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Minority Report
Minority Report.jpg
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Jan de Bont
Bonnie Curtis
Gerald R. Molen
Walter F. Parkes
Written by: Screenplay by Scott Frank and Jon Cohen. Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick
Starring: Tom Cruise,
Max von Sydow
Colin Farrell
Samantha Morton
Neal McDonough
Runtime: 145 mins.
Rating: Rating PG-13.gif
Country: United States
Language: English
Distributed by: Worldwide Theatrical and Non-USA DVD/Video 20th Century Fox USA DVD/Video DreamWorks SKG
Released on: June 21, 2002
Box Office: $358,372,926

IMDb entry
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Minority Report is a 2002 Science Fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg, loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name. It is set in Washington D.C. in the year 2054, where a special police department called "pre-crime" apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge, provided by three psychics termed "pre-cogs". The film stars Tom Cruise as John Anderton, a pre-crime officer, who heads the pre-crime police force. Colin Farrell plays Danny Witwer, an agent from the Department of Justice who is sent to observe the process, Samantha Morton portrays the senior pre-cog Agatha, and Max von Sydow plays Lamar Burgess, Anderton's superior. It is one of several films based on stories by Philip K. Dick.

The film cost more than $100 million to make, though it made more than three times that in worldwide box office, and sold at least four million copies in its first few months of release on DVD.[1][2] Minority Report was one of the best reviewed films of 2002,[3] and was nominated for and won several awards.[4] These included four Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction. Minority Report also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing. The film has a distinctive look, featuring desaturated colors which make it almost resemble a black-and-white film, yet the blacks and shadows have a high contrast, resembling a film noir picture.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

The film is set in Washington, D.C. in the year 2054. The film opens as Anderton (Cruise) and his team are in the midst of apprehending a suspect. In this sequence, it is revealed that the pre-cogs only relate the time/date of the murder, the murderer's name, and the victim's name. All other facts of the crime can only be ascertained by clues given by the various images relayed around the time of murder. Images transfer from the pre-cogs' minds to a computer display, where Anderton manipulates the images in a manner similar to a virtual reality interface to better determine how the murders might or will happen. Anderton is observed during this process by Danny Witwer (Farrell), an agent from the Department of Justice. Witwer is sent to evaluate the system because the country is about to vote on whether to expand the Pre-Crime program nationally.

Later that day Anderton goes to his apartment, where he watches home movies of his six-year old son. It becomes evident that his son is deceased, and that he is now divorced. The next morning, Witwer is given a tour of the pre-cogs' chamber. The pre-cogs are seen floating in a translucent substance, which a technician explains helps enhance the images that the pre-cogs produce. After the tour, Anderton stays behind, and the pre-cog Agatha (Morton) emerges from the pool. She draws Anderton's attention to the ceiling, which displays images of a woman being murdered. Intrigued by a murder which he's never seen, Anderton decides to investigate. He learns that the other pre-cogs' images are on record, but Agatha's recorded images are missing. He then conveys this information to Burgess (Von Sydow), who appears unconcerned.

Anderton then returns to the pre-crime offices and investigates a new case. A murder is to take place in 36 hours. The murderer is revealed to be Anderton himself. Believing that he is being set up since he doesn’t know the victim, Anderton takes it on the lam. He manages to escape Witwer and a team of pre-crime officers in a car factory and seeks refuge in the country home of a woman named Iris Hindeman, who was one of the pioneers of pre-crime. Hindeman reveals that the three pre-cogs do not always agree in their opinions about the future; when this happens, the dissenting opinion is left out. Thus, Anderton's only hope at proving his innocence is acquiring the hidden "minority report" from which the film takes its title.

Travelling undetected is difficult, since everyone is subjected to retina scans at all times. Therefore, Anderton visits a shady doctor (played by Peter Stormare) and receives an eye transplant. While sleeping to recover from the surgery he has a dream, where it is revealed that his son was abducted. He awakens to discover that the pre-crime team is investigating the building he is in. The team dispatches "spyders," robotic eye scanners, to the various rooms to find and ID Anderton. Anderton tries to hide but is scanned. The surgery proves successful and he is not identified as John Anderton. Later, he manages to reach the pre-crime offices. He takes Agatha out of the nutrient water—permanently disrupting the pre-cog hive mind that makes pre-crime work—and escapes again. Anderton then finds a hacker friend who accesses Agatha's vision of the murder. The vision is identical to the one Anderton intercepted himself.

