Brief Summary of "Armageddon"

by Joshua Wade

"Armageddon" featured action star Bruce Willis as oil-rig operator Harry Stamper.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, "Armageddon" was released in 1998 and follows a group of oil-rig workers who attempt to prevent a worldwide disaster by destroying a massive asteroid. Starring an impressive ensemble cast including Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis, and Ben Affleck, the film attained success at the box office by mixing an otherwise serious and dramatic plot with eye-catching explosions, warm humor and touching relationships.


A large asteroid capable of killing all life on the planet is hurdling towards Earth. With 18 days to stop the coming Armageddon, NASA lead scientist Dan Truman (portrayed by Thornton) decides to employ the crew of an oil-rig to drill holes into the asteroid and plant nuclear bombs into the holes, breaking the asteroid in half and interrupting its trajectory in the hopes that the two pieces will both pass around the Earth.


The film opens on astronauts repairing a satellite in space, only to be killed by a shower of meteors that subsequently fall to Earth, wrecking havoc on New York City. NASA is then notified about a asteroid the size of Texas, large enough to end all life on Earth. The film then cuts to oil-rig operator Harry Stamper (portrayed by Willis) his estranged daughter Grace, and his eccentric crew who are thought to be the best in their field. After many impractical solutions to the impending disaster, Truman devises a more concise plan and calls upon Harry to train a crew of astronauts to pilot two shuttles, each with attached drills, to the asteroid. The shuttles will bore into the asteroid, deposit nuclear bombs, and detonate the bombs remotely, breaking the asteroid in half. Realizing that his own crew are the only people who possess the necessary skills to operate the drills, Harry decides to go into space himself, taking along his crew, including Grace's fiancé A.J., whom he detests, to operate the drills.


After days of grueling training, the crew make their way to the asteroid as stray asteroids continue to destroy cities all over the world. A series of setbacks including erupting gas pockets, stray asteroids and failing equipment destroy the first shuttle. The crew must then race the clock to plant the bombs necessary to complete their mission. At the last moment, the remote detonation system is impaired, meaning that one of the crew must stay behind to detonate the explosives manually. Harry must decide who will stay behind just as the clock runs down.


At the close of the film, nearly all of the crew has been killed or incapacitated, leaving Harry, A.J., and a few others left to detonate the bomb. They decide to draw straws to determine who will stay behind, and A.J. draws the short straw. At the last moment, Harry incapacitates A.J. by sabotaging his equipment, taking his place in order for A.J. to make it back to Earth so that he can give Grace the one thing Harry couldn't: a chance at true happiness. The remaining crew return to Earth where they are greeted by loved ones; Grace and A.J. embrace one another and kiss as the movie ends.

Photo Credits

  • Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images