Armageddon (film)

Armageddon (film)

"Armageddon (film)" redirects here. For other films with the same title, see Armageddon (disambiguation).
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Bay
Produced by Michael Bay
Jerry Bruckheimer
Gale Anne Hurd
Screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
Tony Gilroy
Shane Salerno
Story by Robert Roy Pool
Jonathan Hensleigh
Narrated by Charlton Heston
Starring Bruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Liv Tyler
Ben Affleck
Will Patton
Keith David
Michael Clarke Duncan
Steve Buscemi
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Editing by Mark Goldblatt
Chris Lebenzon
Glen Scantlebury
Studio Touchstone Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Valhalla Motion Pictures
Rainmaker Digital Effects
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s)Template:Plainlist
Running time 151 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $140 million[1]
Box office $553,709,788[1]

Armageddon is a 1998 American science fiction disaster drama film, directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and released by Touchstone Pictures. The film follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth. It features an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.

Armageddon opened in theaters only two-and-a-half months after a similar impact-based movie, Deep Impact, which starred Robert Duvall and Morgan Freeman. Armageddon fared better at the box office, while astronomers described Deep Impact as being more scientifically accurate.[2][3] Both films were equally received by film critics. Armageddon was an international box-office success, despite generally negative reviews from critics. It became the highest-grossing film of 1998 worldwide surpassing the Steven Spielberg war epic, Saving Private Ryan.


A massive meteor shower destroys the Space Shuttle Atlantis and bombards New York City, America's East Coast, and Finland. NASA discovers that a rogue comet the size of Texas passed through the asteroid belt and pushed forward a large amount of space debris. The Texas-sized asteroid itself will collide with Earth in eighteen days, creating another extinction event. NASA scientists, led by Dan Truman (Thornton), plan to bury a nuclear device deep inside the asteroid that, when detonated, will split the asteroid in two, driving the pieces apart so both will fly safely past the Earth. NASA contacts Harry Stamper (Willis), considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice. Harry returns to NASA, along with his daughter Grace (Tyler), to keep her away from her new boyfriend, one of Harry's young and rambunctious drillers, A. J. Frost (Affleck). Harry and Grace learn about the asteroid, and Harry explains he will need his team, including A. J., to carry out the mission. Once they have been rounded up and the situation is explained, they agree to help, but only after their list of unusual rewards and demands are met.

As NASA puts Harry and his crew through a short and rigorous astronaut training program, Harry and his team re-outfit the mobile drillers, named the "Armadillos", that will be used on the asteroid. When a large fragment from the asteroid wipes out Shanghai, NASA is forced to reveal its plans to the world and launches two military space shuttles, named Freedom and Independence. Once in orbit, the shuttles dock with the Russian space station Mir, manned by Lev Andropov (Stormare), to refuel. A fire breaks out during the transfer, and the station is evacuated just before it explodes, with Lev and A. J. making a narrow escape. The shuttles slingshot around the Moon in order to land on the back side of the asteroid. Traveling through the asteroid's debris field Independence's hull is punctured and crashes onto the rock. Grace, watching from NASA headquarters, is distraught about A. J.'s apparent death.

Freedom lands safely, but misses the target area by twenty-six miles, so the team must now drill through an area of compressed iron ferrite rather than the targeted softer stone. When they fall significantly behind schedule and communications are about to fail, the military initiates "Secondary Protocol" to remotely detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid's surface, which apparently will not have any effect. While Truman delays the military at Mission Control, Harry persuades the shuttle commander (Fichtner) to disarm the bomb so they can complete the drilling.

Distracted by "Rockhound" (Buscemi), who is having a mental breakdown, the Freedom crew loses their Armadillo and its operator (Campbell) when it strikes a gas pocket and is blown into space. World panic ensues as the mission is assumed lost, just as another meteorite destroys Paris. Suddenly, A. J., Lev, and "Bear" (Duncan), having survived the Independence crash, arrive in time in the second Armadillo to complete the drilling.

As the asteroid approaches the Earth, it heats up, causing a dangerous rock storm that damages the bomb's remote trigger. They realize someone must stay behind to detonate it manually. After all the non-flight crew volunteers, they draw straws, and A. J. is selected. As he and Harry exit the airlock, Harry rips off A. J.'s air hose and shoves him back inside, telling him he is the son Harry never had, and he would be proud to have A.J. marry Grace. Harry prepares to detonate the bomb and contacts Grace to say his last goodbyes. After the Freedom moves to a safe distance, Harry pushes the button at the last minute (after some difficulty) and his life passes before his eyes as the asteroid is destroyed. It breaks in two and both halves fly past the Earth. Freedom lands, and the surviving crew are treated as heroes. The film ends with A. J. and Grace's wedding, complete with photos of Harry and the other lost crew members present in memoriam.



