The Negotiator (1998)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

F. Gary Gray directed this suspenseful action thriller based on a real case experienced by police in St. Louis. The James DeMonaco/Kevin Fox screenplay follows an accused man who is forced to commit crimes in order to prove himself innocent of murder. After Chicago police hostage negotiator Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) succeeds in rescuing a little girl menaced by her gun-wielding dad, he's praised by both the police department and the media, and he returns to his usual cop routines with his … More

Rating: R (for violence and language.)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: James De Monaco, James DeMonaco, Kevin Fox
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 15, 1998
Warner Bros. Pictures


as Danny Roman

as Chris Sabian

as Cmdr. Beck

as Cmdr. Frost

as Travis

as Insp. Niebaum

as Karen Roman

as Markus

as Argento

as Hellman

as Farley

as Omar's Daughter

as Chief's Wife

as Bartender

as Morewitz

as Linda Roenick

as Officer at Funeral

as Officer at Funeral

as Pipes and Drums Lead...

as Linda's Attorney

as D.A. Young

as Lisa Sabian

as Stacy Sabian

as FBI Agent Grey

as FBI Agent Moran

as Cale Wangro

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Reporter

as News Anchor

as News Anchor

as News Anchor

as News Anchor

as Officer at HBT

as Officer at IAB

as Detective

as Detective

as TAC Officer

as Raoul

as Raoul
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Negotiator

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Critic Reviews for The Negotiator

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (10)

Teaming for the first time Kevin Spacey and Samuel Jackson, arguably the two best actors of their generation, in perfectly fitting roles is a shrewd move and the best element of this fact-inspired but overwrought thriller

Full Review… | September 11, 2006
Top Critic

A hybrid action-drama featuring the choreographed pyrotechnics of director Gray and a battle of words between contrasting hostage negotiators Jackson and Spacey.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

"The Negotiator" slogs on for two hours and 20 minutes, and there's hardly a real laugh or a genuine thrill in it.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

To the extent the setup allows Spacey and Jackson to go head to head, it's a good thing. But there are other elements in the film that aren't nearly as interesting or satisfying.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The Negotiator deserves a place among the best action/thrillers of the year. This is a Dog Day Afternoon for the '90s.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

ike Mr. Jackson, Mr. Spacey cuts an impressively cryptic figure even when dealing in platitudes, and the two stars do get to make the sort of declarations that rarely crop up in everyday life.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Negotiator

Its a walk in the park for the two leads who enliven this ho-hummer about police corruption and some money missing from the patrolmen's fund. The interesting twist is the battle of wits between two professional hostage negotiaters.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Based on actual events, F. Gary Gray directs this tense action/suspense thriller about Danny Roman- a top Chicago hostage negotiator who, after being framed for murder and suspected of departmental corruption, takes desperate measures to clear his name and discover the truth by taking hostages of his own and forcing a fellow top negotiator from a different district to diffuse the situation.

The film does get overwrought and maybe a bit much in terms of believability from time to time, but is nevertheless an extremely suspenseful thrill ride punctuated by solid performances from a great cast. Samuel L. Jackson is tremendous as Roman, and Kevin Spacey is likewise very top-notch as the outsider negotiator Chris Sabian. Those two work well together, and I'd love to see them do more work with one another in the future. J.T. Walsh gives a solid turn in one of his final films as a shady player at Internal Affairs whom Danny takes hostage, and, for comic relief, there's Paul Giamatti as a weaselly informant. And it also doesn't hurt to get solid, if typical work from David Morse as one of Danny's colleagues who is conflicted by how to handle the situation.

That's one aspect where the film really shines. The hostage taker knows all the rules and tricks, and the fact that he has a history with the people on the other side (who might also be the people that set him up) make this a real nail-biter at times. Having an outsider come into the situation is also great as he could be more trustworthy in Danny's eyes, but not necessarily. Plus, he's got to deal with Danny's department, who likewise don't know or really trust him.

Like I said, the film isn't perfect, but is still very thrilling, extremely gripping, and holds together quite nicely. F. Gary Gray gets crap as a director for being rather contrived and cliched, but when it comes to delivering crowd pleasing entertainment, he's great, and this is a film I really recommend.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Another flixter deletion, I reviewed this a long time ago but it was probably too colorful. The length could be condensed but I think it's one of Samuel Jackson's best movies in a leading role. It has a solid supporting cast and is a prime example of his yelling abilities.

Lenny Muggsy

Super Reviewer

The Negotiator Quotes

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– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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