Men in Black (1997)



Critic Consensus: Thanks to a smart script, spectacular set pieces, and charismatic performances from its leads, Men in Black is an entirely satisfying summer blockbuster hit.

Movie Info

For his fifth effort as a feature-film director, one-time cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld brought his cartoonish visual style and darkly humorous sensibilities to this adaptation of, appropriately enough, a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi comic book. Will Smith stars as James Darrel Edwards, a New York City cop with an athletic physique and a flippant, anti-authoritarian attitude toward law enforcement. After chasing down a mysterious perpetrator one night who turns out to be an alien, James is … More

Rating: PG-13 (for language and sci-fi violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ed Solomon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 23, 1997
Columbia TriStar International


as Zed

as Gentle Rosenberg

as Van Driver

as Jake Jensen

as Arquillian

as INS Agent Janus

as Orkin Man

as Mr. Redgick

as Mrs. Redgick

as Passport Officer

as News Vendor

as Cop In Morgue

as Police Inspector

as Tow Truck Driver

as Morgue Attendant

as INS Agent

as INS Agent

as INS Agent Janus

as NYPD Sergeant

as Security Guard

as Mrs. Edelson

as Baseball Player

as First Contact Alien

as First Contact Alien

as 2nd First Contact Al...

as Alien Son

as Frank the Pug

as Rosenberg Alien

as Worm Guy

as Worm Guy

as Worm Guy
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Men in Black

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Critic Reviews for Men in Black

All Critics (85) | Top Critics (25)

Men in Black is the wryest, sharpest, most entertaining special effects film in recent memory, a simultaneous participant and mocking parody of the more-bang-for-your-buck behemoth genre.

Full Review… | August 12, 2014
Top Critic

Men In Black deserves credit for supplementing its special effects with a breezy script and genuinely charismatic performances by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Full Review… | August 12, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

Its attitude is poised somewhere between the deadpan ghoulishness of the Coen brothers and a Letterman-like sense of the absurdity of life in New York's rich ethnic stew.

Full Review… | August 2, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Men in Black is moderately amusing, well-constructed and mercifully short, but it fails to deliver on the zaniness of its first half.

Full Review… | July 31, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

There's a playfulness, here, that you don't often find in a special-effect flick.

Full Review… | April 14, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A smart, funny and hip adventure film in a summer of car wrecks and explosions.

Full Review… | April 14, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Men in Black

J: You know the difference between you and me? I make this look good.

"Protecting The Earth From The Scum Of The Universe"

I've seen bits and pieces of Men in Black over the years, but I had never actually watched it from start to finish. Now that I have, I see why it's such a beloved movie. This is just a great, fun, and hilarious ride. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are great on screen together and have terrific chemistry, while being polar opposites.

The Men in Black are a secret agency that protects earth from the bad aliens and keeps an eye on the many good aliens that live among us. K(Tommy Lee Jones) recruits new member, J(Will Smith) into the agency from his job as a police officer. Within the first 24 hours of being on the job, J finds out that he and K are going to have to save the world from Alien attack. 

There's a reason Men in Black is given so much praise; because it deserves it. This film weaves alien celebrities, death rays, end of the world possibilities, talking dogs, and a great Vincent D'Onofrio role into a movie that manages to be funny, entertaining, silly, and altogether one of the most fun film experiences you are likely to ever have. That's not to say this is one of the greatest movies of all-time or anything like that. What it is though, is a worthwhile sci-fi comedy with terrific direction from Barry Sonnenfeld and wonderful performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. This is a can't miss.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


The film's sci-fi presentation, clever story and leading duo (Jones & Smith) provides for a surge of entertainment that exceeds anyone's expectations. Men in Black is that summer blockbuster that satisfies throughout its entirety. 4.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer


Ace cinematographer turned director Barry Sonnenfeld is known for having a cartoonish style and darkly humorous sensibilities, and these qualities served him very well with this adaptation of a tongue-in-cheek sci--fi comic book series.

This witty, stylish, and insanely clever film follows a tough and uber hip New York cop named James Edwards who, after a bizarre encounter with a suspect, discovers that not only do aliens exist, but there is a top secret government agency known as the Men In Black designed to monitor and deal with their presence on Earth.

Shedding his old life and identity, James joins the organization, taking up the name Agent J, and, along with a no-nonsense codger of a partner named Agent K, work to stop an assassination plot that could lead to interstellar war.

As mentioned above, this is a really clever film. It's funny, sharp, and gets in some nice satire, and makes for a nice blend of comedy and sci-fi intrigue. I knew this was funny as a kid, but it wasn't until later that I realized how much of the humor went over my head, kinda like my experience with Ghostbusters.

Sonnenfeld's style is perfect for this kind of thing, and I love the world created here. Will Smith delivers a fine performance as Agent J, and he has wonderful chemistry with Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K. Rip Torn is a delight as MIB boss Zed, Linda Fiorentino is good as a mortician caught up in the madness, and Vincent D'Onofrio is great as the primary antagonist who tries to hide its real identity using the hollowed out skin of a farmer.

The film is heavy on effects, and, while they are great, they thankfully don't overshadow things, and actually complement the story. The action and set pieces are decent too, but for me, the best part of the film is the writing, performances, concept, and sharp satirical humor.

Definitely give this one a look. It's easily a highlight of late 90s cinema.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Men in Black Quotes

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– Submitted by Matthew D (2 years ago)

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