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Film / Minority Report

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What a nice display!note 
Dr. Iris Hineman: Most of the time, all three precognitives will see things the same way but once in a while one of them will see things differently than the others.
John Anderton: Jesus Christ, why didn't I know about this?
Dr. Hineman: Because these "minority reports" are destroyed the instant they occur.

Minority Report is a 2002 Post-Cyberpunk neo-noir science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg starring Tom Cruise, loosely based on the 1956 Philip K. Dick short story "The Minority Report".

Set in Washington, D.C. and Virginia in the year 2054, the film centers around a new and experimental branch of the police, the "Precrime Division", which tracks murders about to happen with the aid of three precognitive psychics who can see the future in limited flashes. Things start to get tricky when one of the chief Precrime officers, John Anderton (Cruise) gets flagged by the precogs as a future murderer. Now, he is forced to evade his own fellow officers as he tries to figure out why he would want to murder a man he's never even heard of yet...

Often hailed as one of both Spielberg's and Cruise's most successful films, not only raking in more than three times its hundred-million-dollar budget worldwide, but also scoring near-universal acclaim from critics. Roger Ebert even gave it the honor of "the best film of 2002".


A tie-in videogame based on the movie was released in the same year, Minority Report: Everybody Runs.

In fall of 2015 it was made into a television show on Fox. The series follows Dashiell ten years after the end of the film as he continues to use his gift to help people on his own, though he has little success until he partners with a detective that can put his visions to use. See tropes for the series here.


This movie contains examples of:

  • 6 Is 9: John Anderton gets Crow's hotel room wrong due to the numeral 9 on the door having a screw loose.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Released in 2002, set in 2054.
  • Action Prologue: The opening sequence is designed to demonstrate the process of how a typical Precrime case is investigated and solved.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • The first two lines of the short story are: "'I'm getting bald', Anderton thought. 'Bald and fat and old.'" Tom Cruise is many things but none of these.
    • Additionally, the precogs looked rather more unearthly in the film. In the short story, they were described as mutated Talkative Loons who look like ten-year-olds with swollen heads and atrophied limbs, whose babblings were translated by computer into prophecies. Here, their appearances are decent enough, excluding their mildly pale complexions.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original short story was quite short and focused on the core premise and the paradoxes caused by seeing the future. The film adds additional backstory, more fleshed-out character, more world-building and a more complex plot.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The event that kicks the plot off — Anderton's future murder — is explained as a paradox in the book. The three Precogs usually produce fairly similar visions, which is then averaged by computer modeling, but occasionally, one will have a vision distinct from the other two, usually due to the murderer's likelihood of actually committing the murder - the titular "Minority Report." If the minority report is not a murder, then the average is that the subject will commit a murder. If the minority report is a murder, then the average is that the subject will not commit a murder. In the end it is discovered that Anderton has three Minority Reports - all three Precogs saw wildly different futures. One Precog saw the future where he commits a murder, one saw a future where he does not, and the third saw a future based on decisions he makes upon seeing the other two reports yet commits the murder anyway. The two "murder" futures averaged to a "murder" prediction, but such a thing could only occur to the director of Precrime, as he is the only one who could choose to view the individual reports instead of the average assembled by computer modeling. This absolute Mind Screw is missing from the film in favor of a simpler plot; Anderton accidentally awakens a precog, who shows him a vision of her mother's murder - which was arranged by the Big Bad. Anderton retrieves the vision and shows it to the Big Bad - who then decides Anderton Knows Too Much, and hires a junkie to confess to the murder of Anderton's son, the one thing that would drive Anderton to murder.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Precogs went from regular names - Mike, Donna, and Jerry - to Named After Somebody Famous (Arthur, Agatha and Dashiell - see Shout-Out below).
  • Adaptational Villainy: The System of Precrime becomes much more villainous in the film. While in the original short story it was criticized as arresting people that technically hadn't done anything, the film runs with that. Precrime is much more fallible in the film than in the story, and it's not as widely accepted. Characters like the precogs in the story couldn't function outside of the chamber they'd been placed in, while the precogs in the movie can and they're treated more like victims of the system. Furthermore, Precrime is a much more noble endeavor in the short story while in the movie we learn the system was founded by lies and murder. The short story had Anderton saving Precrime from a smear whilst in the movie Anderton takes down Precrime for good.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Anderton losing his son in the few seconds he looks away...
    • Anne Lively's daughter was more or less taken from her by the government and horribly experimented on. Admittedly she was at the time a junkie unfit to care for a child. The real horror comes from after she cleaned up and wanted her child back. Burgess kills her in order to keep Precrime going.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Walking down the street has become a hyperstimulating nightmare, as talking holographic advertisements use retinal scans to sell directly to you. Constantly. Danny Witwer even lampshades the Fridge Horrorinvoked of this, noting that Anderton will head for an underdeveloped area with fewer billboards to "pick his pockets" - and, it is implied, notify the Cops of where exactly he is.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Comes with an Idiot Ball! Witwer didn't seem to connect the dots until he was already in the room alone with Burgess.
  • And I Must Scream: Daily life for the precogs: watching murders again and again while being drugged. When Agatha finally gets a chance to scream she promptly does so.
  • Apologetic Attacker: John goes out of his way to ensure the safety of the officers trying to arrest him. When he disconnects one of them from their jetpack (from a fire-escape several stories up), he grabs him and makes sure he has a grip on the ledge before continuing to make his escape.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Can you see?"
    • Related, there are quite a few bits of dialog mentioning "eyes" in some context.
  • Artistic License – Calendar: The nationwide Precrime referendum is stated to be taking place on Tuesday, April 22. April 22, 2054 which in real life is actually going to be a Wednesday.
  • Artistic License – Law: Assuming that no major changes to the United States Constitution or legal system have happened by 2054, the movie takes considerable liberties:
  • Automated Automobiles: The Maglev system. Unfortunately for Anderton, the police can redirect them at any time.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: A sci-fi variant outside a morgue but the message stays the same: these guys have Seen It All.
