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Films to See Before You Die: #37 Twelve Monkeys

12 monkeys

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

Director: Terry Gilliam

Cast: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer

Synopsis: An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. Prisoner James Cole (Bruce Willis) is chosen for a voluntary assignment that will send him back in time to find a cure for the virus. He is mistakenly sent back to 1990 where he is committed to a mental asylum where he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert. He also meets Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), who is his attending psychiatrist. Cole is brought back to the future where he informs his superiors that they sent him to the wrong time when Cole realizes that Jeffrey Goines is the cause of the virus, they give him one last chance to complete his mission. This time they send him back to 1996 where he kidnaps Dr. Railly after a public seminar she hosts. Cole tracks down Jeffrey who now works for his father Dr. Goines (Christopher Plummer), it is revealed to Cole that he gave Jeffrey the idea to release the virus. When he realizes that Jeffrey may not be the cause he must now race against time to stop the real culprit from committing the perfect crime.

Trivia: Terry Gilliam was afraid that Brad Pitt wouldn’t be able to pull off the nervous, rapid speech. He sent him to a speech coach but in the end he just took away Pitt’s cigarettes, and Pitt played the part exactly as Gilliam wanted. Terry Gilliam’s first choice for the lead role was Jeff Bridges, whom he had enjoyed working with on The Fisher King, but the studio wanted a bigger star, so he cast Bruce Willis. Ironically, Willis had originally auditioned for “The Fisher King”, but lost out to Bridges.

Why I think you should see this: I had always liked Bruce Willis but after seeing this he has since become one of my favourite actors, he has been in so many good films. This movie also introduced me to the warped mind of Terry Gilliam whose style I personally love but can understand why some may find it too weird. If you enjoy this film then I suggest checking out Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which are both great Gilliam films Twelve Monkeys is my absolute favourite of his work. Check this one out you won’t be disappointed.


About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

8 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #37 Twelve Monkeys

  1. sarahjaneprosetry ⋅

    I LOVE Terry Gilliam films so very much. This movie is no exception.

  2. its a long time ago now but i do remember watching twelve monkeys and being fascinated by the concept! good movie!

  3. jmount43 ⋅

    ” I had always liked Bruce Willis but after seeing this he has since become one of my favourite actors, he has been in so many good films.”

    People always talk about how good Haley Joel Osment was in “The Sixth Sense”; but it was Willis who carried the film.

  4. I bought the DVD recently as its another one I haven’t watched. So many movies, so little time 😦 Kim*

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