Up 845 this week

The Negotiator (1998)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  29 July 1998 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 102,525 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 279 user | 66 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson
Outbreak (1995)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.

Director: Renny Harlin
Stars: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal.

Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Bibb
K-PAX (2001)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

PROT is a patient at a mental hospital who claims to be from a far away Planet. His psychiatrist tries to help him, only to begin to doubt his own explanations.

Director: Iain Softley
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of what happens one day in New York when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud.

Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Kim Staunton
Shaft (2000)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.

Director: John Singleton
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Christian Bale
Air Force One (1997)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Hijackers seize the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family, but he - an ex-soldier - works from hiding to defeat them.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman framed for her husband's murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can't be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard


Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Roman
Adam Beck
Grant Frost
Chief Al Travis
Terence Niebaum
Maggie (as Siobhan Fallon)
Tim Kelleher ...


In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late. Written by Ted Walters

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He frees hostages for a living. Now he's taking hostages to survive. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mediador  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,218,831 (USA) (31 July 1998)


£1,484,716 (UK) (1 January 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film is dedicated to the late actor J.T. Walsh (Niebaum). This was one of 3 films of his to be released posthumously. See more »


The ambulance at the end of the movie is an AMR unit. AMR does not operate in the City of Chicago (nor Cook County). That should have been either a Chicago Fire Department or Superior Ambulance. See more »


Lieutenant Danny Roman: I'm still alive, motherfucker!
See more »


References L.A. Confidential (1997) See more »


Performed and Written by Craig Armstrong
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd./Melankolic
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Highly enjoyable if implausible action thriller - 86%
20 June 2007 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

Regular readers of my reviews (all three of you) will know that one film that really soured my opinion of the Hollywood machine is the completely botched "Italian Job" remake - a typically stylish but ultimately shallow rehash of a perfectly good original. I was almost angry at director F. Gary Gray for trying to wreck my fond memories of Michael Caine in Turin so imagine my surprise to find him responsible for this earlier effort which is a genuinely exciting, if far-fetched, thriller starring two of Hollywood's biggest actors. Where did it all go wrong for the poor guy?

Samuel L Jackson plays police negotiator Lt. Danny Roman, a hostage negotiator with the Chicago PD who's a nice guy and all-round good bloke. After discovering corrupt cops helping themselves to the department's disability fund, Danny's world comes crumbling down after his partner is gunned down with all evidence pointing to him. Believing himself to be set up by Internal Affairs, led by Inspector Niebaum (J.T. Walsh) and Commander Frost (Ron Rifkin), Danny decides to take some hostages of his own in a desperate attempt to prove his innocence. Facing fellow negotiator Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), can Danny discover the truth before his one-time colleagues put a premature end to the siege?

Featuring quality at every level of the casting, "The Negotiator" shrugs off it's far-fetched scenario and becomes one of the most compulsive thrillers I've seen in ages. With the outcome never really certain until the credits roll, this is as good an example that I can think of of a film that has all the traditional elements of a classic summer blockbuster but remains taunt, thrilling and exciting throughout. Acting is a real strength of the film as Jackson, Walsh, Paul Giamatti and David Morse offer real depth to their characters and hold the film together with ease. Spacey looks a little out of place - he's too nice to play the stone-faced good guy with a mean streak - but his performance supports Jackson's wild-eyed paranoia perfectly. The biggest problems I found was that the story took a while to get going and when it did, it was actually rather obvious who the villains are.

I was actually a little tired of hostage movies after watching the equally brilliant "Inside Man" a little while ago but while that was a little on the slow side, this kept up a cracking pace until the very end. But both are exceptionally well-written, well-acted pieces of cinema and I don't think I could pick between the two. Even my Better Half enjoyed it, making me stay up late to watch it in spite of my early start the next day. I wouldn't describe "The Negotiator" as exceptional because it doesn't offer anything new in terms of action films or thrillers and the premise, as I've said, is too far-fetched for me personally. But "The Negotiator" is still a highly enjoyable film in its own right and to ignore it would be criminal. Feel free to ignore "The Italian Job" rehash, though...

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good guy is a terrorist? Lunda2222
What happens at the end saziso
Who was the guy? shelbing42
Hostages set free bfree1
I love this movie alah-qp
This was literally my favorite movie when I was in grade school patmss
Discuss The Negotiator (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: