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Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, William Forsythe ... see more see more... , David Morse , Bokeem Woodbine , John Spencer , John C. McGinley , Anthony Clark , Brendan Kelly , Danny Nucci , Tony Todd , Todd Louiso , Sam Whipple , Jim Maniaci , Greg Collins , Steve Harris , David Bowe , Howard Platt , Willie Garson , John Nathan Turner , Jack Ford , Ralph Peduto , Andy Ryan , Raymond O'Connor , Tom Towles , Anthony Guidera , Jim Caviezel , John Enos III , Ken Kells , Buck Kartalian , Marshall R. Teague , Jack Yates , Juan A. Riojas , Gregory Sporleder , Vanessa Marcil , Claire Forlani , Raymond Cruz , Robert M. Anselmo , Robert Ben Rajab , Robert C. Besgrove , Dennis Chalker , Steve Decker , Billy Devlin , Dando Gaver , Thomas J. Hageboeck , Joseph Hawes , Dwight Hicks , Harry Humphries , Joseph Patrick Kelly , Raquel Krelle , John W. Love Jr. , Jane Sanguinetti Luenell , Mike Mahrer , Leonard McMahan , Ingo Neuhaus , Carlos Sandoval , Fred Savallon , Ronald Simmons , Sean Skelton , Hans George Struhar , Ricky Toms , Celeste Weaver , Stanley Anderson , Luenell

The sophomore film from former music video and commercial director Michael Bay, this fast-paced action yarn featured rapid-fire editing, a cutting-edge rock soundtrack and liberal use of shots awash i... read more read more...n a haze of burnished hues, all trademarks of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. Nicolas Cage stars as Stanley Goodspeed, an FBI chemical weapons expert handed a unique assignment. Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris), an insane Marine Corps general, has taken 81 tourists hostage on the abandoned island prison of Alcatraz. He and his men are threatening to bomb San Francisco with deadly gas unless $100 million is paid in war reparations to the families of servicemen killed in covert operations. Goodspeed is teamed with former British spy John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), the only man ever to escape "The Rock," as well as a Navy SEAL team. When their military escorts are ambushed, it's up to odd couple Goodspeed and Mason to break into Alcatraz and stop Hummel. The Rock was the last film produced by Simpson, who died of a drug overdose before the film's release. Solo, his partner Bruckheimer continued making the sort of glossy, frenetic films for which the duo was famed. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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86% liked it

303,383 ratings


66% liked it

64 critics

R, 2 hr. 16 min.

Directed by: Michael Bay

Release Date: June 7, 1996

Keywords: action, popcorn

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DVD Release Date: December 2, 1997

Stats: 14,281 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (14,281)