    • Anderton's assistant Jad snacks on a pastry while watching Anderton analysing footage from the scissor crime scene.
    • Gideon at cold storage makes himself fried eggs after having watched footage of Anne Lively's murder.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Jet Packs. They allow the officers independent flight, they've been engineered so that their wearers aren't caught on fire, and they're useful for covering lots of ground. The packs are also a huge liability in a fight. First off, the inertia can really work against the pilots, as they need to control their ascent and direction so when they're struck hard enough, their body can shift and propel them off and out of control. Second, they need to constantly control their packs, and using two hands in a fight can put them at a control disadvantage. Third, tight spaces are obviously going to be a problem, because flying around in an enclosure (like a small apartment room) is going to mess one up.
    • Also when the Precops enter through the Marks' house skylight. Sure, it makes for a cool action shot, but they couldn't have just gone in through the front door?
  • Babies Ever After: At the end when Anderton gently touches the belly of his newly pregnant wife.
  • Batman Cold Open: Anderton and the Precrime Division arrest a man who was about to kill his wife and her lover. Also uses Danny Witwer as the Audience Surrogate during the scene to ask how everything works, getting the audience familiar with the process.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why the Precog caretaker gives Anderton a Mercy Lead to escape the facility before sounding the alarm.
  • Behind the Black: When Anderton exits his car and climbs onto the roof, he should have seen the street dropping ahead but acts completely surprised when it happens.
  • Berserk Button: Anderton explicitly confirms that Burgess knew that the fate of his son was the one thing that could drive Anderton to commit murder.
  • The Big Board: The Holographic Terminal is a slightly disorganized version of this - the information comes in from the Precogs all at once and the elements need to be selected and inspected individually for proper understanding.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The extent to which the government surveys, invades the privacy of and lies to American citizens in this film borders on the authoritarian. Amongst other things, the police have drones that are allowed to invade homes unquestioned and they can redirect cars at any time.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Directly invoked every time Precrime officers (or "Precops") prevent a murder. This trope is their job.
  • Big "NO!": Agatha, when Crow got killed anyway despite Anderton not actually doing it quite as predicted.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Let's just say the Back-Alley Doctor is NOT very kind to his partner, who in turn is really creepy in a pervy way. When he summons her, he is saying, "Greta, get the hell out of there, wipe your ass, hurry up!"
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The fate of Anderton's missing son remains unknown and is believed to be dead, Precrime gets shut down and murders presumably go up again, but the precogs are free to live their lives peacefully while Anderton and Lara get back together with another baby on the way.
    • May also be a Downer Ending depending on your interpretationinvoked.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: The precogs are the children of "Neuroin" (Neurological heroin) addicts.
  • Black Comedy: Most of what Solomon says. Additionally, there's an amusing moment when Burgess has just murdered Witwer and receives a call from Lana telling him that Anderton is at her cottage. She asks Burgess not to tell Witwer, upon which Burgess glances at Witwer's body and replies "I won't say a word."
  • Black Helicopter: The jump jets used by the police.
  • Blatant Lies: The Precrime tour guide has a, shall we say, rather idealized story of Precog life to tell the kiddies.
  • Blind Mistake: Tom Cruise's character is recovering from eye replacement surgery and eats the nasty rotting sandwich instead of the freshly made one sitting right below it. And then washes it down with sour milk, which is right by the fresh bottle.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: Oddball junkie Lycon tells John that retinal scanning can be subverted by those that can afford eyeball transplants. Lycon is sightless, and he removes his opaque glasses to reveal empty eye sockets while delivering the line:
    Lycon: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Used to creepy effect in the Batman Cold Open.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The scene in which Anderton accidentally drops his original eyeballs on a sloped floor and has to chase after them might as well have "Yakety Sax" playing over it, or better yet.
  • Blunt "Yes": When Anderton asks Hineman if she is serious about the idea of him walking back into Precrime, downloading his minority report and walking out again, her answer is a simple yes, adding that he probably will have to run out.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes are absolutely everywhere. The identification system in D.C. is based on retinal scanners. An important character is called "Iris", and another minor character is named "van Eyck". Names of victims and perpetrators are carved into wooden balls which resemble eyes. The Arc Words of the film are "Can you see?" And so on and so forth.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass:
    • Retinal scanners are everywhere. Solution: eyeball transplant. Played with in that the intent isn't to use them to get through security, but evade it by appearing to be someone else.
    • Played straight at the end of the film, where John's removed eyes are used to access the Precrime holding cells. Apparently no one bothers to revoke your access even if you're accused of murder.
  • Brown Note: One of the more interesting less-lethal options available to the Precrime cops is the Sick-Stick, a collapsible baton that induces violent vomiting in the target.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: The death of Burgess. Covered in Morton's Fork.
  • The Cameo: Cameron Crowe makes a brief, but noticeable appearance on-board the metro as a guy who recognizes Anderton in a newspaper while sitting directly across from him. Also, a Freeze-Frame Bonus will show the woman sitting behind Crowe is Cameron Diaz. The two of them had worked with Cruise in his previous film, Vanilla Sky.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: When preparing for the ceremony, Burgess has trouble tying his bow tie and asks Anderson's wife for help. It leads to a pivotal I Never Said It Was Poison revelation.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Anderton and Fletcher, when the Precops have cornered him in an alleyway, take a moment to discuss Fletcher's rough landing due to a bad knee.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: When escaping through the mall, short-range precognition causes this.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The scissors used for the murder in the Batman Cold Open are seen earlier on in the hands of the son at the kitchen table.
    • Burgess' award is a literal example.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Anderton holding his breath.
    • Anderton was always a skilled runner.
  • Clear My Name: Anderton is out to clear his own when he is accused of a crime he has not yet committed.
  • *Click* Hello: There is no click, but Anderton's wife greats Gideon in cold storage by pressing the gun barrel against the back of his head.
  • Color Motif: The wood upon which a future murder's victim(s) and the perpetrator are laser-etched into correspond to the color of blood:
    • Spur-of-the-moment second-degree murders with no more than an hour to prevent are "red balls," analogous to fresh, still-wet blood
    • Premeditated first-degree murders with a four-day window to prevent are "brown balls," analogous to blood that's long since dried
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Burgess wears black gloves in Agatha's precog vision when he goes to meet Anne Lively.
  • Contortionist: A group of them portray yoga practitioners in this film, mainly to give a brief pause in the action.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: When Anderton finally gets access to Agatha's precognition of the murder of Anne Lively, the vision plays backwards and cuts out immediately before revealing who the killer is. Anderton ignores this because the would-be killer has already been arrested and incarcerated or so he thinks.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: The fight in the car factory.
  • Cool Car: The sweet-looking, sleek, deep red 2054 Lexus luxury car Anderton drives out of the factory.
  • Cool Guns: The Sonic Shotgun from the factory chase that fires a compressed shockwave burst(?) to knock down a target.
  • Cryo-Prison: Those arrested by the Precrime unit are placed in perpetual suspended animation as punishment.
  • Cyberpunk: Although it's more Post Cyber Punk in terms of visual appearance, it nevertheless involves the moral complexities of a new method in which Big Brother Is Watching You and one of its top enforcers finding out that the road to creating this method was paved with blood and lies, then getting pursued by his fellow policemen because someone manipulated this method to frame him for (future) murder.
  • Cyberspace: The cyber parlor "Dreamweaver" provides services for people to experience their own virtual fantasies. Everything from flying, sex, winning awards, and even murder.
    Rufus T. Riley: What's your pleasure? We got it all here. We got sports fantasies. We got what I like to call "Look Ma, I can fly" fantasies which encompasses everything from bungee jumping to soaring like an eagle over the Grand Canyon. We got guys coming in wanting to experience sex as a woman, we got women coming to get laid by their favorite soap stars or...just some good clean fun. (Mimicking moaning) Oh, oh, oh, oh yeah, ha ha. It's a big rush, but you come out the other side without a heart attack.
    Customer: I...wanna "kill my boss".
    Rufus: Uh huh, OK. You got some images I can work with?
  • A Deadly Affair: In the opening scene, Anderton foils an attempted murder by a man who caught his wife in the middle of an affair with another man, and tried to stab them both with a pair of scissors in the heat of passion. The man had suspected his wife was cheating on him for while and stayed behind to see if she actually was by claiming he "forgot his glasses on his way to work and returned home to get them".
    Howard Marks: You know how blind I am without them.
  • Decomposite Character: Characteristics of John Anderton from the original short story are divided into John Anderton of the film and Lamar Burgess. Movie John works for Precrime and is set up as a future murderer, while Lamar is the one who created Precrime this time and also had someone Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Subverted when Anderton tackles Howard as the latter is about to murder his wife, sending both of them flying at the bedroom window. They only make it partway through the window.
    • Played straight later with the death of Leo Crow.
  • Destructive Savior:
    • Precops are sometimes this, depending on the circumstance. For example, during the Marks case, John manages to prevent the murder, but then the rest of the team breaks into the house via the Soft Glass skylight, probably costing thousands in repair.
    • Their detection methods can be inconvenient and intrusive, like when the eye-dent "spyders" identify all tenants of an apartment building, making two little girls cry in terror and also interrupting one couple during sex. With John, they zap him because he's not complying, then pry open his eyelid for the scan.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Rufus apologizes for his dirty thoughts when he realizes that Agatha is a precog. Dirty thoughts involving his cousin.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Though given a bit more explanation than some examples; partway through the movie, Lara tells Witwer she thought of her dead son every time she saw her husband. Near the end, Agatha helps them come to terms with his death. They get back together and have another baby on the way.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The Washington Monument is visible from Anderton's apartment and in the showdown scene on the balcony.
  • Empathic Environment: It rains outside after Anderton finishes watching another bittersweet Happier Home Movie.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Just about everything modern in this society follows the Apple aesthetic, from white and shiny stores to the rounded designs of the cars and Spider Droids. The film's biggest distinguisher from the usual employment of this trope is using more blues and grays.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Danny Witwer sees the minority report about Anne Lively and realizes that someone got away with murder. He's explaining to Burgess how someone would have needed to see the prevision in order to fake it, probably someone fairly high up. However, at that moment, Burgess stops Danny's train of thought by mentioning that he can hear no one coming due to the Precogs being offline...and promptly shoots him.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The Precrime computers. Just don't pick your nose.
  • Eyeless Face: The dealer from whom Anderton buys his drugs. He possibly sold them to a Back-Alley Doctor.
  • Eye Scream: The movie in general has an eye theme going on. You can just imagine.
  • Facial Recognition Software: Used realistically here. For instance, in the opening sequence, the perpetrator is identified as 'Howard Marks', but with there being seven other people that have that same name, Anderton has to compare the driver's license photos with the images from the vision to isolate the specific one they want to capture.
  • Fainting: A female member in the audience faints when the projected precog footage reveals Burgess to be the murderer of Anne Lively.
    • That female member of the audience turns out to be Burgess' wife.
  • Fantastic Drug: "Neuroin", possibly a portmanteau of neuro (as in neurological or relating to brain function) and Heroin. Also referred to as "clarity" or "whiff."
  • Fantastic Legal Weirdness: Whether Precrime should even be legal is discussed early on: Witwer indicates that the ACLU considers the system unconstitutional since you're arresting people for crimes they haven't actually committed. Anderton counters that just because you stopped the suspect from committing the crime doesn't change that it would've happened.note  The opening sequence also takes pains to show two judges are monitoring the investigation and issuing the arrest warrant. Logically though, it would require at least one Constitutional amendment for this to be allowed. Not only that, but the precogs are more or less slaves, and the mass scans would also be quite illegal in our time.
  • Fantastic Noir: A neo-noir story set in a future world where cops stop a crime before it happens with the help of psychic clairvoyants.
