Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Twelve Monkeys (1995)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Twelve Monkeys (1995) (aka 12 Monkeys)

In director Terry Gilliam's sci-fi fantasy about time travel and a devastating plague (a remake of Chris Marker's short film La Jetée/The Pier (1962, Fr.)):

  • the key scene in the film - the recurring obsessive nightmarish dream that haunted delusional, time-traveling convict and asylum inmate James 'Jim' Cole (Bruce Willis), of himself as a young boy (Joseph Melito) seeing a man in an airport gunned down by police, and then raising his bloody hand up to the face of a grieving blonde woman - a childhood memory whose meaning was not understood even though it replayed itself endlessly
  • the dystopic 1996-1997 snow-covered, plague-ridden Philadelphia, overrun with wild animals (bears, lions, etc.)
  • the character of insane animal activist Jeffrey Goines (Oscar-nominated Brad Pitt) whose radical group "The Army of the 12 Monkeys" was not the cause of the worldwide plague that killed five billion people and made Earth unlivable
  • the scene in which psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) realized Cole was telling the truth, when she saw him in an old World War I photograph (after removing an antique bullet from a leg wound) from her book research - and then fell in love with him
  • the transcendent scene when "the 12 Monkeys" released all the animals out of Philadelphia's Garden Zoological Society
  • the ending in which it was revealed that young Cole's dream-memory was actually him witnessing his own death (with the blonde woman being Kathryn)
  • the film's brilliant use of performer Louis Armstrong's singing "What A Wonderful World" during the end credits


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