  • fb1664868775
    May 2, 2014
    The pace is too fast to stop and think about the ridiculousness of this film and this summer blockbuster extraordinaire pulls you in.
  • October 24, 2013
    A thrilling and explosive great film led by a trio of fantastic actors and surprisingly well directed for a Michael Bay movie, and it also impresses for how the smart script introduces many narrative elements which turn out to play an important role further in the story.
  • October 29, 2011
    Michael Bay's second feature film and his best. The film demonstrates everything that was exhilarating about 90's action flicks. The film is full of exciting gun fights, a great car chase in the middle of San Francisco, and explosions. When Michael Bay blows things up, he blow... read mores them up good. Despite the film's overall silly premise, the actors make it believable. The three main leads give fantastic performances. Nicolas Cage is funny, and Ed Harris gives a surprising amount of depth to his character. The guy that steals the show however, is Sean Connery. Every line that comes out of his mouth, is priceless. Michael Bay sets out to make fun popcorn flicks and in this instance, he succeeds with flying colors.
  • fb733768972
    July 27, 2011
    Michael Bay is in top form, as he directs a clever blend of storytelling and action and finally finds a great balance between the two. "The Rock" is a hard hitting action flick, that also serves as being very meaningful with it's subtle moments with Sean Connery, for being the on... read morely man to ever escape Alcatraz. He works with Stanley (Nicholas Cage) to bring down a man who is holding a group of tourists hostage in Alcatraz. This film does try a little too hard to be smart, which leaves it still having the cheesiness of any other bay flick; However, the tone is gorgeous, the soundtrack it riveting, the acting is decent but sometimes over-the-top, and the action is awesome. Overall, the film is not Bay's best flick, but it ranks very high in his best attempts. The Rock is a very solid film!
  • June 29, 2011
    Michael Bay's follow up to Bad Boys is a lot different, but extremely fun and delivers incredibly well on action. It's actually extremely well-written and paced better than most movies with a 2hr+ running time. This is obviously a stylish looking movie; nearly everything we see i... read mores beautiful. This has all the nicely planned out explosions, big sets and pulse pounding action necessary for this type of movie. The hummer-Ferrari chase will be forever etched into my mind since I first witnessed it at age eleven. While I'm sure a lot of people find this ridiculous plot-wise, I've definitely grown to love it and it's really not far-fetched. A bonkers Nicolas Cage with a special degree in biochemical warfare certainly makes this movie enjoyable on top of everything else, as does the ex-Alcatraz inmate Sean Connery. This is by no means a movie that's so bad it's good, it's just plain good. I like the idea of retired marines going crazy and holding Alcatraz hostage, but them threatening San Fransisco with green marble bombs is even more interesting. If you're looking for an action extravaganza that also delivers on a cool story and interesting characters, it's hard to beat The Rock.
  • June 11, 2011
    Get ready to rock!

    Saw it again! Great action film and ton's of great scenes! The movie really is thrilling and entertaining, of course it's a Michael Bay film! The story is quite good and well made, great cast for a great action movie.

    A group of rogue Force Recon Marines led ... read moreby the heroic but disenchanted Brigadier General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris) seizes a stockpile of rockets armed with VX gas, a highly toxic chemical weapon, from a Naval Weapons Depot. They lose one of their men in the process, a horrific death caused by an accidental release of the chemical caused when one of the chemical containers accidentally ruptured.

    Hummel and his men then seize Alcatraz Island and take 81 tourists hostage, placing them in the prison cells, then threatening the FBI and Pentagon with launching the VX rockets against the population of San Francisco, unless the government pays ransom and reparations to the families of Marines who died on illegal, clandestine Marine Force Recon missions that were commanded by General Hummel. The Pentagon and FBI develop a plan to retake the island with an elite Navy SEAL team, enlisting chemical weapons expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) to help remove the VX and disarm the rockets.

    In need of reliable first-hand knowledge of the physical layout of Alcatraz, FBI Director Womack (John Spencer) is forced to turn to long-time federal prisoner John Mason (Sean Connery), the only former inmate of Alcatraz to ever successfully escape. Mason isn't given the complete story about why his help is needed, so, being a proven escape artist, he escapes from the FBI and leads them on a high-speed chase through the streets of San Francisco. Because he decides to make contact with his estranged daughter, Goodspeed and the FBI catch up with him and force him to cooperate on the mission.

    With Mason's guidance, the team successfully infiltrates Alcatraz undetected, but as they work their way through the tunnels of Alcatraz and enter the shower room, their presence is detected by sophisticated equipment set up by Hummel's men. To the dismay of General Hummel, the SEAL team is ambushed by the marines, leaving only Mason and Goodspeed alive. With Mason deciding to leave the island, Goodspeed must reveal the true purpose of the mission. Realizing his daughter's life is at risk, Mason agrees to stay and help.

    They begin the process of seeking out and disabling the rockets one-by-one, but Hummel and the marines make it very difficult for them. They disable the first rocket after a fight with two marines. Then, with Hummel threatening to execute a civilian, Mason decides to provide a diversion for Goodspeed by giving himself up. Goodspeed is able to disable the second rocket just before he is captured. Meanwhile, realizing that the SEAL team is lost, the Pentagon readies a backup plan, an attack by armed F-18s that will neutralize the poison gas by releasing thermite plasma bombs, which would also kill everyone on the island.

