Armageddon - The Last Judgment

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German title Armageddon - The Last Judgment
Original title Armageddon
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1998
length 151 minutes
Director's Cut : 153 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Michael Bay
script Jonathan Hensleigh
J. J. Abrams
production Jerry Bruckheimer
Gale Anne Hurd
Michael Bay
music Trevor Rabin
Harry Gregson-Williams
camera John Schwartzman
cut Chris Lebenzon
Mark Goldblatt
Glen Scantlebury

Armageddon - The Last Judgment (Original title: Armageddon ) is an American disaster film by Michael Bay from 1998, in which a group of drilling specialists must avert the destruction of mankind by an asteroid approaching from space. The main roles are played by Bruce Willis , Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler . The title of the film refers to the biblical term Armageddon . The budget was 140 million US dollars .


A hobby astronomer discovers an asteroid with a diameter of approx. 1000 km that is heading straight for Earth . Should the celestial body, roughly the size of the US state of Texas , hit the earth, the impact of the impact would wipe out any life on it. The NASA and her boss Dan Truman stay 18 days to find a solution for this problem to be found. The only way to save Earth from this disaster is to blow up the asteroid from within. To do this, a drilling team must fly to him and drill a hole around 250 meters deep in order to then detonate a nuclear explosive device.

Truman can win oil drilling expert Harry Stamper for this daring venture. However, he only wants to work with his own men. So the oil drilling workers are trained to become astronauts in a crash course and divided into two teams. The first crew is led by Harry Stamper and flies in the space shuttle Freedom , the second crew in the shuttle Independence leads AJ Frost, Stamper's foster son and fiance of his daughter Grace.

First, the two space shuttles fly to the Russian Mir space station to refuel with liquid oxygen from the only member of the crew, the cosmonaut Lev Andropov. Due to the poor condition of the station, an explosion occurs during refueling, as a result of which the entire space station is destroyed. However, the crew can flee in time and remains unharmed, as does Andropov, who can save himself on the Independence .

The space shuttles make their way to the moon in order to exploit its gravity for a swing-by maneuver and to get to the asteroid. When approaching the asteroid, the Independence is hit by flying rocks and crashes. Only AJ, Andropov, and Bear survive while Oscar, Freddy, and the pilots perish. The Freedom succeeds in landing on the asteroid, but it misses its landing target. The survivors of Independence set out for Freedom with their drill vehicle . The drilling work there is progressing more slowly than expected. Since radio contact with earth threatens to break off, the US government decides to detonate the atomic bomb remotely. The Protest Stampers encountered resistance from the shuttle pilot Sharp, but he was finally convinced and defused the bomb. When the drill head hits a gas bubble and triggers a quake on the asteroid, the exploding drill vehicle is thrown into space, killing Max as well. The entire mission threatens to fail, but a short time later AJ and the other survivors of Independence arrive at the drilling site with the second drilling vehicle, and the project can be continued. Radio contact with NASA is also being restored via satellites from various countries.

When the hole is finally deep enough, the astronauts notice that the time fuse has stopped working. The bomb has to be detonated by hand and the person concerned is identified by pulling a stick. The lot falls on AJ Frost. As he sets off, he is tricked by Stamper who wants to save AJ and instead sacrifice himself. While the remaining crew members leave the asteroid with the Freedom , Stamper prepares for death. In the last few moments before he presses the shutter button, he thinks of his daughter Grace. The bomb detonates in an explosion that is also visible from Earth and splits the asteroid in two. While the two halves of the asteroid miss the planet, the survivors fly back as heroes. A. J. and Grace get married in the presence of the surviving crew members; For Harry and the other victims of the mission, chairs with their portraits are kept free at the wedding ceremony.

