Mad City (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This film revolves around a hostage situation in the mythical small town of Madeline, California. TV reporter Max Brackett is at the Taylor County Museum of Natural History when fired security guard Sam Baily goes postal. Realizing he's right in the middle of breaking news, Brackett exploits the event.
PG-13 (for depiction of a hostage situation, including violence and brief language)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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John Travolta
as Sam Baily
Dustin Hoffman
as Max Brackett
Blythe Danner
as Mrs. Banks
Alan Alda
as Kevin Hollander
John Landis
as Doctor
Ted Levine
as Lemke
Tammy Lauren
as Miss Rose
Randall Batinkoff
as CTN Junior Executive No. 2
Mia Kirshner
as Laurie
Patricia Smith
as Jenny's Mother
Robert Prosky
as Lou Potts
Richard Portnow
as Brackett's Agent
Jay Leno
as Himself
David Clennon
as Street Preacher
Kevin Cooney
as Principal
Larry King
as Himself
Bill Nunn
as Cliff
William O'Leary
as CTN Junior Executive
Ebbe Roe Smith
as Bartholomew
Jason Cottle
as Hollander's Assistant
Stephen Brown
as Hollander's Associate
Jenna Byrne
as Reporter KMUR
Julio Oscar Mechoso
as Air Force Sergeant
Kurt Johnson
as Macho Parent
Dirk Blocker
as Bowler No. 2
Tom Fridley
as Young Man
J.P. Bumstead
as Fisherman
Chris Byrne
as KXBD Cameraman
Richard Gross
as FBI Agent
Rueben Grundy
as Reporter Rueben
Sean O'Kane
as Lemke's Assistant
Bill Rafferty
as Bill Gottsegen
Sylvia Short
as Mrs. Baily
Roger Shamas
as Hollander's Driver
Milton Davis Jr.
as The Kids
Susan A. Burig
as Stage Manager
Laura Davis
as Hollander's Producer
Velina Brown
as Bonnie's Mother
Aaron Lucich
as Sniper
Julian Wall
as British Reporter
Eric Wycoff
as Rap Singer
Susan Segal
as Tabloid Reporter
as Nat Jackson
Kiersten Nally
as Cliff's Daughter
Stephen E. Kaufman
as Hollander's Lawyer
D. Seifert
as Minister
Donal O'Sullivan
as Policeman
Lee Ann Manley
as Rachel's Mother
Adina Goldman
as Lou's Assistant
Adam M. Koppekin
as Assistant
Pamela S. Laws
as Folk Singer
John Halbleib
as Folk Singer
Shannon L. Linke
as Folk Singer
Norman Berry
as Rap Singer
Chad Russell
as Rap Singer
Steven Lazaneo
as Rap Singer
Omar Lima
as Rap Singer
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Critic Reviews for Mad City

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6)

This simplistic and obvious expose about the manipulative power of the news media (lazily acted by Travoilta and Hoffman) is so familiar that it's not going to upset or provoke anyone.

Full Review… | August 21, 2006
Top Critic

A wanna-be event movie that merely reinvents the wheel.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Mad City is a waste of your time and money.

Full Review… | May 23, 2007
Houston Community Newspapers

...a film of mild pleasures and mild annoyances, alternately tired and clever yet ultimately dismissible.

July 8, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

'The media are vultures' is the prevailing point here, and it is not expressed in the most original or interesting of ways.

Full Review… | December 4, 2004

Compelling analysis of the modern media. Somewhat obvious, but still works.

July 13, 2003

Audience Reviews for Mad City

I quite liked this movie, dustin hoffman was brill and so was john travoltas acting. John travlta is a security guard who gets sacked but he wants it back so it turns into a hostage situation with dustin playing the reporter and in the heeart of it all. I think this is a brilliantly acted surperb film with a heart wrenching ending and something to relate to as well its has some humour and you feel sorry for travoltas character ! well worth a watch !!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


A thought-provoking thriller that takes embedded journalism to a new level when a TV reporter (Hoffman) finds himself trapped in an accidental hostage situation. John Travolta plays to perfection the role of a simple, irate museum security guard who just wants his job back. Costa-Gavras takes his scathing satire of media influence a bit too far, but as this was intended to be a mainstream movie he had to make the satire obvious. An interesting plot and enjoyable to watch even if it was a bit slow at times.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

Ginny  X
Ginny  X

Super Reviewer

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