    As Mason is fashioning a rope of bedding to make use of in effecting his and Goodspeed's escape from their cells, he tells Goodspeed why he has been a prisoner of the United States for the past 33 years. During his service for the British as an SAS agent, he stole a microfilm containing serious secrets about U.S. and other world leaders and events. The information came from the personal files of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Mason was captured and refused to divulge the location of the microfilm. He was kept locked up, without benefit of trial, and told he would not be released until he gave up the microfilm. Realizing he would be "suicided" if he ever did that, he refused.

    After they escape from the cells, Mason again decides to leave the island, leaving Goodspeed to go it alone. Goodspeed is captured before he can find another rocket, but he's rescued by Mason, who decided to come back.

    The deadline Hummel gave the FBI/Pentagon arrives, and when there is no ransom paid and more time requested, Hummel's officers demand he take action. Hummel orders a rocket fired. It's headed for a full stadium at Candlestick Park, but Hummel secretly enters revised coordinates on his computer keyboard and redirects the rocket so that if falls into the ocean. His men are furious. They consider themselves mercenaries working for pay, and they want their pay, or to make good on the threats. Hummel tells them that it was a bluff that the government didn't fall for it, and since he's a professional soldier, not a murderer, that it's all over. He tells his men to take some hostages and leave, that he'd take the heat for it all.

    The men refuse. They intend to follow through. Guns are pulled and pointed all around. As shots are fired, General Hummel and Major Baxter are fatally wounded. With his last breath, Hummel tells Goodspeed that the last rocket is in the lower lighthouse.

    Mason and Goodspeed must fight off other marines as Goodspeed works to disable that last rocket. As Goodspeed is handling that final string of green VX "marbles", one of them drops on the deck. He retrieves it, but doesn't have time to stash it away with the rest before Captain Frye (Gregory Sporleder) is on him. With the termite plasma-armed jets approaching, Goodspeed is losing his hand-to-hand fight with Frye and must use that VX to defend himself. He shoves it in the captain's mouth and forces his jaw shut, crushing it and releasing the contents. Captain Frye dies almost instantly. The liquid also gets on Goodspeed and he immediately stumbles away and pulls the atropine antidote from his boot and injects himself in the heart with it. He is then able to grab and light off two green flares, the prearranged signal that the threat is over. The flares are spotted from land, but only after one of the jet pilots has released his bombs, exploding on the rear of the island and sending Goodspeed's body flying into the sea.

    Mason reappears to pull the unconscious Goodspeed to shore. Special Agent Ernest Paxton (William Forsythe) calls on the radio and learns from Goodspeed that the hostages were all alive, but that Mason had been killed. That provides Mason time to escape before the FBI arrives. Goodspeed tells Paxton and Womack that Mason was "vaporized."

    The film ends with Goodspeed running from a church in Ft. Walton, Kansas, as Carla, his pregnant bride, urges him to hurry and get in the car so they can get away. Goodspeed has in his hand a cannister containing microfilm. Mason had told him where to find it. He looks at the microfilm and asks Carla if she'd like to know who really shot JFK.
  • April 9, 2011
    loved this action thriller! This movie has everything, humour, action, and an intelligent plot,and i think the acting by all the characters is brilliant,and definitely a must see!!!!

    this is the third time i have watched it and still love it!!!
  • September 18, 2010
    the only Michael Bay movie that i'm gonna let pass. The one scene that really bothered me was how Sean Connery seemed to destroy half of San Francisco just because he was running away from the cops.
  • August 21, 2010
    I know it's fun and cliched to rag on Michael Bay, but he does bring it on himself. This is still a good movie though, and it basically set the standard for mid-late 90s action movies (and the rest of Bay's film's from that point onward).

    The story is a little shakey, but it'... read mores not terrible though. The actions scenes are exciting, well done, and the performances are also rather enjoyable, especially Connery. He and Cage have a decent rapport with one another.

