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25th Hour

25th Hour (2002)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 164
Fresh: 128 | Rotten: 36

An intelligent and well-acted film despite the usual Spike Lee excesses.


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 12

An intelligent and well-acted film despite the usual Spike Lee excesses.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 78,536

My Rating

Movie Info

A man has one day to put his life in order before a long stretch in prison in this drama directed by Spike Lee. Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is a man who came from a working class family in New York. Monty's best friends Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Slaughtery (Barry Pepper) went on to distinguished careers as, respectively, a high school teacher and a bonds trader, but Monty took a different path and began dealing drugs. While Monty's trade has made him plenty of money, it hasn't brought



David Benioff

May 20, 2003


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All Critics (170) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (128) | Rotten (36) | DVD (36)

While 25th Hour has a several arresting characters struggling with credible problems, regrettably Monty isn't one of them.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I still think that Mr. Lee has come closer than he ever has before to making the great film about New York City that David Thomson hoped from him in a favorable mini-bio in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.

January 30, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lee and his cast are so adept at getting us acquainted with Monty and these other people that we wind up feeling like we've known them for years.

January 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pretty lethargic stuff.

January 13, 2003 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the usual undisciplined, overextended Spike symphony: more fun than it is any good.

January 10, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lee has created that rarity in filmmaking: a movie we need, right now.

January 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Engaging but violent drama. Not for kids.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Finds beauty in the silver linings and embodies the notion that we're stronger than we usually realize we can be.

September 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

An under-rated gem, 25th Hour is a powerful story about how the decisions you make in your life, and who you make them with, can ultimately lead to your downfall.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Lee successfully, seamlessly marries his famously inventive visual style with more introspective material.

February 18, 2009 Full Review Source:

Lee builds Monty's story of tortured introspection and his final surprising, desperate act before incarceration through boldly candid conversations and flashbacks.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Perhaps Lee's most consistently compelling work since Clockers.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

One of the more entertaining and thought-provoking Spike Lee Joints in a long while.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

'Spike Lee's love of New York, unlike Woody Allen's, has always been more tough than tender.'

March 22, 2005 Full Review
Las Vegas Mercury

Lee's best, most cohesive and most passionate film since Do the Right Thing.

September 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

25th Hour stands out as a remarkably atmospheric and elegiac American film, every scene heavy with the stillness of tragedy.'

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

In its own strange way [the film is] uplifting, a tribute to people's ability to face the unthinkable, and, if not triumph, at least persevere.

September 6, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

A turgid, bombastic and outrageously self-satisfied movie.

July 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

25th Hour is both Spike Lee's condemnation of and valentine to what we've done before, but also a strangely inspiring reminder of how beautiful the mere opportunity to choose can be.

June 27, 2003 Full Review

...a bit scattershot...but director Lee manages to pull it all together into a tense, gripping, suspenseful, and highly dramatic movie experience.

June 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Smart and restrained; a fine production from a mature filmmaker.

June 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Spike Lee's most compelling and resonant picture in years.

June 10, 2003 Full Review Source:

A moving tribute to resilience in the face of ruination.

June 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
Sunday Times (Australia)

Superbly acted, as you would expect, it's also rich in moral nuance. Doing the right thing is not as simple in his films as it once was.

June 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

The movie is electric.

May 29, 2003 Full Review

Audience Reviews for 25th Hour

A riveting, hard hitting look on the life of a soon to be con (Edward Norton), and his final day of freedom as he spends it with his childhood friends (Barry Pepper and Philip Seymour Hoffman) and girlfriend (Rosario Dawson), as he tries to uncover who ratted him out on selling drugs that landed him a 7-year sentence. Norton, one of the best actors on the planet, is spellbinding, and a terrific supporting cast to go along with the fantastic storytelling of Brian Cox near the end makes it a knockout. For those who love films that effortlessly detail their characters, who we come to care for, this is a movie for you. The ending is one of the most unique I can recall, and the ambiguous nature of it is really haunting stuff.
July 8, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Spike Lee is a tremendous filmmaker. Sure, he can be a little overzealous and his politics can be stifling, but it's sort of tragic how he's seemingly more known for his controversial subject matter than he is for being an outstanding (and important) director. Indeed, he is one of very few who can simultaneously pull off being a sound visual stylist and a thorough storyteller. Next to Do The Right Thing, there may be no better example of this than 25th Hour.

