The Mask (film)

The Mask (film)
The Mask

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chuck Russell
Produced by Bob Engelman
Screenplay by Mike Werb
Story by Michael Fallon
Mark Verheiden
Starring Jim Carrey
Peter Riegert
Peter Greene
Amy Yasbeck
Richard Jeni
Cameron Diaz
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography John R. Leonetti
Editing by Arthur Coburn
Studio New Line Cinema
Dark Horse Entertainment
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) July 29, 1994 (1994-07-29)
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23 million
Box office $351,583,407

The Mask is a 1994 American superhero comedy film based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. This film was directed by Chuck Russell, and produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and New Line Cinema, and originally released to movie theatres on July 29, 1994 through New Line Cinema The film stars Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss (also known as The Mask). The film's supporting cast includes Peter Greene as mafia officer Dorian Tyrell, Amy Yasbeck as a newspaper reporter, Peter Riegert and Jim Doughan as two police detectives, Richard Jeni as Stanley's friend, Orestes Matacena as nightclub owner and mafia boss Niko, Ben Stein as a psychologist, and Cameron Diaz in her feature-film debut as Stanley's love interest Tina Carlyle. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but lost to Forrest Gump.



Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), a clerk in an Edge City bank, is a shy, luckless romantic who is regularly bullied by nearly everyone around him, including his boss (Eamonn Roche), his landlady Mrs Peenman (Nancy Fish), and car mechanics. His only friends are his Jack Russell Terrier Milo and his co-worker Charlie Schumaker (Richard Jeni). Meanwhile, gangster Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene) runs the exclusive Coco Bongo nightclub while plotting to overthrow his boss Niko (Orestes Matacena). Tyrell sends his singer girlfriend Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz) into Stanley's bank with a hidden camera, in preparation to rob the bank.

Stanley is attracted to Tina, and she seems to reciprocate. Later that night after being denied entrance to the Coco Bongo, he is stranded with a broken-down rental car at the city's filthy harbor, where he finds a mysterious wooden mask next to a pile of garbage which at first he mistakes to be a drowning man. He takes the object home and jokingly puts it on. The mask wraps around his head, transforming him into a wackily-suited, green-headed, figure, "The Mask", a trickster with reality-warping powers, physical imperviousness and without personal inhibitions who exacts comical revenge on some of Stanley's tormentors and scares a street gang that attempts to mug him.

The next morning, Stanley encounters world-weary Edge City detective Lieutenant Kellaway (Peter Riegert) and newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt (Amy Yasbeck), both of whom are investigating the Mask's activities of the previous night. Despite these threats, the temptation to again use the mask is overwhelming and he puts it back on that evening. Needing money to attend Tina's performance at the Coco Bongo, the Mask noisily interrupts Tyrell's bank robbery and steals the targeted money while Tyrell's henchman and close friend Freeze (Reginald E. Cathey) is shot by police responding to the disturbance.

The Mask buys entry into the Coco Bongo, where he "rocks the joint" by dancing exuberantly with Tina in front of the cheering crowd after Tyrell is called away by Sweet Eddy (Denis Forest). After Freeze dies in Tyrell's arms, Tyrell violently asks who was responsible and Eddy points to the Mask dancing with Tina. At the end of the dance the Mask gives Tina a kiss that literally blows her shoes off, but is then confronted by Tyrell. One of Tyrell's henchmen then pulls out a gun and shoots off a part of the Mask's tie, which transforms back into Stanley's distinctive pajamas. The Mask escapes, while Tyrell is temporarily arrested for the bank robbery by Lt. Kellaway, who also finds the pajama scrap.

Kellaway confronts Stanley at his apartment, just as a weary Stanley discovers all the bank money stuffed in his closet. Stanley manages to bluff his way out of trouble and later consults an expert on masks named Arthur Neumann (Ben Stein) who tells him that the object is a depiction of Loki, the Norse god of darkness and mischief, prompting Stanley - after learning that Odin banished Loki for causing too much trouble - to contemplate the possibility that Loki was banished into the mask. Despite the possible source of the mask's power, and with both Tyrell and Lt. Kellaway hunting for him (the latter of whom now has finger print evidence that Stanley stole the money), a more confident Stanley stands up to his boss and arranges for Tina to meet the Mask at the local Landfill Park. The meeting goes badly when the Mask's advances scare Tina away and Lt. Kellaway arrives and attempts to arrest him. The Mask toys with the enraged officer before zooming out of the park and tricking a large group of Edge City police officers into joining him in a mass-performance production of the song Cuban Pete. Stanley manages to get the mask off and Peggy helps him escape, but then betrays him to Tyrell for a $50,000 mob bounty. Tyrell tries on the mask and becomes a demonic monster. Forced to reveal the location of the stolen money, Stanley is kept hostage in one of the mob cars as Tyrell's henchmen search Stanley's apartment and reclaim the money. Stanley is later literally dumped in Kellaway's lap with a green rubber mask and is thrown into jail.

Tina sympathetically visits Stanley in his cell, where he urges her to flee the city. Tina in return thanks Stanley for being the first person to treat her like a person rather than a party favour, reflecting that she knew she had found someone special at the club in the form of the man inside the Mask. She attempts to leave the city, but is pursued by Orlando (Nils Allen Stewart) and cornered by Tyrell. Upon being told by Orlando of her attempt to leave the city, Tina is forcefully taken to his raid of a charity ball at the Coco Bongo which is hosted by Niko and attended by the city's elite, including the city's mayor Mitchell Tilton (Ivory Ocean), and Charlie. Upon arrival, the Masked Tyrell kills Niko in a gunfight and prepares to destroy both the club and Tina. Meanwhile, Milo helps Stanley break out of his cell, and dragging Lt. Kellaway along as a cover and hostage, they go to the club to stop Tyrell.

Upon arrival, Stanley tells Lt. Kellaway to call for backup as he sneaks into the Coco Bongo with a gun. After brief initial success by securing the assistance of Charlie, Stanley is spotted by Orlando and captured. Tina tricks Tyrell into taking off the mask, which is recovered and donned by Milo, turning the dog into a cartoonish pitbull who defeats Tyrell's men, while Stanley fights Dorian himself. Stanley then recovers the mask and wears it one last time, using its abilities to save Tina by swallowing Tyrell's bomb, and then flushing Tyrell down the drain of the club's ornamental fountain. The police arrive and arrest Tyrell's remaining henchmen. Mayor Mitchell Tilton tells everyone that Tyrell was the Mask the whole time and orders Kellaway to let Stanley go, Tilton tells Stanley that he is a Hero and thanks him for saving the lives, Tilton tells Kellaway he needs to see him in the morning.

As the sun rises, Stanley, Tina, Milo, and Charlie take the mask back down to the harbor, where Tina throws it into the water and they share their first kiss. Charlie attempts to retrieve the mask for himself, only to find Milo swimming away with it.


  • Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss / The Mask: Jim Carrey, who portrays Stanley Ipkiss, commented that he characterized Stanley after his own father: "a nice guy, just trying to get by". When Ipkiss puts on the Mask, he becomes a wacky, zoot-suited, suave cartoon figure having the ability to manipulate his own shape and the world around him to a superhuman extent; this is implied to be the projection onto himself of his preferred fantasies.
  • Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle: The girlfriend of mobster Dorian Tyrell who is attracted to Stanley Ipkiss. Tina is largely dissatisfied with Dorian as a partner, but does not defy him until she has been courted by his rival. This role marked the feature film debut for former model Cameron Diaz. Before Diaz was cast, the studio considered casting Vanessa L. Williams and Kristy Swanson. There was also a studio offer for Anna Nicole Smith.[citation needed]
  • Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell: Dorian is a Mafia officer who desires to kill his superior. He is psychopathic, manipulative, ambitious, arrogant, paranoid and selfish with scant regard for any of the lives destroyed or simply taken as a result of his media ambition. The only person he cares somewhat about other than himself is Tina. When Dorian wears the Mask, he becomes a troll-like figure representing his malice, and exhibits bestial behavior.
  • Peter Riegert as Lt. Mitch Kellaway: A slightly cynical police detective who pursues the Mask, Dorian and Niko throughout the film.
  • Orestes Matacena as Niko: The mafia boss of Edge City and owner of the Coco Bongo Club.
  • Jim Doughan as Detective Doyle: Lt. Kellaway's slightly-inept partner.
  • Richard Jeni as Charlie Schumaker: A friend of Stanley Ipkiss. Charlie is amiable, but can be selfish or irrational at times.
  • Amy Yasbeck as Peggy Brandt: A reporter. Originally, the character was murdered by Dorian when he is first transformed by the Mask. Director Chuck Russell however, cut this scene with an eye to including Peggy who later reforms in a Mask sequel (though this idea fell through when Carrey declined to return).[citation needed] However, she appeared in the animated series.
  • Jeremy Roberts as Bobby the Bouncer: One of Dorian Tyrell's bodyguards who works as the bouncer of the Coco Bongo Club.
  • Ben Stein as Dr. Arthur Neuman: A psychologist who tells Ipkiss about the Mask being representative of a Norse Night God named Loki. He's also the author of a book, The Masks We Wear, which deals with people portraying themselves differently to others.
  • Ivory Ocean as Mitchell Tilton: The Mayor of Edge City.
  • Reginald E. Cathey as Freeze: Dorian Tyrell's bodyguard and a friend.
  • William Daniel Mielcarek as Doc: One of Tyrell's thugs.
  • Denis Forest as Sweet Eddy: One of Tyrell's thugs.
  • Eamonn Roche as Mr. Dickey: The boss of Stanley and Charlie.
  • Nancy Fish as Mrs. Peenman: Stanley's grouchy and yelling land-lady.
  • Nils Allen Stewart as Orlando: One of Tyrell's thugs.
  • Blake Clark as Murray: Peggy's boss.
  • Garret T. Sato as One of Tyrell's thugs.


The film was a box-office success, grossing $119 million domestically and over $350 million worldwide, becoming the second-highest grossing superhero movie at that time, behind Batman. Even though it had been out-grossed by several superhero movies throughout the years, it remains immensely popular, especially with children. Critics also approved of the film, including Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, noting Jim Carrey for his "joyful performance."[1] The Mask is one of three films featuring Carrey (the others being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber) released in 1994 that helped launch the actor to superstardom.

The film was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 67th Academy Awards, but lost to Forrest Gump. In addition, Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe. It currently holds a 75% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, it has a rating score of 56, indicating "mixed or average reviews" based on 12 reviews.

American Film Institute Lists

Cultural and literary allusions

  • Looney Tunes - Stanley decorates his apartment with items featuring characters from Looney Tunes cartoons, and when he turns into the Mask, he tends to imitate said characters: Bugs Bunny (dying in the arms of the mobster, kissing someone in the lips, fooling people, and cracking jokes), Daffy Duck (bouncing and yelling uncontrollably), the Road Runner (jabbering after saying a joke and before fleeing the scene to resemble the "beep, beep" produced by the Road Runner), Pepe le Pew (in the scene wherein he romances Tina) and Taz (spinning in a tornado). His reaction to Tina's singing in the Coco Bongo is the same as that of the character of the wolf in the cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood, which Stanley is seen watching earlier on. Many of the imitations come from shorts directed by Tex Avery.
  • The Fugitive - While being arrested in the park, the Mask's joking claim that "it was the one-armed man" is a reference to the villain in the TV series and later in the film The Fugitive.
  • Clint Eastwood - The Mask performs a famous line by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry by saying "Now, you got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punks?". Carrey routinely performed impressions of Eastwood in his stand-up comedy routines and appeared in bit parts in Eastwood-headlined flicks Pink Cadillac and The Dead Pool, the latter of which was a Dirty Harry film. Carrey would also impersonate Eastwood momentarily in the film Bruce Almighty.
  • The Cincinnati Kid - After defeating Dorian, the Mask performs a famous line by Edward G. Robinson in The Cincinnati Kid, when he says You were good, kid, really good, but as long as I'm around you'll always be second best, see.[4]
  • In Living Color - The laugh performed by the Mask towards the end of the film (after revealing that his guns were loaded with nothing more than signs reading "Bang!"), is reminiscent of Carrey's Fire Marshal Bill character from In Living Color.
  • Elvis - When The Mask dodges all the bullets he briefly turns into a green-faced Elvis.
  • Cab Calloway - The song "Hi de ho" from K7 has the same main musical theme as "Minnie the Moocher" from Cab Calloway (it is closer to the version of the film The Blues Brothers). It can be heard during the charity party, just before Dorian comes into the club.

