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This article is about a movie. For other uses, please see Relic .

The Relic (1997) is a film starring Tom Sizemore, Penelope Ann Miller, and Linda Hunt. This Peter Hyams-directed feature is based on the best-selling novel of the same name and 1997's Reliquary, both by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The original music score was composed by John Debney. The film is rated R for monster violence, gore, and language.


A researcher at the Museum of Natural Historymarker of Chicagomarker returns from South America after visiting a newly discovered tribe - the "Kothoga". He brings some crates with him, containing his research findings. When the crates arrive at the museum without the owner, there appears to be very little inside...just a statue and a bunch of leaves with tiny red parasites. The statue is placed in the museum's new exhibit on superstition and preparations are made for an exclusive party of wealthy museum sponsors, which will be held that very evening in the museum. Meanwhile, the police discover gruesome murders on the cargo ship that brought the crates to the United States and then another murder in the museum itself. Investigating the murders is Lt. Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) who enlists the help of Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) at the museum—she has taken an interest in the contents of her colleague's crates. Finding little to investigate, she throws the leaves away. Unknown to both the police and the museum staff and guests, there is a large creature - an Amazonian beast known as the Mbwun (translation: "He Who Walks On All Fours") - roaming the museum, originally seeking its food from the discarded leaves, but now forced into killing its victims and eating the hypothalamus, necessary for the creature to survive.



The novel was adapted into screenplay form by Amy Holden Jones (who wrote the screenplay for Indecent Proposal). Producer Gale Anne Hurd commissioned Jones to do a rewrite with three other screenwriters in order to produce a shorter, more compact version of the script. Many characters were removed and/or merged with others. The book's location was changed due to the American Museum of Natural Historymarker being unavailable and so the production was moved to the Field Museum of Natural Historymarker in Chicago.


The Relic garnered multiple genre awards and received some praise from critics, The film opened #1 at the box office, grossing $9,064,143 its opening week and a total of $33,956,608 domestically, against an estimated cost $40 million. According to the video cover it was given two thumbs up by Siskel and Ebert. Awards included the Stockholm Film and Fantasy Awards and a nomination for the lead actor Tom Sizemore at Boston. However, The Relic has found an audience as a cult hit. Leonard Maltin give it 3 out of 4 stars and stated, "Yes, it's Alien in a museum,' but not bad. The monster, done both 'live' and by computer graphics is especially impressive."

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