One of the first American movies explicitly set in New York after 9/11, this film is based on a novel by David Benioff (who also wrote the screenplay) that was published well before the attacks. In any case, their aftermath is not so much the topic of Mr. Lee's movie as an important element of its atmosphere. In one of the film's most memorable scenes, two characters talk in an apartment overlooking ground zero, whose floodlighted glare and somber activity make it impossible to concentrate on the dialogue: a case of reality overwhelming fiction. There are also more subtle nods to the aftermath of those horrific events, but Lee smartly doesn't ovedo it; he uses the sociopolitical landscape of a post-9/11 America to great effect here, weaving it into the fabric of his story as a means to enhance, not distract.

Undoubtedly, the show-stopping scene in the film is a moment when Monty (Edward Nortion), staring into a men's room mirror, launches into a profane tirade against his fellow New Yorkers (and everyone else). His rage is impressively ecumenical, encompassing blacks, brutal police officers, gays, Osama bin Laden, the rich, the poor and every other ethnic or social type you can think of: all of them put down with ruthless, scabrous precision. Obviously the sequence is very reminiscent of a similar scene in Do The Right Thing, but surprisingly, it's equally as effective here as it was back then (which could be viewed as a powerful statement on how little progress we've made over the years).

Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the brilliantly ambiguous ending. It is Lee's mission statement that this isn't a film about a plot, with a beginning, middle, and end. This is an imprint of the isolated times we live in. Who are we as a people? How do we define ourselves in relation to others? The whole film plays in a subdued, almost depressing tone. There are no laughs to be had, no falsely engineered moments where the characters break bread, and cry, and get all remorseful -- none of that. We feel as Monty feels: perplexed, distressed, unsure of those things to come and angry for how he happened to arrive at this place, and moment, in his life -- his last 25 hours.
April 28, 2011
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

During the early to mid-1990's Spike Lee was a director who could do no wrong in my eyes. His films were of a very high calibre and then he hit a dip in form, seemingly never recovering. This however, was a reminder of how good he can be.
Based on the novel by David Benioff - who also wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) a Manhattan drug dealer who has to confront the choices he has made in life on his last day before serving a seven-year prison sentence. He spends his last 24hours of freedom with his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson) his father (Brian Cox) and his two best friends Frank (Barry Pepper) and Jake (Philip Seymour Hoffman), all the while determining who really sold him out.
This is a Spike Lee "joint" I don't mind taking a hit off, at all. Filled with very intense and dramatic conversations and confrontations between the characters, delivered with superb performances. Norton and Hoffman have already cemented their reputations but Pepper is a highly under-rated actor that I predict will be winning awards very soon with the quality he consistantly delivers. It's a real joy to watch them bounce off each other, adding real gravitas to some well written dialogue. Lee's direction is also up close and personal, giving it a further sense of realism. The post 9/11 psyche of New Yorkers is a running theme throughout and even one scene has two characters overlooking ground-zero as they discuss the end of an era. Lee also explores the multi-cultural diversity of the city, like he has done previously in "Do The Right Thing" and "Jungle Fever", among others. The diversity is also played out in the three friends, with very different values. It's an ambitious film with nearly every other scene or character, subtly displaying metaphor for the fragile state of the city they inhabit.
Despite a running time that slightly overstays it's welcome, this is a highly charged and thought-provoking allegory of capitalist America and boasts three superlative, indefatigable performances from Norton, Pepper & Hoffman.
February 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

I'm going to go out there and say that this is my favorite movie Spike Lee has made. Sure, it's nowhere near political or what you might expect from Spike Lee's filmography, but that's kind've why I like it so much. This is surprisingly the most different looking movie I've seen from Spike Lee. The story structure is extremely original and the characters are introduced in such a perfect way that it makes you question why it's not more highly regarded. Edward Norton always throws in his all, but this is truly his most introverted character. While he might not say all that much, we can always see what is going on in his head. Even people like Barry Pepper turn in good performances here, it just goes to show how strong the story and direction is.
February 21, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Montgomery "Monty" Brogan: Fuck you and this whole city and everyone in it.
    – Submitted by Tania Z (2 years ago)
    1. Montgomery "Monty" Brogan: I need you to make me ugly.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Montgomery "Monty" Brogan: Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

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  • La Última Noche (ES)
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