Critics Consensus

Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.



Total Count: 82


Audience Score

User Ratings: 137,855
User image

Watch it now

8MM Photos

Movie Info

Tom Welles is a surveillance specialist-what used to be known as a "private eye"-but his version of the profession is hardly the stuff of which legends are made. He has a modest, home-based practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he lives an existence remarkable only for its normalcy with wife Amy and baby daughter, Cindy. Respected but still waiting for a big break that will improve his professional status, Welles spends most of his time on routine cases involving unfaithful spouses and the like. Nothing too dangerous, nor too threatening... until a small, innocuous-looking plastic reel of film turns Welles' life upside down, sending him down a sordid and terrifying path into society's darkest corners. From the lurid sidewalks of L.A.'s Hollywood Boulevard to the squalor of New York City's meat-packing district, Eight Millimeter follows Welles as he relentlessly pursues a bizarre trail of graphic and disturbing evidence to determine the fate of a complete stranger-a girl who begins to haunt his imagination and conscience. Aided in his obsession by a streetwise adult bookstore clerk, Max (Joaquin Phoenix), Welles drifts away from his wife, family and former life. What Welles learns is beyond his worst nightmares, as he comes to realize how deadly a small reel of eight millimeter film can be.


Nicolas Cage
as Tom Welles
Joaquin Phoenix
as Max California
James Gandolfini
as Eddie Poole
Peter Stormare
as Dino Velvet
Anthony Heald
as Longdale
Chris Bauer
as Machine
Catherine Keener
as Amy Welles
Myra Carter
as Mrs. Christian
Amy Morton
as Janet Mathews
Jenny Powell
as Mary Ann Mathews
Jack Betts
as Butler
Luis Oropeza
as Archive Director
Rachel Singer
as Neighbor
Don Creech
as Mr. Anderson
Norman Reedus
as Warren Anderson
John Robb
as Porn Dealer
Devan Brown
as Flea Market Woman
Doris Brent
as Machine's Mother
Robert Amico
as Casting Director
Kiva Dawson
as Girl in Hall
Eva Minemar
as Girl in Hall
Rachel Dara Wolfe
as Girl in Hall
Suzy Nakamura
as Computer Wizard
Tahitia Dean
as Hollywood Prostitute
Terri Laird
as Dino's Redhead
Emily Patrick
as Porn Girl
Nancy Lynn Vaughn
as Porno Make-up Artist
Lisa Vanasco
as Topless Ticket Taker
Bridgett Vera
as Ticket Taker
Jennifer Harris
as Strip Club Dancer
Burton Richards
as Strip Club Dancer
Jovanna Vitiello
as Strip Club Dancer
David U. Hodges
as Surveillance Man
Lorena Martinez
as Prostitute
William N. Buck
as Mr. Christian
Kerry Corcoran
as Cheating Son-in-Law
Claudia Aros
as Miami Girlfriend
View All

Critic Reviews for 8MM

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (64)

  • Mr. Cage has become such a wet-eyed purveyor of moral anguish that he makes Mr. Pitt look calm, cool and collected.

    Mar 21, 2019 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • I can't say I warmed to the results, but I was solidly held for the film's two hours.

    Sep 17, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A movie that keeps jumping the gate and finally unravels all over the floor.

    Jul 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • Director Joel Schumacher aims for a psychological depth that the script can't sustain.

    Nov 24, 2006
  • There's no faulting Cage's committed, intense performance, but his slide from professional, internalised concern into personal, self-righteous rage still leaves a nasty aftertaste.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Want to know what happens when an A-list director and A-list movie star attach themselves to a direct-to-cable screenplay? This.

    Jul 21, 2005

Audience Reviews for 8MM

  • Jul 06, 2016
    Most of the film's main story is over about 2/3 through the film and the rest is Nicolas Cage out for vigilante justice. While the premise of the movie is extremely intense, these kind of films are actually made in the world and it is interesting to see this underworld being explored. The film itself, however, is probably one that you shouldn't be upset if you missed.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2015
    May just have the most invasive score of any film I've ever watched. There's not a single moment where the music serves to accentuate the drama, instead in constantly brings you out of it. Walker's script and Cage's "acting" cannot hold up would maybe could have been an alright, gritty neo-noir. What we end up with a film that's not strictly terrible, but most assuredly is unsatisfying (and a mite preach-y).
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2012
    While I think the critics' reception was quite harsh, '8mm' does indeed miss the mark of being a good film. There are moments of tension, but these moments are brief and sparse. So much of it feels rehashed, the film borrows too many elements from films such as 'Seven' and 'The Silence of the Lambs', it's a kitsch piece of cinema. Cage gives a good performance, as does the whole cast. The problem lies in the narrative. It begins moderately well, however it starts to plod along as Cage's character begins to hone in on the shady suspects. Towards the final stages of the film, there are violent altercations between the characters which often become drawn out through repeated reversals of fortune, it sucks all the energy out of the film; it's all quite run-of-the-mill and unconvincing. It's not as terrible as some have said, it has some good moments, but it is a generic and forgettable film that's spoilt by a hackneyed ending. It's good for killing time, no more than that.
    Jack H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 17, 2012
    "You dance with the Devil..." Director Joel Schumacher's 8MM is a gritty crime drama that goes to some very dark places. Private investigator Tom Welles gets caught up in the seedy world of underground pornography while trying to authenticate a "snuff film." The cast is quite interesting, and includes Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, Peter Stormare, and Catherine Keener. Schumacher does a good job at building the mystery and intrigue as the investigation goes deeper and deeper. However, the story takes a strange turn in the final act that changes the tone of the film. There are a few aspects of 8MM that don't work, but overall it's an interesting character drama with a captivating mystery.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

8MM Quotes

News & Features