The Siege

November 6th, 1998


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Still of Bruce Willis in The SiegeStill of Denzel Washington, Annette Bening and Tony Shalhoub in The SiegeStill of Denzel Washington in The SiegeEdward Zwick in The SiegeStill of Denzel Washington in The SiegeStill of Bruce Willis in The Siege

The secret US abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York that lead to the declaration of martial law.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 6.2/10 (32,566 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: Edward Zwick

Stars: Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Annette Bening

After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City.

Writers: Lawrence Wright, Lawrence Wright

Denzel Washington - Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard
Annette Bening - Elise Kraft / Sharon Bridger
Bruce Willis - Major General William Devereaux
Tony Shalhoub - Agent Frank Haddad
Sami Bouajila - Samir Nazhde
Ahmed Ben Larby - Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed - Muezzin
Lianna Pai - Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
Mark Valley - FBI Agent Mike Johanssen
Jack Gwaltney - Fred Darius
David Proval - Danny Sussman
Lance Reddick - FBI Agent Floyd Rose
Jeremy Knaster - INS Official
William Hill - INS Uniform
Aasif Mandvi - Khalil Saleh

Taglines: On November 6th our freedom is history

Release Date: 6 November 1998

Filming Locations: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $70,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $13,931,285 (USA) (8 November 1998) (2541 Screens)

Gross: $40,932,372 (USA) (14 February 1999)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

According to an interview that screenwriter Lawrence Wright gave to CBS in 2007, the film was a box office failure upon its theatrical release, "but it was the most-rented movie in America after 9/11." Wright also claimed that the initial release bombed because "Muslim and Arab protesters picketed the theaters. They were furious at being stereotyped as terrorists."

Factual errors: Twice, General Devereaux refers to "the president invoking the War Powers Act." The WPA is not presidential authority for allow war or the use of the military (which comes from Congress), but it is in fact a rule passed by Congress in 1973 (after Vietnam) that severely limits a president's ability to unilaterally use military force without Congressional authorization.

Senator: You don't fight a junkyard dog with ASPCA rules. What you do is you take the leash off your bigger, meaner dog.

User Review

Still stands up

Rating: 7/10

I remember hearing about this film before its release. It had caught a great deal of flack for its use of Arabs and Muslims in particular as violent extremists. Even at that time I knew that the protests against this film were nothing more than politically correct nonsense, as even then the only trans-oceanic terrorists that existed were of the fake-Muslim variety that today we hear about every hour.

When I saw the film, I was impressed by the fair nature of the film, in that it portrayed the truth: these extremists exist in the overwhelming minority of Muslims, and that it is unwise and unfair to paint them all with the same brush. With a very good script, excellent performances and exciting action pieces, I was impressed.

Jump ahead a few years, and we see what we have learned. This film was not just an intelligent story. It was a warning sign. It examined things that people did not want to talk about. It examined things that people thought it more politically correct to ignore. It portrayed events realistically and in fact far less devastating than what was possible. If there is one thing that can be learned by examining a film such as this in retrospective of recent events, it is that our species chooses to ignore that which it does not want to accept.

Those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps there are other subjects we should stop being so PC about and actually talk about instead of worrying about "how it will look."