  • Fast-Roping: The Precrime team in the opening scene roping off their hovercraft.
  • Film Noir: In interviews with Spielberg he described the film as being very much within the noir (or perhaps neo-noir) tradition, and during the pre-production phase he sat down with many classic noirs (among them The Maltese Falcon and The Asphalt Jungle) for inspiration.
  • Flyaway Shot: The last shot is a zoom out from the cottage of the three precogs to an aerial shot of the island they are now living on.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "You ever get any false positives? Someone intends to kill his boss or his wife, but they never go through with it."
    • Gideon explains to Anderton that Anne Lively's murderer could not be identified due to his eyes coming from the black market. Guess what happens to Anderton later.
  • Frame-Up: Double subverted with Anderton, and played straight with Crow.
  • Fugitive Arc: Anderton goes on the lam, hoping to glean an important clue from the strongest precog, whose visions often include significant details that the two other clairvoyants miss and clear his name.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: MAGLEV (magnetic levitation) highways, loosely inspired by existing train lines in China. The highways are substantially different from those in the present day, allowing some cars to drive themselves, let law enforcement easily intercept cars harboring suspected criminals by changing the vehicle's travel route and destination, and (most notable of all) drive up vertical roads.
  • Garden of Evil: Dr. Iris Hineman's greenhouse full of deadly and curiously active plants.
  • A God I Am Not: Witwer notes that some people have begun to worship the precogs as godlike, divine creatures, but Anderton very pointedly insists that they are nothing of the kind. The precogs themselves, naturally, can express no opinion on the matter.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Witwer's headshot is conveniently obscured by the flaps of Burgress' trenchcoat.
  • GPS Evidence: Justified. The only exact details the PreCogs give are the identity of the victim and perpetrator and the exact time of death. The detecives have to analyze the audio-visual data in the PreCogs' visions and look for telltale clues to determine the exact location of the crime. Even more justified with the opening sequence, where Anderton has to use this trope to stop Howard Marks from committing two murders after learning that he's recently moved from his old address.
  • Gun Struggle: Leo Crow's death.
  • Gun Twirling: One of the Precrime primary sidearms is a Stun Gun that emits a knockback shockwave, but requires a recharge for every shot by rotating its flippable barrel. We see one cop reload it methodically with his free hand, but Anderton does this trope to rapidly flip the barrel hands-free, allowing him to fire blasts in quick succession.
  • Hand on Womb: Anderton touches his pregnant wife's belly in the closing scene.
  • Happier Home Movie: Anderton habitually watches hologram home movies from before his son was taken.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Anderton throws his police helmet away once he knows where to find the victim in the Batman Cold Open. The rest of the cops keep their helmets on.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: During the chase at the mall Agatha insists they stay out in the open while a SWAT team is about to survey the entire plaza. They use a large bunch of balloons and, soon after, an umbrella to avoid being caught.
  • Holographic Terminal: Precrime's gesture-based interface.
  • Home-Early Surprise: The opening sequence is with the precogs predicting a man who "forgets his glasses," and suspects his wife of cheating on him, coming back home on a pretense, catching her in bed with her lover, and stabbing them both to death with his son's scissors.
  • Hood Hopping: Anderton is hopping between car roofs when trying to get off the Futuristic Superhighway.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Precrime fighter Anderton becomes the target of his own department.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Albeit a somewhat justified one. Anderton learns that he's been predicted to go to a specific kind of building at a specific time to kill someone he's never met. The logical thing to do — which John himself even suggests at one point — would be to simply lay low until such time that the vision was rendered invalid, at worst proving that the Precogs' vision was wrong or, one could argue, was prevented because he himself chose to prevent it. If he had hung around in the crappy apartment where he got the eye transplant, he'd have been in the clear. As Witwer points out, however, Anderton won't just run and hide, "because he thinks he's innocent". Even when Agatha tries to persuade Anderton not to face his "destiny", Anderton won't, as he does not believe he could have committed a murder and is so driven to find out why he would do so. Anderton does end up not killing the guy intentionally, but it happens anyway thanks to a Gun Struggle.
    • Witwer learns that someone has possibly managed to "trick" Precrime with a faked vision, one that would require intimate knowledge of the system and access to secured files, severely limiting the possible suspects. He chooses to detail all of this to one of said suspects after handing the man a gun while the Precogs are currently unable to detect murders. His fate after that is pretty obvious.
  • Important Haircut: After getting arrested, all convicts are shaved before being put into stasis. When Anderton escapes prison at the end of the film, his head has been shaved.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Or drowning, in this case. Anderton's wife asks about Anne Lively's death, and Burgess pretends not to know about it but says he'll see if "anyone drowned a woman by the name of—what did you say her name was?". "Anne Lively... but I never said she drowned."
  • In Name Only: The short story has the exact opposite message, with Anderton willingly going away (to a much less dystopian sentence) to preserve an otherwise perfect system — the inaccurate precog reports, for paradox-related reasons, could only ever have happened to the guy who personally read them.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: When the Spyders comb a building for Anderton, they interrupt a couple having sex.
  • Inter Service Rivalry: Precrime is administered by the Metropolitan Police Department but subject to inspection by the federal Department of Justice.
    Anderton: I don't need some twink from the fed poking around. ... Just get him some coffee, tell him how I save your ass every day.
    Witwer: I got coffee, thanks. Danny Witwer, the twink from the fed.
  • In the Hood: Anderton goes jocking in the sprawl wearing a pullover hoodie. In the climax, he infiltrates the ceremony wearing the same hoodie to avoid being recognized.
  • Ironic Echo: The husband repeats the line from the earlier kitchen scene about being Blind Without 'Em before intending to commit double homicide.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The Back-Alley Doctor's nurse sings the Swedish nursery song Små grodorna ("Small frogs") with the original Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de ("no ears, no ears, no tails they have") replaced by Ej ögon, ej ögon ("no eyes they have").
  • Irony:
    • The use of Precogs to prevent crimes unintentionally causes a murder (and a Murder-Suicide and a suicide) to happen in the first place.