    I like this movie, but in a way it kind of represents both the best and the worst of 90s action films, kind of like how "Commando" is for the 80s. I do like the location shooting, though. Alcatraz is awesome.
  • July 23, 2010

Critic Reviews

Gene Siskel
May 27, 2014
Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

There isn't a shot, scene or sequence in The Rock that doesn't move furiously, typically with colored lights flashing into our faces or onto those of the actors. Full Review

Doug Thomas
May 27, 2014
Doug Thomas, Seattle Times

You might need to take Dramamine before entering a Michael Bay movie. The one-time music-video director has an annoying habit of finding the tightest shots, editing the heck out of them and scoring th... Full Review

Jeff Strickler
May 27, 2014
Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune

For action-adventure fans, it just doesn't get any better than The Rock. Full Review

Michael Wilmington
May 27, 2014
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

Since the plot is ridiculous, The Rock works best when it's most light-hearted. Full Review

Jay Boyar
May 27, 2014
Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel

If it's not the most awful thing I've ever seen, it's close enough to make me wince. Full Review

Desmond Ryan
May 27, 2014
Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer

The borrowings from other movies, going all the way back to the car chase in 1968's Bullitt, are heavy. But Bay has three leads to lend weight and dimension to characters who are hardly original and f... Full Review

Todd McCarthy
March 26, 2009
Todd McCarthy, Variety

The yarn has its share of gaping holes and jaw-dropping improbabilities, but director Michael Bay sweeps them all aside with his never-take-a-breath pacing. Full Review

Richard Corliss
September 19, 2008
Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

Slick, brutal and almost human, this is the team-spirit action movie Mission: Impossible should have been. Full Review

Wally Hammond
June 24, 2006
Wally Hammond, Time Out

Fake countdown and knowing reactionary tone, but the best SF car chase to date. Full Review

Desson Thomson
June 11, 2002
Desson Thomson, Washington Post

Even for adults, the movie's a violence-intoxicated, far-fetched, morally corrupt drama that sinks like a... you know. Full Review

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    • Stanley Goodspeed: If the rocket renders it aerosol, it could take out an entire city of people.
    • John Patrick Mason: Really? And what happens if you drop one?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: Well, happily, it will just wipe just you and me
    • John Patrick Mason: How?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: It's a cholinesterase inhibitor. It stops the brain from sending messages down the spinal cord within 30 seconds. Any epidermal exposure or inhalation and you'll a twinge at the small of your back as the poison seizes your nervous system... DO NOT MOVE THAT! Your muscles freezes, you can't breathe, you spasm so hard you break your back and spit your guts out. But that's after your skin melts off.
    • John Patrick Mason: My God.
    • Stanley Goodspeed: Well, I think we'd like God on our side at the moment, don't you?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: I love pressure, I eat it for breakfast!
    • John Patrick Mason: The Rock has become a tourist attraction?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: Look, I'm just a biochemist. Most of the time, I work in a little glass jar and lead a very uneventful life. I drive a Volvo, a beige one. But what I'm dealing with here is one of the most deadly substances the earth has ever known, so what say you cut me some FRIGGIN' SLACK?
    • John Patrick Mason: Are you sure you're ready for this?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: I'll do my best.
    • John Patrick Mason: Your 'best'! Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and f**k the prom queen.
    • Stanley Goodspeed: Carla was the prom queen.
    • John Patrick Mason: Really?
    • Stanley Goodspeed: [cocks his gun] Yeah.
    • Stanley Goodspeed: Well, I'm one of those fortunate people who like my job, sir. Got my first chemistry set when I was seven, blew my eyebrows off, we never saw the cat again, been into it ever since.

The Rock : Watch Free on TV

The Rock Trivia

  • Who did the voices for Marty, Gloria, Melman and Alex in Madagascar?  Answer »
  • We're a brother & sister pair, who's starred in or did voiceovers for the following movies: Serendipity Toy Story 2 School of Rock Chicken Little Grosse Point Blank Who are we?  Answer »
  • What Popular Rock star makes an appearance as a Journalism Teacher in the 2005 Horror flick, 'Cry Wolf'?  Answer »
  • Name the movie this quote is from: "Your best? Only losers complain about their best."  Answer »

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