Armageddon (1998 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Bay
Produced byMichael Bay
Jerry Bruckheimer
Gale Anne Hurd
Screenplay byJonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
Story byRobert Roy Pool
Jonathan Hensleigh
Narrated byCharlton Heston
StarringBruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Liv Tyler
Ben Affleck
Will Patton
Keith David
Michael Clarke Duncan
Steve Buscemi
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Editing byMark Goldblatt
Chris Lebenzon
Glen Scantlebury
StudioTouchstone Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Valhalla Motion Pictures
Rainmaker Digital Effects
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • July 1, 1998 (1998-07-01)
Running time151 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$140 million[1]
Box office$553,709,788[1]
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"Armageddon (film)" redirects here. For other films with the same title, see Armageddon (disambiguation).
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Bay
Produced byMichael Bay
Jerry Bruckheimer
Gale Anne Hurd
Screenplay byJonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
Story byRobert Roy Pool
Jonathan Hensleigh
Narrated byCharlton Heston
StarringBruce Willis
Billy Bob Thornton
Liv Tyler
Ben Affleck
Will Patton
Keith David
Michael Clarke Duncan
Steve Buscemi
Music byTrevor Rabin
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Editing byMark Goldblatt
Chris Lebenzon
Glen Scantlebury
StudioTouchstone Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Valhalla Motion Pictures
Rainmaker Digital Effects
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • July 1, 1998 (1998-07-01)
Running time151 minutes
CountryUnited States
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 mixed 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 core of the comet, now considered an asteroid, will collide with Earth in 18 days, creating another extinction event. NASA scientists, led by Dan Truman, plan to trigger a nuclear detonation 800 ft inside the asteroid that will split the asteroid in two, driving the pieces apart so both will fly safely past the Earth. NASA contacts Harry Stamper, considered the best deep-sea oil driller in the world, for assistance and advice. Harry returns to NASA, along with his teenage daughter Grace, to keep her away from her new boyfriend, one of Harry's young and rambunctious drillers, A. J. Frost. 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, to refuel with liquid oxygen. However, a major 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. The Independence's engines are destroyed when they pass through the debris field behind the asteroid, and it appears to crash on the asteroid with all hands lost, while the Freedom overshoots their target landing zone by 26 miles. Grace, watching from NASA headquarters, is distraught about A. J.'s apparent death. Unknown to the others, A.J. Lev, and "Bear" (another of Harry's crew) survive the impact and head towards the Freedom in their Armadillo.

The rock where Freedom landed is much harder than at the target zone, and drilling falls behind schedule. The military initiates "Secondary Protocol" to remotely detonate the nuclear weapon on the asteroid's surface, despite Truman's assurance it would have no effect. Truman alerts Harry, and he is able to get the shuttle commander's help to disarm the remote trigger. Harry pushes his crew harder, but in the process, they hit a gas pocket, and their Armadillo is blown into space. They consider the mission lost until the arrival of the Independence's Armadillo. With A. J. at the controls, they quickly reach the required depth for the bomb.

The heat from the asteroid's approach to earth damages the triggering device, forcing someone to stay behind manually to detonate the bomb. 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. A. J. and Grace get married, 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[edit]

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[edit]

Despite a mixed 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[edit]

Armageddon received mostly mixed 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 that his apology only related to the editing of the film, not the whole film,[14] 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."[15]


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).[16] 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[17] 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.


Academy AwardsBest Sound EditingGeorge Watters IINominated[18]
Best Visual EffectsRichard R. Hoover, Patrick McClung and John FrazierNominated
Best Original Song ("I Don't Want to Miss a Thing")Diane WarrenNominated
Best Sound MixingKevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. WesterNominated
Awards of the Japanese AcademyOutstanding Foreign Language FilmArmageddonNominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music AwardsMost Performed Songs from a Motion PictureDiane WarrenWon[19]
Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsFavorite Actor - Sci-FiBruce WillisWon[20]
Favorite Actress - Sci-FiLiv TylerNominated
Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-FiBen AffleckWon
Billy Bob ThorntonNominated
Favorite SoundtrackTrevor Rabin and Harry Gregson-WilliamsNominated
BMI Film & TV AwardsBest MusicTrevor RabinWon
Cinema Audio Society AwardsOutstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Feature FilmKevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. WesterNominated[21]
1999 Grammy AwardsBest Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for TelevisionDiane WarrenNominated
19th Golden Raspberry AwardsWorst ActorBruce WillisWon
Worst DirectorMichael BayNominated
Worst Original Song ("I Don't Want to Miss a Thing")Diane WarrenNominated
Worst PictureJerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael BayNominated
Worst Screen CoupleBen Affleck and Liv TylerNominated
Worst ScreenplayJonathan Hensleigh and J. J. AbramsNominated
Worst Supporting ActressLiv TylerNominated
Golden Reel AwardsBest Sound EditingKevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Keith A. WesterNominated
Best Sound Editing - MusicBob Badami, Will Kaplan, Shannon Erbe, Mark Jan WlodarkiewiczNominated
1998 Golden Satellite AwardsBest Original SongAerosmithWon
Best Visual EffectsRichard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John FrazierNominated
Golden Trailer AwardsBest TrailerNominated
1999 MTV Movie AwardsBest Action SequenceArmageddonWon
Best Performance - MaleBen AffleckNominated
Best Performance - FemaleLiv TylerNominated
Best MovieArmageddonNominated
Best Movie SongAerosmithWon
Best On-Screen DuoBen Affleck and Liv TylerNominated
Saturn AwardsBest ActorBruce WillisNominated
Best CostumesMichael Kaplan, Magali GuidasciNominated
Best DirectorMichael BayWon
Best MusicTrevor RabinNominated
Best Science Fiction FilmArmageddonWon
Best Special EffectsRichard R. Hoover, Pat McClung and John FrazierNominated
Best Supporting ActorBen AffleckNominated
Teen Choice AwardsFilm - Choice ActorNominated