    • Burgess created a system that effectively eliminated homicide by killing someone to use their clairvoyant child in order to initiate that system.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Rufus won't cooperate until Anderton gets rough on him.
  • Jet Pack: Standard police issue, no less.
  • Jump Scare:
    • When Agatha grabs Anderton's arm in the Temple.
    • Also may qualify if you have your volume turned up when Lamar suddenly kills Danny Witwer.
  • Kill Him Already!: Inverted with Crow. Crow tells Anderton to kill him already so that his family can get the money he was promised.
  • Kitchen Chase: During his first police chase scene, John and another policeman burst into a kitchen.
  • Laser-Guided Broadcast: Street ads do retinal scans on passers-by and play holographic ads targeted at them. When a character gets a double-eye transplant he gets ads for the eyes' donor.
  • Lawman Baton: Sick-sticks, which have been updated with the ability to cause immediate emptying of stomach contents (which while messy, is a very effective means of incapacitation).
  • Lawman Gone Bad: The trope is both subverted and played straight. For a while, it seems as if John Anderton will become a murderer, since he's already abusing neuroin to cope with the death of his son. In fact, it's his boss, Lamar Burgess, who has been committing murders to validate the Precrime system.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point, an officer says they have 51 minutes and 28 seconds to stop Anderton from committing the murder. Since it occurs much sooner in the movie, this appears to be a reversal of the Magic Countdown trope, until one realizes that the time period mentioned was the exact amount of running time left in the movie.invoked
  • Logo Joke: The 20th Century Fox logo and other credits are filtered to look like they are underwater. This segues into Agatha in the PreCog tank predicting a murder.
  • Lost in a Crowd: The protagonist escapes by blending into a crowd of people with similar, if not identical, umbrella design when it's raining.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The containment cells are said to be this.
  • Mad Lib Thriller Title: A mondernized version without the "The".
  • Madness Mantra: Anderton starts repeating "Everybody runs" when the cops are circling in on him, as he's about to officially go fugitive.
  • Magic Floppy Disk: A very retro accessory on the otherwise very futuristic computers. This version is a thin, transparent disk that can display its contents (or at least a small header clip) without being plugged into anything.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: In order to instill a greater sense of urgency, Anderton not only plays the analyst of the crime scene footage, but he is also leading the SWAT team to the scene once discovered. In real life, it would have made more sense to keep those units separated.
  • Mechanical Insects: The Bureau of Precrime can send small, spiderlike drones into an apartment building to scan the retinas of its occupants. The little spider-bots typically swarm in by the hundreds, crawling up the bodies of many residents to scan their retinas for identification. Most people are aware of them, and wisely let the bots do their jobs, since interference constitutes a crime.
  • Menacing Hand Shot: As Fletcher's team is surrounding Anderton, one of the cops extends her sick stick. The next shot is several sick sticks in the hands of the other cops held low and dagger-like as they start to close around Anderton.
  • Mercy Lead: Offered to Anderton by the precogs' caretaker. In this case, it comes with an extra (unremarked-upon) wrinkle - since John is wanted for a future killing, the caretaker is becoming an accessory to that murder by allowing him to go free.
  • Mind Prison: According to Gideon, prisoners in containment experience a constant dream-state in which all their dreams come true, but it's never specified if this is a deliberate attempt at reform or just a side-benefit.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Anderton's discovery that Agatha's data stream is missing from a pre-crime from several years previous leads him to uncovering a successful murder committed by a Precrime officer, on which the future of Precrime rests.
  • Miranda Rights: Read to Crow by Anderton in a barely steady voice when he eventually decides to arrest him instead of killing him for the murder of his son.
  • Missed Him by That Much: An awesome sequence with Anderton and Agatha avoiding the Future Crime cops, utilizing Agatha's future-seeing prediction to place themselves at the right place and right time for seemingly random events to hide them from the cops. (Example: Agatha tells Anderton to stop right in the middle of the mall, in plain view. Just as the cops stop at an overhead walkway to look down, a man with balloons blocks their view of Anderton.)
  • Morton's Fork: Burgess is defeated when Anderton sets this up. Anderton provokes Burgess to murder him, triggering a precog, then uses a Breaking Speech to lay this out for him. Either Burgess kills Anderton (thus proving that the system works but ending up "in hell with a halo") or he doesn't (and Anderton will shut down Precrime and have Burgess arrested for the murders he committed to uphold it). Burgess takes a third option, and kills himself, thus proving the precog wrong and destroying the system.
  • Motifs: Breathing underwater is a repeating theme. Anne Lively gets killed by drowning. Anderton's son tries to beat the world record of holding one's breath underwater, then is himself kidnapped while Anderton is holding his own breath underwater just a minute later. Anderton himself tries to trick the spyders by holding his breath in a bathtub.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When John confronts Burgess at the end, he first looks at a moving light in the distance. As they talk, this light gets steadily larger. It's the hovercraft coming to avert the murder.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: John, once Dr. Hineman tells him about the minority reports and he realizes that he's potentially put away people with alternate futures.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Witwer is confused as to why the Pre-Cogs only see murders before they happen and not other violent crimes ("Why can't they see rapes or assaults or suicides?"), which one would intuitively expect, given that the organization is called Pre-Crime.
  • No OSHA Compliance: No one's on duty in the fully-automated Lexus plant, at the very least to hit a cutoff switch when a man wanders onto the assembly line. Oddly enough this doesn't occur to any of the police charged with delivering a suspect safely as possible, either.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When the precogs predict Leo Crow's murder by Anderton, their caretaker offers him a Mercy Lead. On the way out, Anderton gets stuck in an elevator with Danny Witwer, the Department of Justice agent. Witwer confronts Anderton about his neuroin addiction, and Anderton in turn accuses Witwer of framing him and pulls a gun on him.
      Danny Witwer: Now put the gun down, John. I don't hear a red ball.