Anderton then goes to Leo Crow’s apartment where Crow is not present. While searching the room, he finds a pile of photos of children, one of which is a photo of his son. Anderton suddenly comes to the realization that there is no minority report for himself, and that Leo Crow is responsible for kidnapping his son. Anderton had pre-planned this murder, a long standing wish to kill the previously anonymous person who took his son. Then, Crow enters his apartment and Anderton attacks him eliciting a confession. While this is going on, Agatha tries to convince Anderton that he does not have to kill Crow. Anderton reconsiders and reads Crow his Miranda rights. Crow then says that if Anderton doesn’t kill him, Crow’s family will get nothing: the entire murder was a set up. Crow then grabs Anderton’s gun to point it at his chest and manages a cop-assisted suicide by worrying Anderton's hand. Anderton and Agatha then leave the apartment.

Witwer and the pre-crime unit arrive and investigate the crime scene. Witwer sees the photos and becomes skeptical of what happened due to the "orgy of evidence". Witwer then meets with Burgess to discuss his doubts with him. He shows Burgess the Ann Lively pre-vision, but two different ones; one from Art and Dash taken from pre-crime, the other a minority report from Agatha. He shows Burgess that the two images have slight differences, such as water lapping in opposite directions. Witwer intuits that they were altered. Burgess interrupts this analysis with a bullet; since Agatha is with Anderton, pre-crime is not able to prevent Witwer's murder.

Anderton then hides in his ex-wife Lara’s house, while there he comes to realize that he was set-up because of his discovery of the Ann Lively murder. Lively is revealed to be Agatha's mother, and was killed because she wanted to re-unite with Agatha. The police then arrive and arrest Anderton. Later, Burgess accidentally reveals to Lara that he killed Ann Lively. Lara then releases Anderton from prison, and as Burgess is giving a speech, Anderton confronts him on his crime by showing everyone in attendance the Agatha pre-vision of Burgess killing Ann Lively. Burgess takes a gun and starts after Anderton; he eventually decides to commit suicide instead, as killing Anderton would undermine the program itself.

In the final sequence, Anderton narrates that pre-crime was shut down, all of the pre-criminals who were imprisoned by pre-crime were unconditionally pardoned and released, and the pre-cogs were taken to a secret location to live in seclusion. Anderton ends up reconciling with Lara who is now pregnant.

All spoilers have been stated and have ended here.


Tom Cruise - Chief John Anderton
Max von Sydow - Director Lamar Burgess
Colin Farrell - Danny Witwer
Steve Harris - Jad
Neal McDonough - Fletcher
Samantha Morton - Agatha
Lois Smith - Dr. Iris Hineman


The original story by Philip K. Dick was previously adapted as a potential sequel to Total Recall by writers Ronald Shusett and Gary Goldman (later joined by Robert Goethals).[5] The setting was changed to Mars with the pre-cogs being people mutated by the Martian atmosphere, as established in the first film. The main character was also changed to Douglas Quaid, the man played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.[5] The project eventually dissolved but the writers, who still owned the rights to the original story, rewrote the script, removing the elements from Total Recall. This script was eventually discarded when writer Jon Cohen was hired in 1997 to start the project over from the beginning.[5]

In 1998, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise joined Minority Report and announced its production, in a joint venture of 20th Century Fox, Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG, Cruise's Cruise-Wagner Productions and Jan de Bont's production company, Blue Tulip.[6] Production for Minority Report was delayed for several years. It was originally planned to begin filming after Cruise's Mission: Impossible II was finished,[6] but the film ran over schedule, which also allowed screenwriter Scott Frank to rework Cohen's script.[7] Then, after the death of Spielberg's friend Stanley Kubrick, Spielberg finished Kubrick's project A.I., postponing Minority Report,[8] that later started its shooting on March 22, 2001.[9] When Spielberg originally signed on to direct, he planned to have an entirely different supporting cast. He originally offered the role of Witwer to Matt Damon, Iris Hineman to Meryl Streep, Burgess to Ian McKellen and Agatha to Cate Blanchett and Jenna Elfman.[9] However owing to the delays, all the roles other than Cruise had to be recast.