Cast and dubbing

Role name actor Voice actor Spaceship / organization task
Harry Stamper Bruce Willis Manfred Lehmann Freedom Freedom Drilling Team Leader - Dies manually detonating the bomb that destroyed the asteroid
AJ Frost Ben Affleck Peter Flechtner Independence Head of the drilling team and operator of the Independence Armadillo
Charles "Chick" Chapple Will Patton Peter Reinhardt Freedom Freedom drilling team
Rockhound Steve Buscemi Santiago Ziesmer Freedom Geologist with the Freedom drilling team
Oscar Choi Owen Wilson Stefan Fredrich Independence Geologist for the Independence drilling team - dies when the Independence crashes on the asteroid
Max Lennert Ken Hudson Campbell Michael Walke Freedom Freedom Armadillo Operator - Dies while working on the asteroid when the Armadillo explodes
Freddy Noonan Clark Heathcliffe Brolly Thomas Wolff Independence Independence drilling team - dies when Independence crashes on the asteroid
Jayotis "Bear" Kurleenbear Michael Clarke Duncan Tilo Schmitz Independence Independence drilling team
Chief Master Sergeant Gruber Grayson McCouch Gerald Paradise Freedom Freedom Drilling Team Weapon Systems Technician - Dies while working on the asteroid
First Lieutenant Halsey, USAF Greg Collins Frank Hildebrandt Independence Weapons system officer of the Independence drilling team - dies when the Independence crashes on the asteroid
Colonel William Sharp, USAF William Fichtner Udo Schenk Freedom Commander and pilot of the Freedom
Captain Jennifer Watts, USAF Jessica Steen Martina Treger Freedom Copilot in the Freedom
Colonel Davis, USAF Marshall R. Teague Frank Ciazynski Independence Commander and Pilot of Independence - Dies when Independence crashes on the asteroid
Captain Tucker, USAF Anthony Guidera Jörg Hengstler Independence Copilot of Independence - Dies when Independence crashes on the asteroid
Dan Truman Billy Bob Thornton Till Hagen NASA NASA director
Colonel Lev Andropov, Russian space force Peter Stormare Klaus-Dieter Klebsch Mir Roskomos space station Russian cosmonaut and commander of the Mir space station - saved himself from the Mir explosion on Independence
Grace Stamper Liv Tyler Nana Spier Daughter of Harry Stamper and accountant for his drilling company
General Kimsey, USAF Keith David United States Space Command Representative of the United Joint Chiefs of Staff at NASA
Dr. Ronald Quincy Jason Issac NASA Director of Research at NASA
Clark Chris Ellis NASA Flight Director of the drilling project at NASA


Director Michael Bay during filming in Spring 1998 at Edwards Air Force Base

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay, who had already worked together on The Rock , planned to start a new action project together in 1996. The four screenwriters noted in the credits, Jonathan Hensleigh, JJ Abrams, Shane Salerno and Tony Gilroy, were not the only ones who participated in the script. The unusually high number of screenwriters earned the film criticism. It was even mocked that they had special authors for different subjects such as humorous or emotional scenes. After the script was ready after eight weeks, it was revised by Shane Salerno. The crew also received support from NASA, which provided a project specialist and an astronaut as a consultant.

Filming began on 27 August 1997 in the Badlands of Kadoka in South Dakota . However, the take-offs of two space shuttles ( Atlantis and Columbia ) were filmed as early as April and May . Further filming took place in October 1997 at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Texas, also at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at Edwards Air Force Base , at oil companies in California and on an oil rig off Texas. The last stone fell on February 18, 1998 in St. Brendan's Church in Los Angeles.


The Armageddon theme comes from the pen of Trevor Rabin . The title song I Don't Want to Miss a Thing comes from Aerosmith , the band around singer Steven Tyler , the father of Liv Tyler. The cast of Liv Tyler was the reason for the engagement that U2 were actually planned for. The song went straight to number 1 on the US Billboard charts and stayed at the top for four weeks in September 1998. It was Aerosmith's first number one hit in the band's 25-year history. The song was not written by the band themselves, but by Diane Warren . The recordings of the first title song by Aerosmith for a feature film took place over three days in the studios of the Hit Factory in New York , for which they interrupted their Nine Lives World Tour . The title is an orchestral piece for 52 instruments conducted by Susie Katayama, who took a day off from her Eric Clapton tour to work on the title.

The soundtrack includes the theme and four Aerosmith songs and the like. a. still titles from ZZ Top , Bob Seger and Jon Bon Jovi . The latter actually wanted to use the song Save The World , which later appeared on the album Crush , for the film, but saw it as obsolete because of the Aerosmith ballad. Therefore, he contributed to the background music of the film with the song Mister Big Time , which was created in collaboration with Aldo Nova .