      [Naturally, this is the moment the Mercy Lead expires, and the "imminent murder" alarm goes off. Witwer reacts very appropriately.]
    • Anderton gets a very brief one when he hears that he is also charged with Danny Witwer's death right when he is haloed.
    • Witwer also gets another one when he is shot.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Agatha shows Anderton a vision of Anne Lively's prevented murder which doesn't seem to reveal much. Then Witwer notices a slight discrepancy which reveals that it's not the same murder vision as the one Precrime stopped. Finally, a much clearer vision, complete with lead-in, shows exactly how Burgess set the whole thing up to fool the system.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner: "Everybody runs, Fletch. Everybody runs."
  • The Oner: When the Precops send the spyders into Solomon's apartment complex, we're given a lengthy, top-down shot of the robots scanning the eyes of the inhabitants one by one, including an arguing couple that briefly stops screaming to let themselves be scanned, then goes right back to it.
  • Orgy of Evidence: The Trope Namer. Leo Crow's apartment has photos of children strewn about all over the bed haphazardly, where anyone can see them. Witwer points out how ridiculous it is that Crow would just have left incriminating evidence out in the open for no apparent reason at the same time John arrived, providing the perfect excuse for murder. It's so convenient that he immediately declares the whole thing staged.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The cops have bulky guns.
  • Packed Hero: Played for drama as Anderton navigates a conveyor belt, then for sheer cool as he drives off in the completed car.
  • Painting the Medium: Most of the film is very heavily stylized, with deliberate overlighting, high contrasts between dark and light and a very obvious blue tint to the visuals. However, when Anderton has a Flashback to bringing his son to a swimming pool, the scene is shot and lit in a more conventional, naturalistic manner.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-universe. The surgeon sarcastically thanks Anderton for the "enlightenment" he had in prison while prepping him for surgery. Turns out that prison did improve him, because he performs the surgery flawlessly. He even throw some useful items on the deal, so he was grateful.
  • People Jars: The containment facilities, and to a lesser extent the pool containing the precogs.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Precrime, quite literally. Three of them, in fact. Except Agatha wasn't quite as forsaken as Lamar would have liked.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Anderton confronts the man who apparently kidnapped, then murdered his son.
  • Precrime Arrest: The Trope Namer, though the only crime the Precogs are able to predict is murder. There is, however, talk of expanding it into lesser crimes, as well.
  • Prison Rape: Dr. Solomon says that avoiding this was his main motivation behind spending so much time in the prison library during his incarceration in Baltimore.
  • Product Placement:
    • In the future we will shop at the Gapnote , eat Burger Kingnote , drink Guinnessnote , and pay for it with American Expressnote . And the best part is, none of their logos have changed in the last 50 years. When Anderton looks at his watch, you can see that it is a Bvlgari (around since 1884). However, through most of the film, he's wearing a different watch altogether and we don't notice it because we don't see the logo.
    • Though some of it is to show how ads are everywhere in this world without privacy.
    • Also: the ads know your name, your buying history, your basic medical vital stats (at the moment you walk past) like pulse and respiration rate, and...?
    • Spielberg did this on purpose to show exactly how invasive it could get. It may or may not have had the same effect with made-up products, but then the studio would've had to pay someone to make up products. This way they get verisimilitude and sponsorship money.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Anderton and Hineman are both fond of listening to classical music.
  • Race Against the Clock: A clock is counting down to the time Anderton commits the murder of Leo Crow. We repeatedly get An Insert on his watch to see how much time is left until the incident.
  • Real Is Brown: Or, "Real is Kind Of Blue" to invoke a futuristic feel (that's why the only scene that doesn't use it is a flashback).
  • Red Alert: Red Ball, more precisely. A Red Ball is issued when the PreCogs predict that a crime of passion is going to be committed. It gets treated like this trope because while Brown Balls (premeditated murders) can be predicted as early as four days before crime is committed, Red Balls can only be predicted within the hour before the crime is committed due to the lack of premeditation. They don't get many premeditated murders, unsurprisingly-people have caught on.
  • Red Herring: Witwer looks like the villain initially.
    • The onlooker peering through the window at Anderton's crime scene is just a billboard.
  • Replacement Goldfish: After Precrime is shut down, John and Lara rekindle their relationship and she's pregnant with their second child.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: In scrubbing the images for Howard Marks's crime, Anderton flips back-and-forth between a few frames of video which show a kid quickly moving to opposite sides of a man, eventually realizing the man is standing in front of a playground.
  • Right Behind Me:
    • The cheating couple starts to make out while the husband sits sobbing right next to their bed.
    • Anderton tells Fletch to get Witwer some coffee and tell him a story about how awesome he is, while Witwer had already entered the room behind him.
  • Saying Too Much: Burgess's crucial error, which is noticed: "I never said she drowned." Doubles as I Never Said It Was Poison, as mentioned above.
  • Say My Name: "Chief, chief... ANDERTON!!!"
  • Scare Chord: An eyeball is placed on an organ's keys, justifying the chord. And playing it.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: Did John clear his name or was the ending of the film just a dream he was having in his containment cell?
  • Screw Destiny: Stated to be simple in the scene where Anderton rolls a ball across a table, stating that changing the future does not change the intent behind people's actions. What is hard is taking a third option.
  • Scry vs. Scry: In the short story, the key paradox is a result of this, because the third report tries to take into account the fact that the director of Precrime can read the reports, causing everything to bork up.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Played straight for most of its length, but subverts it near the end. The Pre-Crimes are predictions made by the Precogs. However, the predictions are not always accurate. The main crime that the movie focuses on is Anderton being predicted to kill a man named Leo Crow. Instead of killing him like the vision depicted, Anderton planned to arrest him for the supposed abductions and murders of several children. Once Crow realized that Anderton would not kill him, he performed a Suicide by Cop just so his family would be financially secure through his death. Then there’s the final vision that predicts Lamar killing Anderton. Instead of Anderton dying, Lamar shoots himself to escape jail time for his crimes.