In May 1998, Disney Studio chairman Joe Roth expanded the film's budget by $3 million to include additional special effects scenes. This additional footage, incorporated two months prior to the film's release, was specifically added for the television advertising campaign to differentiate the film from Deep Impact which was released a few months before.[4]


Prior to Armageddon's release, the film was advertised in Super Bowl XXXII at a cost of $2.6 million.[5]

Theatrical run

Armageddon was released on July 1, 1998 in 3,127 theaters in the United States and Canada. It ranked first at the box office with an opening weekend gross of $36 million. It grossed $201.6 million in the United States and Canada and $352.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $553.7 million.[1]

Home media

Despite poor critical reception, a DVD edition of Armageddon was released by The Criterion Collection, a specialist film distributor of primarily arthouse films that markets what it considers to be "important classic and contemporary films" and "cinema at its finest". In an essay supporting the selection of Armageddon, film scholar Jeanine Basinger, who taught Michael Bay at Wesleyan University, states that the film is "a work of art by a cutting-edge artist who is a master of movement, light, color, and shape—and also of chaos, razzle-dazzle, and explosion". She sees it as a celebration of working men: "This film makes these ordinary men noble, lifting their efforts up into an epic event." Further, she states that in the first few moments of the film all the main characters are well established, saying, "If that isn't screenwriting, I don't know what is".[6] The film was also released on Blu-ray disc in 2010. However, the Blu-ray is a standard edition from Touchstone Pictures and has only a few special features.

Critical reception

Armageddon received mostly negative reviews from film critics, who mainly took issue with "the furious pace of its editing".[7] The film is on the list of Roger Ebert's most hated films.[8] In his original review, Ebert stated, "The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense and the human desire to be entertained".[9] Todd McCarthy of Variety also gave the film a negative review, noting Michael Bay's rapid cutting style: "Much of the confusion, as well as the lack of dramatic rhythm or character development, results directly from Bay's cutting style, which resembles a machine gun stuck in the firing position for 2½ hours."[10] The film has a cumulative 40% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[11] while achieving a 42% aggregate score on Metacritic.

According to Bruce Joel Rubin, writer of Deep Impact, a production president at Disney took notes on everything the writer said during lunch about his script and initiated Armageddon as a counter film at Disney.[12]

In April 2013, in a Miami Herald interview to promote Pain & Gain, Bay was quoted as having said:

...We had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.[13]

Some time after the article was published, Bay corrected his stance, claiming he was proud of the film, and accused the writer of the article for taking his words out of context. The author of the article, Miami Herald writer Rene Rodriguez claimed: "NBC asked me for a response, and I played them the tape. I didn’t misquote anyone. All the sites that picked up the story did."[14]


The film was nominated for four Oscars at the 1999 Academy Awards: Best Sound (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester), Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Original Song ("I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" performed by Aerosmith).[15] The film received the Saturn Awards for Best Direction and Best Science Fiction Film (where it tied with Dark City). It was also nominated for seven Razzie Awards[16] including: Worst Actor (Bruce Willis), Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler), Worst Screen Couple (Tyler and Ben Affleck) and Worst Original Song. Only one Razzie was awarded: Bruce Willis received the Worst Actor award for Armageddon, in addition to his appearances in Mercury Rising and The Siege, both released in the same year as this film.


Award Category Winner/Nominee Result Ref.
71st Academy Awards Best Sound Editing George Watters II Nominated [17]
Best Visual Effects Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier Nominated
Best Original Song Diane Warren Nominated
Best Sound Mixing Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester Nominated
Awards of the Japanese Academy Outstanding Foreign Language Film Armageddon Nominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Most Performed Songs from a Motion Picture Diane Warren Won [18]
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actor - Sci-Fi Bruce Willis Won [19]
Favorite Actress - Sci-Fi Liv Tyler Nominated
Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi Ben Affleck Won
Billy Bob Thornton Nominated
Favorite Soundtrack Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams Nominated
BMI Film & TV Awards Best Music Trevor Rabin Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Feature Film Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester Nominated [20]
1999 Grammy Awards Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television Diane Warren Nominated
19th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actor Bruce Willis Won
Worst Director Michael Bay Nominated
Worst Original Song Diane Warren Nominated
Worst Picture Jerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Bay Nominated
Worst Screen Couple Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler Nominated
Worst Screenplay Jonathan Hensleigh and J. J. Abrams Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Liv Tyler Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. Wester Nominated
Best Sound Editing - Music Bob Badami, Will Kaplan, Shannon Erbe, Mark Jan Wlodarkiewicz Nominated
1998 Golden Satellite Awards Best Original Song Aerosmith Won
Best Visual Effects Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Trailer Nominated
1999 MTV Movie Awards Best Action Sequence Armageddon Won
Best Performance - Male Ben Affleck Nominated
Best Performance - Female Liv Tyler Nominated
Best Movie Armageddon Nominated
Best Movie Song Aerosmith Won
Best On-Screen Duo Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actor Bruce Willis Nominated
Best Costumes Michael Kaplan, Magali Guidasci Nominated
Best Director Michael Bay Won
Best Music Trevor Rabin Nominated
Best Science Fiction Film Armageddon Won
Best Special Effects Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John Frazier Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ben Affleck Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Film - Choice Actor Nominated