Reception and aftermath

Left to right: Peter Stormare, Michael Bay (Director), Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Ken Campbell, Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Jerry Bruckheimer (Producer), Jessica Steen

Start-up dates and box office results

At the Cannes Film Festival in May 1998, a 50-minute compilation of the unfinished production was shown. A few involuntarily comical or overly pathetic scenes caused amusement among the specialist audience present. The leading actor Bruce Willis, who was also present, then said: "How nice that you discovered the funny aspects of the script."

Armageddon premiered in the United States and Canada on July 1, 1998 . On the same day a novel edition of the film by Cathy East Dubowski and MC Bolin was published by Hyperion Books. The first European countries to see the film were the Netherlands and Sweden as of July 9th . In Germany ran Armageddon on July 16, in Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland the next day. In the French-speaking part of Switzerland he was seen on July 15th.

On the first weekend, Armageddon grossed 36 million US dollars in the United States, which fell short of expectations compared to films of the same type as Deep Impact or Independence Day . The fears that the film might fail did not come true. In the United States alone, nearly 43 million people saw the film, generating revenues of $ 201.6 million. In the rest of the world, another $ 352.1 million was added. In Germany, 5.3 million people saw the film, in Austria almost 550,000 and in Switzerland 241,500. Armageddon was the most commercially successful film in 1998 with total box office earnings of around $ 553.7 million , leaving films like Saving Private Ryan and Godzilla behind.

On January 5, 1999, Armageddon was released on DVD by Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group in North America and other US territories. In Europe, Armageddon was released on DVD and VHS in early March 1999. The Swiss broadcaster SF2 was the first German-speaking broadcaster to show the film on free TV on March 5, 2001. The broadcasters RTL and ORF 1 both showed the film on April 15, 2001. The following day, RTL showed a repeat of the film in the afternoon, which is why some cuts were made. When the film was shown on the British channel 5 in March 2002 , a scene had previously been cut out in which the destroyed New York could be seen in full view. In the American TV version, a five-second scene in which the World Trade Center is on fire was removed . Another scene that included the World Trade Center was cut.


Since Deep Impact , a disaster film with a similar plot, was already released in theaters in May, Armageddon was often compared to this film. Most found Michael Bay's film to be the better, like Wolfgang Hübner from the German AP , who judged that Armageddon was "a class better, harder, more spectacular in almost every respect" . The exception was Cinema magazine, which Armageddon called "the downside of Deep Impact" . In the eyes of Deseret News journalist Jeff Vice, however, none of the films convinced: “Where Deep Impact tries to be a reasonably thoughtful science fiction thriller, Armageddon tries to be much more exciting. Ironically, no one succeeds. "

The top-class cast was praised. The criticism of the superficial characters was mostly passed on to the bad script. Peter Travers was outraged in Rolling Stone , for example : "[...] Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Will Patton, the great Steve Buscemi - are wasting their talent on a fat paycheck." Especially the role of Bruce Willis as oil drill boss Harry Stamper, that of various critics as the Robert Duvall role, caused irritation. Bob Graham wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that it was a shame what happened to him. Audiences love Willis for his shrewdness, but " Bruce Willis cries in Armageddon !"

The critics found the errors in the content to be the most serious, especially with regard to the laws of physics and the cliché images presented. Roger Ebert wondered if a chunk of asteroid the size of Dallas or the size of Wal-Mart outside Abilene would be enough to destroy the earth. He also doubted that the asteroid's low gravity would be enough to allow the astronauts to walk around like on Earth. The expiring clock on the nuclear explosive device and the question of whether one had to cut the blue or the red wire to defuse it led him to the conclusion that “the few 'dramatic' scenes consisted of sonorous references to old clichés” . In addition to such inconsistencies in content, the fact that only the USA would do something about the impending doom caused confusion. Jack Garner wrote in the Democrat and Chronicle : “Why is the space shuttle armed with guns? How can it take off horizontally if there is no hint of a runway? And why do the heroes have to be male, all but one white and American? ” The rest of the races would be portrayed as poor, socially disadvantaged, incompetent and timid people from Europe, Asia and Africa who would pray for the“ Yanks ”. The film service said about this problem, the "USA legitimize itself once more as a world police that ensures the human species a survival." David Sterritt wrote about the film, one hopes "the asteroid may land on the cinema in which one is sees the film. "

In the commentary on the DVD, actor Ben Affleck later told how he once asked director Bay why it was easier to retrain drilling experts to become astronauts instead of teaching astronauts to drill a hole. Bay should then “ Shut the fuck up! “( Shut the fuck up! ) Answered.