  • Senseless Phagia: Just after Anderton's eye replacement. The surgeon tells him that a sandwich and milk are in the fridge. Well, that much is true, but John's blind bumbling leads him to the rotten equivalents first.
  • Shear Menace: In the opening case, we see premonitions of a husband catching his wife and her lover in bed. He goes berserk and grabs a pair of scissors laying around to kill them both.
  • Shout-Out: The PreCogs (Agatha, Arthur and Dashiell) were named after three famous mystery writers, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dashiell Hammett. Doubles as Meaningful Name, as the authors' stories revolved around solving murders.
  • Shown Their Work: Spielberg went out of his way to avert Zeerust and accurately represent the kind of technology that will likely be available around the time of the film's setting. Though he put little emphasis on the very likely scenario of Everything Is Online because, face it, slotting glassy memory sticks in and out devices is way cooler than having the data accessible instantly and wirelessly.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The room of Anderton's son has been kept as he left it, including stuffed toys sitting in the cupboard.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "Don't you EVER SAY HIS NAME! You used the memory of my dead son to set me up! It was the one thing you knew that would drive me to murder!"
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: He who knows his own future can change it if he wants to.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The main point of criticism of the film was that the idealistic happy ending stood in stark, jarring contrast to the dark tone of the rest of the film, to the point that it seems completely out of place. Unsurprisingly, a popular alternative interpretation of the film sprung up to counteract this. Where the viewer sits on the scale will probably determine which interpretation they find more plausible.
  • Smart House: Anderton's apartment responds to voice commands.
  • Smoking Gun Control: Used in the opening case to show how resourceful Anderton has to be to solve precrimes. First, there were seven Howard Marks in the area so they have to apply Facial Recognition Software. Once they identify the right person, he turns out to have moved from his last known location, requiring the team to use GPS Evidence from the precog visions to locate the crime scene.
  • Soft Glass:
    • Considering this future has things like precognition, holographic storage, an automated maglev transport system and other technologically advanced things, they apparently can't make glass that doesn't shatter with the slightest impact.
    • In the arrest of Howard Marks, the precrime cops crash through a skylight, sending shards of glass all over the room, especially all over the wife and lover who were directly underneath. Then, Anderton throws Marks onto the bed, which is covered in shattered glass. If this were real life, Marks should have been bloodied up a little bit. Unless all glass in the future shatters without sharp bits, like car windshields. Plausible, but expensive.
  • So Much for Stealth: It seems like Anderton is able to evade the spyders by hiding in the ice bath only to blow his cover by creating a tiny air bubble that pops as the spyders are about to leave.
  • Space Brasília: Averted. The film is pretty effective at depicting a world with a variety of architecture of different ages and styles. This is actually a plot point at the very beginning.
  • Spiritual Successor: With its classically philosophical and futuristic themes, and its running motifs applied to eyes, while also being based on a story by Philip K. Dick, this could be considered to be an example of this trope for Blade Runner.
  • Spit Take: The other sandwich/milk combo in the fridge.
  • Spotting the Thread: The key to an objective observation of the minority report of the death of Agatha's mother was that with the supposed duplicate murder the water was rippling in a different direction, thereby occured at a different time of day.
  • Stable Time Loop: Not entirely stable, because it doesn't play out the same, but still necessary. Anderton's ability to even commit the murder in the future is contingent on the fact that he sees exactly how he will do so from the vision, which even predicts that he will successfully kidnap Agatha along the way. This curious property also makes the murder premeditated, because Anderton has to unravel the clues in the fragmented vision to guide him to the final moment, turning what is technically a crime of passion into a premeditated murder by virtue of Anderton's determination to prove his innocence.
  • Starfish Robots: The insect-like tracker robots.
  • Suicide by Cop: Anderton is trying to prevent a future in which he kills a man and nearly succeeds... only for the man to commit Suicide by Pre-Cop.
  • Super Window Jump: Though the people coming through the skylight were armored police officers who, impliedly, do this sort of thing on a regular basis. However, they were coming down into someone's bedroom, where they knew two people had just been having sex.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The film's setting is an oppressive authoritarian USA in which civil liberties and privacy are a thing of the past, and the tone is bleak and pessimistic, culminating in Anderton being arrested for the murders of Crow and Witwer and placed in a Mind Prison indefinitely. After that, however, Lara realizes that Lamar Burgess is behind the plot and breaks Anderton out of prison. With the help of his former Precrime colleagues, Anderton publicly exposes Burgess for the murder of Anne Lively. Burgess kills himself, Precrime is disbanded, the pre-cogs retire to a secluded house in the countryside, Anderton and Lara reconcile and are expecting a second child. The shift in tone was so jarring that a popular theory emerged that Anderton never escaped from the Mind Prison and the ending of the film is his dream. This is hinted at when Anderton is being imprisoned and Gideon explains "It's actually kind of a rush. They say you have visions. That your life flashes before your eyes. That all your dreams come true."
  • Swiss Cheese Security:
    • Those eyeballs sure came in handy. Apparently no one bothered to revoke Anderton's access to Precrime even after he had been accused of murder.
    • Anderton is also able to infiltrate Burgess' ceremony and confront him on the balcony without a security guard in sight.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: The Precogs lie immersed in a cool blue pool, serenely dreaming their visions. The water is representative of their receptive, subconscious state as well, it turns out, as the unreliability of their predictions.
  • Techno Dystopia: Zigzagged in the film, where Pre-Crime is the ultimate culmination of a world in which Big Brother Is Watching. Despite that, Pre-Crime's positive benefits aren't glossed over at all, and arguably its flaw lies not in being inherently bad technology, but in one corrupt individual interfering with it for his own purposes. Indeed, apart from a thriving black market, crime and social decay seem pretty negligible in this future. Even so, prisoners are not mentioned as being released, instead seeming to get detained indefinitely, although what happens could be interpreted as a brainwashing process toward their eventual release, which is dystopian either way. Plus, it also requires having the pre-cogs held as slaves who have to constantly see images of murders (even if these mostly never happen). If the above were avoided somehow, it might be downright utopian.