When "shot" at the first scene inside the Coco Bongo, the Mask's consequent "dying" dialogue references several classic literary moments:

  • " me partner!" - A good impression of Pat Buttram, a voice highly associated with Western films.
  • "Tell Auntie Em to let Old Yeller Out" - A reference to Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz and Old Yeller.
  • "Tell Tiny Tim I won't be coming home this Christmas" - Tiny Tim is a character in Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol.
  • "Tell Scarlett I do give a damn" - A comedic take on Rhett Butler's line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", in Gone With the Wind.
  • At the end of the scene, he is presented with an award for his performance and breaks the fourth wall by thanking the movie audience with Sally Field's acceptance exclamation "You love me! You really love me!". As this is going on, people-shaped silhouettes appear onscreen and applaud while Dorian combs his hair, adding to the illusion of an appreciative film theatre audience.


Original soundtrack

The Mask:
Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released July 26, 1994 (1994-07-26)
Label Sony

Track listing

  1. "Cuban Pete" (C & C Pop Radio Edit) - Jim Carrey
  2. "Who's That Man" - Xscape
  3. "This Business of Love" - Domino
  4. "Bounce Around" - Tony! Toni! Toné!
  5. "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" - Harry Connick, Jr.
  6. "You Would Be My Baby" - Vanessa Williams
  7. "Hi De Ho" - K7
  8. "Let the Good Times Roll" - Fishbone
  9. "Straight Up" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  10. "Hey! Pachuco!" - Royal Crown Revue
  11. "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You" - Susan Boyd
  12. "Cuban Pete" (Arkin Movie Mix) - Jim Carrey

Orchestral soundtrack

The orchestral score soundtrack to The Mask was released shortly after the original soundtrack's release. The score was composed and conducted by Randy Edelman and performed by the Irish Film Orchestra.

Track listing

  1. Opening - The Origin Of The Mask
  2. Tina
  3. Carnival
  4. Transformation
  5. Tango In The Park
  6. Lovebirds
  7. Out Of The Line Of Fire
  8. A Dark Night
  9. The Man Behind The Mask
  10. Dorian Gets A New Face
  11. Looking For A Way Out
  12. The Search
  13. Forked Tongue
  14. Milo To The Rescue
  15. The Mask Is Back
  16. Finale

Home video

The film was released on DVD by New Line Cinema. It was later released Blu-ray Disc on December 9, 2008.[5] It has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is encoded in 1080p/VC-1. Its audio is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD encoded at a 16/48 kHz bit and sample rate. The disc has multiple supplementary packages including additional scenes, production details and two commentary tracks, one by director Chuck Russell and the other by director Chuck Russell and the rest of the production crew.


Shortly after the release of The Mask, it was announced in Nintendo Power that Carrey would be returning in a sequel called The Mask II. The magazine held a contest, with the winner being an extra in the film, but, due to Jim Carrey declining to reprise his role, the project never came to fruition. In a 1995 Barbara Walters Special, Carrey revealed that he was offered the then-record-setting sum of $10 million to star in The Mask II, but turned it down, because his experiences on Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls convinced him that reprising a character he'd previously played offered him no challenges as an actor.

After this, an animated series was released and ran for three seasons. Some ideas for The Mask II made it into the animated series.

A sequel, Son of the Mask, was released in theaters in February 2005. The sequel was universally panned by critics, and it received 8 nominations at the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Remake or Sequel, Worst Actor (Jamie Kennedy), Worst Sequel, Worst Director (Lawrence Guterman), and Worst Couple (Jamie Kennedy and anyone starring with him).


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 29, 1994). "The Mask". Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  2. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees
  3. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  4. ^ Actually, what Edward G. Robinson said was You're good, kid, but as long as I'm around, you're only second best; see Memorable quotes for The Cincinnati Kid.
  5. ^ Dreuth, Josh (09-12-2008). "Today on Blu-ray - December 9". Retrieved 2009-01-03. 

External links

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