The main advantages of Armageddon are the special effects. According to Wolfgang Hübner, it was "possible to make the desperate actions on the asteroid believable with sensational trick technology" and the film is "not to be criticized, but to be admired." The film scholar Jeanine Basinger, who teaches at Wesleyan University , and director Michael Bay taught, described the film as a "work of art" and Michael Bay as an "innovative artist who was a master of movement, light, color and form" . She credits the film with the fact that precisely because of its speed, it never gets boring. She “sees it as an epic version of the old Warner Brothers films about men of the working class who have to upshift and save a situation with their courage.” That is why he stands in the tradition of Raoul Walsh's Hearts on Flames (1941) and Alfred E. Greens The ultimatum for derrick L 9 .


At the Oscar ceremony in 1999 was Armageddon nominated in four categories, but won no Oscars. The film was defeated by Steven Spielberg's war film Saving Private Ryan in the categories of Best Sound and Editing . The Oscar for visual effects went to Beyond the Horizon . The group Aerosmith was nominated in the category Best Theme Song , but it was defeated by the song "When You Believe" composed by Stephen Schwartz from the animated film The Prince of Egypt .

The Saturn Awards was Armageddon nominated in seven categories. The main actor (Willis), supporting actor (Affleck), costumes, music and special effects were left empty-handed, but the film was still able to score two awards: Michael Bay was named Best Director and the film won in the Best Science category. Fiction film - albeit together with the film Dark City by Alex Proyas . Armageddon also received two MTV Movie Awards and the German Bogey Award .

Bruce Willis was awarded the Golden Raspberry negative award for Worst Leading Actor in Armageddon , The Mercury Puzzle, and State of Emergency. Armageddon was also nominated for Worst Picture , Worst Screen Couple (Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler), Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler), Worst Director , Worst Screenplay, and Worst Song .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. SWR3 Daily Pop: September 5, 1998 - Aerosmith have their first # 1 hit ( Memento from September 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Alex Gernandt: Bon Jovi , 2nd edition, Goldmann, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-42851-3 , page 260
  3. ^ Siegfried Tesche: The comet spectacle was almost a disaster. Rhein-Zeitung , accessed on November 20, 2019 . ( Paywall )
  4. Release dates for Armageddon. Internet Movie Database , accessed August 11, 2012 .
  5. ^ Box office / business for Armageddon. Internet Movie Database , accessed August 11, 2012 .
  6. ^ Box office / business for Deep Impact. Internet Movie Database , accessed August 11, 2012 .
  7. ^ Box office / business for Independence Day. Internet Movie Database , accessed August 11, 2012 .
  8. a b The most successful films of 1998
  9. Visitor numbers in Europe
  10. DVD details for Armageddon. Internet Movie Database , archived from the original on April 18, 2006 ; accessed on August 11, 2012 .
  11. German-language TV premieres and cut versions on
  12. Alternate versions for Armageddon. Internet Movie Database , accessed August 11, 2012 .
  13. a b Wolfgang Hübner: Rapid action spectacle surpasses 'Deep Impact' , AP, 7/1998
  14. ARMAGEDDON - THE LAST COURT Cinema . Accessed January 31, 2018.
  15. Jeff Vice: Armageddon , Deseret News, July 2, 1998
  16. Peter Travers: Armageddon , Rolling Stone, December 18, 2000
  17. Bob Graham: Space Junk , San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 1998
  18. ^ Roger Ebert: Armageddon , Chicago Sun Times, July 1, 1998
  19. Jack Garner: What a disaster: Second interstellar thriller has big names but little impact , Democrat and Chronicle, July 1, 1997 (sic!)
  20. film service 15/1998
  21. ^ David Sterritt, 'Armageddon': The countdown to catastrophe , The Christian Science Monitor, July 2, 1998
  22. ^ Jeanine Basinger: Armageddon