Scientific accuracy[edit]

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."[22] 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."[23]

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.[24]


Armageddon: The Album[edit]

Armageddon: The Album
Soundtrack album by Various artists
ReleasedJune 23, 1998 (1998-06-23)
Singles from Armageddon: The Album
  1. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
    Released: August 18, 1998
  2. "What Kind of Love Are You On"
    Released: 1998

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. The album was commercially successful in Japan, and was certified double platinum for 400,000 copies shipped in 1999.[25]

Track listing[edit]

1."I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"  Diane WarrenAerosmith4:59
2."Remember Me"  Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon, Jack BladesJourney5:33
3."What Kind of Love Are You On"  Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy ShawAerosmith3:15
4."La Grange"  Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank BeardZZ Top3:38
5."Roll Me Away"  Bob SegerBob Seger4:42
6."When the Rainbow Comes"  Karl WallingerShawn Colvin4:25
7."Sweet Emotion"  Tyler, Tom HamiltonAerosmith5:13
8."Mister Big Time"  Jon Bon Jovi, Aldo NovaJon Bon Jovi2:51
9."Come Together"  John Lennon, Paul McCartneyAerosmith3:48
10."Wish I Were You"  Patty Smyth-MacEnroe, Glen BurtnikPatty Smyth3:53
11."Starseed"  Raine MaidaOur Lady Peace4:23
12."Leaving on a Jet Plane"  John DenverChantal Kreviazuk4:45
13."Theme from Armageddon"  Trevor RabinTrevor Rabin3:12
14."Animal Crackers" (Dialogue by Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler)Warren, Rabin, Harry Gregson-WilliamsSteven Tyler2:40
Total length:

Chart positions[edit]

1998The Billboard 2001
End of decade charts[edit]
Chart (1990–1999)Position
U.S. Billboard 200[26]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[edit]

Soundtrack album by Trevor Rabin
ReleasedNovember 10, 1998 (1998-11-10)
Original score
Film score

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.[citation needed]

  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[edit]

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.[27] Also, in response to the disaster, FX pulled Armageddon from the night's schedule and replaced it with Aliens.[28]


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.[citation needed]

Theme park attraction[edit]

Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux is an attraction based on Armageddon at Walt Disney Studios Park located at Disneyland Paris.[29] The attraction simulates the scene in the movie in which the Russian Space Station is destroyed.[30] Michael Clarke Duncan ("Bear" in the movie) featured in the pre-show before his death.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Armageddon (1998)". Box Office Mojo. October 11, 1998. 
  2. ^ "Disaster Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  3. ^ Plait, Phil (February 17, 2000). "Hollywood Does the Universe Wrong". 
  4. ^ Lichtenfeld, p. 221.
  5. ^ Lichtenfeld, p. 224.
  6. ^ The Criterion Collection: Armageddon by Michael Bay. Retrieved on 2012-05-14.
  7. ^ Lichtenfeld, Eric (2007). Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie. Wesleyan University Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8195-6801-4. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 11, 2005). "Ebert's Most Hated". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  9. ^ Roger Ebert – Armageddon. Retrieved on 2012-05-14.
  10. ^ Lichtenfeld, p. 220.
  11. ^ Armageddon – Movie Review – Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ "Tales from the Script: Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories – – Nonfiction Book & Film Project About Screenwriting". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  13. ^ Rodriguez, Rene. "‘Pain & Gain’ revisits a horrific Miami crime" The Miami Herald (April 21, 2013).
  14. ^ Miami Herald: Michael Bay: No apology for Armageddon (April 24, 2013)
  15. ^ "Michael Bay Hits Back At Reporter In ‘Armageddon’ Apology Flap." (April 2013).
  16. ^ "The 71st Academy Awards (1999) Nominees and Winners". 
  17. ^ "1998 Golden Rasberry Award Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on March 28, 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2006. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Awards for Armageddon at the Internet Movie Database
  22. ^ Daly, Steve (March 27, 1998). "The Hype That Fell To Earth". 
  24. ^ Collins, Nick (7 Aug 2012). "Bruce Willis would have needed a bigger bomb to stop asteroid, scientists say". Telegraph. 
  25. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年7月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. July 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 478: 9. September 10, 1999. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  26. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). "1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Photos of the Shuttle Columbia Disaster?". 
  28. ^ Sue Chan (February 3, 2003). "TV Pulls Shuttle Sensitive Material, Hewlett-Packard Ad, Bruce Willis Movie Yanked From Air". CBS News. 
  29. ^ "Armageddon – Backlot – Disneyland® Resort Paris". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  30. ^ a b "Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux | Photos Magiques – Disneyland Paris photos". Photos Magiques. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 


External links[edit]