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Mad City


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Product Details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Alda, Mia Kirshner, Robert Prosky
  • Directors: Costa-Gavras
  • Writers: Eric Williams, Tom Matthews
  • Producers: Anne Kopelson, Arnold Kopelson, Jonathan D. Krane, Linda Warren, Stephen Brown
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 1998
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790734737
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,965 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mad City" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

This earnest effort at media criticism is never convincing enough to stir a viewer's outrage in the way filmmaker Costa-Gavras (Music Box) might have intended. John Travolta plays a barely educated museum guard who is laid off from his job and ends up

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Moonlight Graham VINE VOICE on February 23, 2004
Format: DVD
This satirical movie starts innocently enough, with Dustin Hoffman (Max Brackett) doing a "controversial" story on a local criminal. Brackett has been relegated to small-town duty after embarassing the network star, Kevin Hollander (played brilliantly by Alan Alda). Sam Baily (Travolta) has been fired after working as a guard at a museum. He lives paycheck to paycheck and has a family to support.
To get his boss to listen to him, he makes the decision to take a gun with him to capture her attention...a gun and a bag full of dynamite. The movie is wonderful, not for the twists and turns, but for the performances and nuances. A number of times, Brackett could take a risk and end the situation, a situation he basically created himself out of his own greed. In the end, this movie has great commentary on how the media goes overboard in its coverage. This movie may be more relevant today than when it was made.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel McInnis on February 16, 2001
Format: DVD
There's no denying that John Travolta's taken his fair share of knocks over the years, the least derserving of which he took upon the release of Mad City. Not only is his performance not bad, it's one of the finest of his career and hands down his best since Pulp Fiction. He plays an inept security guard on the short end of a museums down-sizing when he decides to take back his job, at gunpoint if he has to. This triggers a chain of events the has him taking hostages, children mostly, and becoming the biggest story in network news. To read this you might not expect to find Travolta's character any too sympathetic but he plays it in such a way that you can't help but feel for him and the dilemma in which he faces.
Dustin Hoffman plays opposite him as Max, a reporter with an unscrupulous past for manipulating the facts to further his career. But after locking horns with the networks golden boy (Alan Alda), he finds himself stuck at a small time local news station. His path to redemption with his colleagues, and ultimately himself, comes in the form of Sam Bailey (Travolta). Sam's misguided attempt at reclaiming his job becomes a TV sensation, comparable to Columbine or the Oklahoma City bombing in it's scope. Max spearheads the frenzied coverage from inside the building as a lucky coincidence has him being taken hostage himself.
With the world watching, Max tries to put a heroic spin on the story but finds himself confronted with a difficult choice. His career or Sam's life? And as Max makes his character arch, so too does the audience. The key to his self actualization is that we're taken along for the ride, following him down that dark road that is network politics.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By daniel on October 15, 2000
Format: DVD
Okay so John Travolta made a mistake with Battlefield Earth but does that discredit everything he's done in the past. Does that make Pulp Fiction any less intense or make his moves in Saturday Night Fever any less fluent? I'm of the opinion that an actor of John Travolta's caliber can redeem himself and during his brief comeback stint he made one of the best films of his career which went sadly overlooked. In Mad City he plays a pathetic security guard, a role so inept that you'd think it scare him off but no, he plays it to perfection. And when he takes his boss and a class of students on a field trip hostage he finds himself under the bright glare of the media's spotlight. The light's being cast by Max (Dustin Hoffman), an unethical newman whose willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to get the story. As you might expect, and we all know that it's coming, he and Sam (Travolta) hit it right off and form a friendship that penetrates the politics of television news. So it's up to Max to put a heroic spin on the story and save his newfound friend from being sent through the shredder by his cynical collegues. In particular an evil news achor (Alan Alda) intent on destroying Sam's credibility and for all intensive purposes, destroying his life. Never as a film touched on the subject of jounalism in the hands of ratings grubbing producers with such effectiveness and with Travolta as Sam we can't help but empathize with his plite. It's a great film with great actors.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bryhil_04 on April 20, 2002
Format: DVD
This was a good movie, and I don't want to ruin the ending because it should be a surprise, as I was. It's about a guy(Travolta) working on low wage, as a security guard at a church. He gets fired! So, he can't get Ms. Banks to listen to him. So, he comes in with a gun and a bag(you'll find out what's in it!) He's surprised to find a class and a teacher on tour there. A media guy(Dustin Hoffman) is in the bathroom reporting to a girl outside. He thinks Sam(Travolta) is taking hostages, but Sam's not. Sam goes to get his job back. Ms. Banks still doesn't listen to him. Sam shoots and accidentally hits his good friend, the other security guard for the church. Which gets the media even more involved. Things keep on packing up until the end, where the girl switches to the story, and Max(Hoffman) realizes the truth. Great story, startling suspense, so WATCH THIS!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Koonu on September 13, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It epitomizes the media circus following the armed hold up of a museum with children. Certainly a comical look at terror attacks is a much needed relief in this day and age of color coded alerts. Costa Gavras of "Missing" fame sugar coats the ordeal with satirical portrayal of liberal and conservative neonazis fishing in troubled waters; while extracting a remarkable performance from Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta.
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