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Fargo (1996)

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Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
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Popularity
652 ( 43)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Top Rated Movies #166 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 81 wins & 57 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William H. Macy ... Jerry Lundegaard
Steve Buscemi ... Carl Showalter
Peter Stormare ... Gaear Grimsrud
Kristin Rudrüd Kristin Rudrüd ... Jean Lundegaard
Harve Presnell ... Wade Gustafson
Tony Denman ... Scotty Lundegaard
Gary Houston ... Irate Customer
Sally Wingert Sally Wingert ... Irate Customer's Wife
Kurt Schweickhardt Kurt Schweickhardt ... Car Salesman
Larissa Kokernot Larissa Kokernot ... Hooker #1
Melissa Peterman ... Hooker #2
Steve Reevis ... Shep Proudfoot (as Steven Reevis)
Warren Keith ... Reilly Diefenbach (voice)
Steve Edelman Steve Edelman ... Morning Show Host
Sharon Anderson Sharon Anderson ... Morning Show Hostess
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Storyline

Jerry works in his father-in-law's car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. He tries various schemes to come up with money needed for a reason that is never really explained. It has to be assumed that his huge embezzlement of money from the dealership is about to be discovered by father-in-law. When all else falls through, plans he set in motion earlier for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father (who doesn't seem to have the time of day for son-in-law). From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody with more blood added by the minute. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An ordinary place, an extraordinary thriller See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fargo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$730,265, 10 March 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,611,975

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early in the movie Wade (Harve Presnell) is watching a University of Minnesota hockey game. At one point an announcer can be heard saying "goal by Ranheim" and the TV shows the Gophers playing Wisconsin. The goal scorer would be Paul Ranheim, who scored 88 goals for Wisconsin from 1984 to 1988 and later played in the National Hockey League with Calgary, Hartford/Carolina, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. See more »

Goofs

When Marge is talking to Gaear in the squad car, she asks if the person she saw in the cabin was Jean Lundegaard. However, in the previous scene her body had moved outside and was next in line for the woodchipper treatment. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry Lundegaard: I'm, uh, Jerry Lundegaard.
Carl Showalter: You're Jerry Lundegaard?
Jerry Lundegaard: Ya. Shep Proudfoot said...
Carl Showalter: Shep said you'd be here at 7:30. What gives, man?
Jerry Lundegaard: Shep said 8:30.
Carl Showalter: We've been sitting here an hour. He's
[motioning to Gaer]
Carl Showalter: peed three times already.
Jerry Lundegaard: I'm sure sorry. Shep told me 8:30. It was a mix-up, I guess.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A symbol similar to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is in the credits as "victim in field", but it is not him, it is J. Todd Anderson, the storyboard artist. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the version showed in Dutch theaters the scene where the cop gets shot in the head differs. The scene is not close-up and in it a part from the trooper's skull flies off. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree
Written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown
Larball Publishing Co., Inc./
Irwin Levine Grand Music
Recording courtesy Alshire International
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cold-hearted
13 April 2005 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

The Coen brothers' 'Fargo' is nearly a great film: a beautifully shot, blackly comic thriller that quietly subverts every convention of the genre. This is a film where the remote mid-western city of Minneapolis plays the same role as New York in a normal crime story, a hub of civilisation and vice; where the hero is a woman (and a heavily pregnant, happily married woman at that); and the chief villain a car salesman of absolutely no slickness whatsoever. In a final irony, most of the action doesn't even take place in Fargo, but in the even more obscure town of Brainerd. Yet I found it hard to love this film. At brief moments (in depicting the relationship of policewoman Marge, played superbly by Frances McDormaid, and her husband), it feels astonishingly tender, yet at others, it feels as if it is simply making fun of the strange folks from outer America with the wacky accents and absurdly stoical demeanour. And the combination of deadpan acting and frankly silly plot excess sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Above all else, perhaps, 'Fargo' lacks a beating heart: while nearly moving, and nearly funny, there's a part of this film that refuses to commit itself, that prefers to hold back and mock not just its subjects, but also the idea that a film should take itself seriously. The Coens are widely celebrated as among the best film-makers of our age, but watching their films, I usually end up wondering whether irony is not a slightly over-rated virtue. Fargo looks lovely, and weird, and has a wry outlook all of it's own; but it won't make you laugh out loud, or cry. If it wasn't called a masterpiece I might almost like it.


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