the present-day urban American world on its ear.
  6. In a movie in which time travel is used to rectify the past, it's too bad scriptwriters David and Janet Peoples didn't go through the time/space tunnel to work on that first draft again.
  7. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    40
    Gilliam's work is long on sensibility, short on sense.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. DaveN.
    Aug 26, 2005
    10
    "12 Monkeys" is a modern classic, inspired loosely by Chris Marker's "La Jetee," but taking the concepts therein to a new level. This is "12 Monkeys" is a modern classic, inspired loosely by Chris Marker's "La Jetee," but taking the concepts therein to a new level. This is Gilliam's second-best movie, after "Brazil," but it's still head and shoulders above 90% of the stuff out there. A thought-provoking script, fine acting, wonderful visuals ... "12 Monkeys" has it all. Expand
  2. 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 andGilliams 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. Expand
  3. 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
    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!!!
    Expand
  4. 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 bothThis 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
  5. 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
    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).
    Expand
  6. 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 isThis 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. Expand
  7. MaxP.
    Jul 10, 2007
    2
    This film was both too confusing and broing and as for the ending, its a joke, pathetic. if you are going to find out who the killer is then This film was both too confusing and broing and as for the ending, its a joke, pathetic. if you are going to find out who the killer is then make it a big character not some ginger haired idiot.....A failure for Gilliam, on a kinder note the only reason i give this a 2 is for Brad Pitts unbelievable acting, his best peice to date, too bad the movie was rubbish! Expand

See all 43 User Reviews

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