In 1999, Spielberg invited fifteen experts convened by Global Business Network and its chairman, Peter Schwartz (and the demographer and journalist Joel Garreau),[10] to a hotel in Santa Monica, California to brainstorm and flesh out details of a possible "future reality" for the year 2054. The experts included Stewart Brand, Peter Calthorpe, Douglas Coupland, Neil Gershenfeld, biomedical researcher Shaun Jones, Jaron Lanier, and former MIT architecture dean William J. Mitchell.[11] While the discussions did not change key elements needed for the film's action sequences, they were influential in introducing some of the more utopian aspects of the film, though John Underkoffler, the science and technology advisor for the film, described the film as "much grayer and more ambiguous" than what we envisioned in 1999.[12]


&nbsp The main theme of Minority Report is the classical philosophical question of free will vs. determinism.[13][14] One of the main questions the film raises is whether the future is set or whether free will can alter the future.[15] As critic C.A. Wolski commented, "At the outset, Minority Report... promises to mine some deep subject matter, to wit do we possess free will or are we predestined to our fate?"[13] However, there is also the added question of whether the pre-cogs visions are correct.[15] As James Berardinelli commented in his review of the film "is the Precogs' vision accurate, or has it in some way been tampered with? Perhaps Anderton isn't actually going to kill, but has been set up by a clever and knowledgeable criminal who wants him out of the way."[15] The pre-cog Agatha also states that since Anderton knows his future, he can change it. However, the film also indicates that Anderton's knowledge of the future may actually be the factor that causes Leo Crow's death. Berardinelli describes this as the main paradox regarding free will vs. determinism in the film,[15] "[h]ere's the biggest one of all: Is it possible that the act of accusing someone of a murder could begin a chain of events that leads to the slaying. In Anderton's situation, he runs because he is accused. The only reason he ends up in circumstances where he might be forced to kill is because he is a hunted man. Take away the accusation, and there would be no question of him committing a criminal act. The prediction drives the act - a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can see the vicious circle, and it's delicious (if a little maddening) to ponder."[15] Most critics gave this element of the film positive reviews,[16] with many ranking it as the main strength of the film.[14][15][17] Other reviewers however, felt that Spielberg did not adequately deal with the issues that he raised.[13][18]


Minority Report is a futuristic film which portrays both elements of a dystopian and utopian future. The film renders a much more detailed view of a near-term future world than that present in the original short story, with depictions of a number of technologies related to the film's themes.

From a stylistic standpoint, Minority Report resembles A.I., (its immediate Spielberg-directed predecessor) more than the much earlier E.T..[19] The picture was deliberately overlit, and the negative was bleach-bypassed during post-production.[20] This gave the film a distinctive look, with colors severely desaturated, almost to the point where the film looked like a black-and-white film, yet the blacks and shadows have a high contrast, looking almost like a film noir picture.[20] Elvis Mitchell, formerly of the The New York Times, commented that, "[t]he picture looks as if it were shot on chrome, caught on the fleeing bumper of a late 70's car."[21] This distinctive look is the first major stylistic shift in science fiction films since Blade Runner and the "used future" look of Alien, and has subsequently influenced cinematography and production design in the same way that those earlier pictures influenced the look of the science fiction films of the 1980s and 1990s.


Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 (commonly known as the Unfinished Symphony) features prominently in the film. The score itself was composed and conducted by John Williams and orchestrated by John Neufeld, with vocals by Deborah Dietrich. The soundtrack takes much inspiration from Bernard Hermann's work.[22]

Storyline differences

Minority Report had many adaptations in its film transition, such as the addition of Lamar Burgess and changing of the setting from New York City to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. To fit its portrayer and the action scenes, John Anderton was turned from old, balding, and out-of-shape to an athletic officer in his 40s.[19] The pre-cogs were turned from the mental retarded and deformed to descendants of drug addicts. Anderton's future murder and reasons of the conspiracy were changed from a general who wants to descredit Pre-Crime in order to get more military financing back, to a man who was hired to be murdered and show that the system never fails, and also prevent Anderton from discovering a murder his superior committed years ago.[citation needed] Other aspects were updated to include current technology. For instance in the story, Anderton uses a punch card machine to interpretate the pre-cogs visions; in the movie, he uses a virtual reality interface.[23]


The film received highly positive reviews, being considered "an intelligent and visually imaginative film that ranks among Spielberg's best"[24] and gathering high scores in review tallying websites: 92% on Rotten Tomatoes[25] and 80 out of a possible 100 in Metacritic.[26] Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and listed it as the best film of 2002. In his review he described it as "...a triumph--a film that works on our minds and our emotions."[17] Some criticisms were also raised—Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine felt that "the script raises moral questions it doesn't probe"[18] and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times considered the plot "too intricate and difficult to follow."[27] The film debuted at first place in the U.S. box office, with $35.670 million[28] and collected $123 million in the United States and $226 million overseas.[1] It was also successful in the home video market, selling at least four million copies in its first few months of release on DVD.[2]

The film earned nominations for many awards, including Best Sound Editing in the Academy Awards and Best Visual Effects in the BAFTA. Among the awards won were four Saturn Awards (Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Samantha Morton), the BMI Film Music Award, the OFCS Award for Supporting Actress and the Empire Awards for Actor, Director and British Actress.[4]

See also

  • Inchoate offense
  • Able Danger, a Data mining program intended to predict crime.
  • Minority Report: Everybody Runs, a video game based on the movie


  1. 1.0 1.1 Minority Report box office reports. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Home Video (DVD & VHS) Out Sells Feature Films, Video Games and Movies in 2002. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  3. Best of 2002. Retrieved on 2007-02-12.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Minority Report nominations and awards. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Koornick, Jason (July 2002). The Minority Report on ‘Minority Report’: A Conversation with Gary Goldman. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
  6. 6.0 6.1 D'Works, Fox do Spielberg-Cruise 'Report'. Variety (1998-12-11). Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  7. Chat with Scott Frank. Screenwriters Utopia (2001-12-06). Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  8. "Spielberg to wrap Kubrick project", BBC, 2000-03-15. Retrieved on 2007-03-24. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Minority Report (2002). Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  10. Garreau, Joel. "Washington As Seen in Hollywood's Crystal Ball", Washington Post, 2002-06-21. Retrieved on 2007-02-21. 
  11. Citation.
  12. Clarke, Darren J. (2002-06-17). MIT grad directs Spielberg in the science of moviemaking. Retrieved on 2007-02-12.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Wolski, C.A. (2002-06-21). Minority Report box office reports. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ratskiwatski, Ignatz. Minority Report. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Berardinelli, James. Minority Report. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  16. Minority Report (2002) Info & Tidbits on Minority Report. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ebert, Roger (2002-06-21). Minority Report review. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 2007-02-12.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Travers, Peter (2002-06-18). Minority Report review. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2007-03-12.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Minority Report. (May 31, 2002). Retrieved on 2007-05-21.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Jocobson, Colin (2002-12-11). Minority Report review. Retrieved on 2007-03-12.
  21. Mitchell, Elvis. "Halting Crime In Advance Has Its Perils", The New York Times, 2002-06-21. Retrieved on 2007-03-12. 
  22. Minority Report soundtrack review. Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  23. "Future shock: Steven Spielberg's Minority Report is in. Find out how it will make you a better person. - movie review", Film Comment, July–August 2002. Retrieved on 2007-05-21. 
  24. Info & Tidbits On Minority Report. Retrieved on 2007-03-14.
  25. Minority Report reviews. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
  26. Minority Report entry. Retrieved on 2007-03-14.
  27. Turan, Kenneth (2002-06-21). A Walk in the Dark. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  28. Weekend Box Office, June 21–23, 2002. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2007-03-24.

External links