  • Tech Marches On:
    • With the advent of the Kinect, it seems kinda silly that people need to wear that glove to use the computer in the Precrime office, although it could be argued it is used to prevent interference from other people (like when Anderton throws the previsions to the corner of the screen when he goes to shake Witwer's hand).
    • Justified, for now, in that real-life gestural systems require the use of a glove in order to resolve more detailed gestures more quickly than devices like the Kinect.
  • Technology Porn: Numerous examples. Precrime's gesture-based interface is particularly stunning.
  • Thoughtcrime: Most of the "crimes" which the Precrime Division stops seem to be this. Suspects are caught in the attempt to commit a murder at times, but many don't even get that far. In the latter case, an ordinary charge of attempted murder could be made. For most though, their only "crime" is just wanting to commit a murder, but not actually doing so. They're all detained without trial regardless. Early in the film, Witwer asks "You ever get any false positives? Someone intends to kill his boss or his wife, but they don't go through with it. How do the Pre-Cogs tell the difference?" Anderton replies "The Pre-Cogs don't see what you intend to do: only what you will do." without any further explanation.
  • Title Drop: About halfway through the film, when Hineman explains the titular concept.
  • Toasted Buns: The jetpack cops. Possibly justified, as the suits they wear may be fire-resistant.
  • Too Good to Be True: As Witwer explains upon analyzing Crow's death scene, his skepticism comes from experience:
    Danny Witwer: I worked homicide before I went federal. This is what we call an orgy of evidence. You know how many orgies I had as a homicide cop?
    Officer Fletcher: How many?
    Danny Witwer: None.
  • True Companions: Anderton's team fills this role, obviously caring for him. Fletcher looks almost in tears when they come to arrest him. In the ensuing Chase Scene, Anderton works very hard not to harm them, and largely succeeds.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting:
    • This movie uses it extensively. Most scenes have it, and the intensity varies from a light dusting to complete submersion - it is a classic modern example of the trope.
    • Lampshaded by Iris Hineman - Anderton cuts himself on a plant in her garden which produces a hallucinogenic toxin, and she tells him that Anderton will soon see a marvelous display of blue objects (by this stage, the audience will have seen little else besides).
  • The Unreveal: We never do find out what happened to Anderton's son.
  • Unusual User Interface: A gesture-based interface, several years before the Kinect made it a reality.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Burgess tries to get Anderton to see things his way on how many people they've saved thanks to Precrime, and how many people they could have saved with it, including his son.
  • Video Phone: They're even installed in future cars, and since cars can drive themselves, people using the video phone in the car can commit themselves entirely to the phone call and not have to pay attention to the road.
  • Vomiting Cop: Anderton deflects a "sick stick" attack into another cop, causing immediate projectile vomiting.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Anderton's face appears on a newspaper frontpage leading to one passenger at the subway to give him a suspicious look.
  • Wham Line:
    • Hineman: "But occasionally...they do disagree".
    • Agatha: "She didn't die... but she's not alive".
    • Lara: "...But I never said she drowned".
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance:
    • Anderton is apparently forgiven for all the other crimes he committed in attempting to prove he didn't murder anyone. To his credit, when he's fighting off the Precops, he goes out of his way not to harm any of them, going so far as to double-check that one had a good grip on a fire escape after he swiped his jetpack and before letting go of him. And the authorities can't exactly prosecute him without describing exactly how much of a fool he made them look.
    • Not to mention revealing Burgess' murder of Agatha's mother.
    • The video game goes full Selective Condemnation, where you can murder 60+ police officers and others by shooting them, beating them to death, and throwing them off of buildings or into acid and fires, but the only thing people care about is the crime you're framed for.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • When discussing the concept of Precrime and its accuracy, Danny argues that they're subverting fate constantly with their interventions. Anderton counters that though this is true, it's a common phenomenon even without precognition - crimes are prevented all the time, but it doesn't mean the perpetrators aren't criminals. Just because Precrime prevents murders, it doesn't mean the murders weren't going to occur. This is actually a thought experiment by David Hume.
      Witwer: But it's not the future if you stop it. Isn't that a fundamental paradox?
      Anderton: Yes it is. You're talking about predetermination, which happens all the time. (rolls a red ball across a table at Witwer)
      (Witwer catches it)
      Anderton: Why'd you catch that?
      Witwer: Because it was going to fall.
      Anderton: You're certain?
      Witwer: Yeah.
      Anderton: But it didn't fall. You caught it. The fact that you prevented it from happening doesn’t change the fact that it was going to happen.
    • Discussed between Anderton and Dr. Hineman. Anderton asserts that he can simply lay low, but Hineman points out that the vision has already started a chain of events that will inevitably lead Anderton to Leo Crow no matter how much he resists, while asking rhetorically how he could avoid a man he's never met.
    • Subverted specifically for Anderton when Precog Agatha tells him, "You always have a choice." Anderton ultimately decides not to kill him, running out the clock and thus subverting the vision, but the guy grabs the gun to force Anderton to kill him. Instead of murdering the guy, Anderton ends up accidentally killing him when he loses his balance and falls out the window.
    • It LOOKS like seeing the murderball STARTED the chain of events that led to John meeting Crow and executing him (played straight). Only at the last minute does John demonstrate that he could choose not to (averted), so this is a true subversion for John. Zig-Zagged in that Agatha saw this future, it was just too similar to the other two pre-visions for her to tell the difference.
    • This is how the original short story plays out. Story Anderton does end up committing the murder he was predicted to commit, because he realizes he's being used to destroy Precrime and enable a military coup, and he's willing to give up his freedom to prevent that future. This only comes about because he tries to fight fate; the precogs' third, correct prediction depends on him reading and attempting to gainsay their first two predictions.

"Everybody runs."

Video Example(s):


Minority Report

The 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks logos have an underwater effect to them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LogoJoke

Media sources:

Main / LogoJoke