Scientific accuracy

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Bay admitted that the central premise of the film, "that [NASA] could actually do something in a situation like this," was unrealistic. Robert Roy Pool, a contributing screenwriter, stated that his script, in which an anti-gravity device is used to deflect a comet from a collision course with Earth, was "much more in line with top-secret research."[21] Additionally, near the end of the credits there is a disclaimer stating, "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's cooperation and assistance does not reflect an endorsement of the contents of the film or the treatment of the characters depicted therein."[22]

In 2012, following a mathematical analysis of the situation, an article titled "Could Bruce Willis Save the World?" was published in the Special Physics Topics Journal. It found that for Willis' approach to be effective, he would need to be in possession of an H-bomb a billion times stronger than the Soviet Union's "Big Ivan", the biggest ever detonated on Earth. Using estimates of the asteroid's size, density, speed and distance from Earth based on information in the film, postgraduate students from the University of Leicester found that to split the asteroid in two with both pieces clearing Earth, would require 800 trillion terajoules of energy. In contrast the total energy output of "Big Ivan", which was tested by the Soviet Union in 1961, was only 418,000 terajoules.[23]


Armageddon: The Album

Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released June 23, 1998 (1998-06-23)
Genre Rock
Length 57:05
Label Columbia/TriStar

The soundtrack features several new songs recorded for the soundtrack, including "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "What Kind of Love Are You On", performed by Aerosmith, "Remember Me", performed by Journey, and "Mister Big Time", performed by Jon Bon Jovi. Our Lady Peace's "Starseed" is a re-mixed version of the original.

Track listing

No. TitleWriter(s)Artist Length
1. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"  Diane WarrenAerosmith 5:03
2. "Remember Me"  Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon, Jack BladesJourney 5:33
3. "What Kind of Love Are You On"  Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy ShawAerosmith 3:15
4. "La Grange"  Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank BeardZZ Top 3:38
5. "Roll Me Away"  Bob SegerBob Seger 4:42
6. "When the Rainbow Comes"  Karl WallingerShawn Colvin 4:25
7. "Sweet Emotion"  Tyler, Tom HamiltonAerosmith 5:13
8. "Mister Big Time"  Jon Bon Jovi, Aldo NovaJon Bon Jovi 2:51
9. "Come Together"  John Lennon, Paul McCartneyAerosmith 3:48
10. "Wish I Were You"  Patty Smyth-MacEnroe, Glen BurtnikPatty Smyth 3:53
11. "Starseed"  Raine MaidaOur Lady Peace 4:23
12. "Leaving on a Jet Plane"  John DenverChantal Kreviazuk 4:45
13. "Theme from Armageddon"  Trevor RabinTrevor Rabin 3:12
14. "Animal Crackers" (Dialogue by Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler)Warren, Rabin, Harry Gregson-WilliamsSteven Tyler 2:40
Total length:

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1998 The Billboard 200 1
End of decade charts
Chart (1990–1999) Position
U.S. Billboard 200[24] 94
Preceded by
City of Angels (soundtrack) by Various artists
Billboard 200 number-one album
July 18–31, 1998
Succeeded by
Hello Nasty by Beastie Boys

Armageddon: Original Motion Picture Score by Trevor Rabin

Soundtrack album by Trevor Rabin
Released November 10, 1998 (1998-11-10)
Genre Soundtracks
Original score
Film score
Label Sony

There was also an instrumental score titled Armageddon: Original Motion Picture Score by Trevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-Williams. Rabin was formerly a member of the progressive rock band Yes and Gregson-Williams was a former Hans Zimmer's disciple and protégé.

  1. "Armageddon Suite"
  2. "Harry & Grace Make Peace"
  3. "A.J.'s Return"
  4. "Oil Rig"
  5. "Leaving"
  6. "Evacuation"
  7. "Harry Arrives at NASA"
  8. "Back in Business"
  9. "Launch"
  10. "5 Words"
  11. "Underwater Simulation"
  12. "Finding Grace"
  13. "Armadillo"
  14. "Short Straw"
  15. "Rockstorm"
  16. "Demands"
  17. "Death of MIR"
  18. "Armageddon Piano"
  19. "Long Distance Goodbye/Landing"

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

Following the 2003 Columbia disaster, some screen captures from the opening scene where Atlantis is destroyed were passed off as satellite images of the disaster in a hoax.[25] Also, in response to the disaster, FX pulled Armageddon from the night's schedule and replaced it with Aliens.[26]


A novelization was written by C. Bolin, based on the screenplay by Jonathan Hensleigh, J. J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy and Shane Salerno and the story by Jonathan Hensleigh and Robert Pool.

Theme park attraction

Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux is an attraction based on Armageddon at Walt Disney Studios Park located at Disneyland Paris.[27] The attraction simulates the scene in the movie in which the Russian Space Station is destroyed.[28] Michael Clarke Duncan ("Bear" in the movie) featured in the pre-show before his death.[28]

See also

Film portal



External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Template:Allmovie title
  • Box Office Mojo
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Movie Smackdown!
  • Wesleyan University professor under whom the film's director studied
  • Bad Astronomy – The Astronomy of Armageddon
  • Movie Tour – Maps and directions to Armageddon Filming Locations
  • – The Armageddon movie props and costumes archive