Fury (1936)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  29 May 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,353 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 43 critic

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to frame the mob for his murder.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
District Attorney
Kirby Dawson
Edward Ellis ...
'Bugs' Meyers
George Walcott ...
Arthur Stone ...
Morgan Wallace ...
Fred Garrett
George Chandler ...
Milton Jackson
Roger Gray ...
Howard C. Hickman ...
Governor (as Howard Hickman)
Jonathan Hale ...
Defense Attorney


Based on the story "Mob Rule" by Norman Krasna. Joe Wilson and Katherine Grant are in love, but he doesn't have enough money for them to get married. So Katherine moves across the country to make money. But things go disastrously wrong for Joe when he stops in a small town and is mistaken for a wanted murderer. Through the course of the movie, Fritz Lang shows us how a decent and once civilized man can become a ruthless and bitter man. Written by Andre'a M. Thompson <athompso@ziggy.st.hmc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TWO LOVERS...VICTIMS OF MOB VIOLENCE! (original 1936 window card poster)


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 May 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mob Rule  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Several cast members in studio records/casting call lists for this movie were not seen in the final print. These were (with their character names): Ralph Bushman (Young Teacher), Lew Harvey (Mug in Poolroon), Jack Perry (Man in Poolroom), Duke York (Taxi Driver), Erville Alderson (Plumber), Edward LeSaint (Doctor), Clara Blandick (Judge's Wife), Ward Bond (First Objector in Movie Theater) and Charles Coleman (Innkeeper) See more »


When the newsreel of the attempted lynching is run during the trial scene, the frame of the newsreel is frozen several times, in order to show the defendants as having taken part in the crime. But while the newsreel projector is supposed to have stopped, the ticking of the projector continues in the background, as if the film were still running. See more »


Joe Wilson: The mob doesn't think. It has no mind of its own.
See more »


References Metropolis (1927) See more »


Popeye the Sheriff Man
One line sung by one of the mob to the tune of "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" (1933)
Words and Music by Samuel Lerner
See more »

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User Reviews

Tormentors and the tormented given Lang's gifted touch.
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Out of MGM, Fury is directed by Fritz Lang and stars Spencer Tracy and Sylvia Sidney and features Walter Abel, Bruce Cabot, Edward Ellis and Walter Brennan in support. It's adapted by Lang and Bartlett Cormack from the story Mob Rule written by Norman Krasna. Loosely based around the events that surrounded both the Brooke Hart murder in 1933, and the Lindbergh kidnapping/murder case in 1932, the story sees Tracy as Joe Wilson, an innocent man who is jailed and apparently killed in a fire started by a rampaging lynch mob. However, as the lynch mob go on trial for his murder, Joe surfaces but is twisted by thoughts of revenge on those who happily watched him burn.

Widely considered a classic, this first Hollywood outing from director Fritz Lang is a remarkable look at mob violence and one man's limit pushed to its breaking point; and then some. That Lang survived studio interference to craft such a penetrating study of injustice is a minor miracle. Fury is neatly put together as a story, the calm before the storm as Joe & Kath are brought to us as the happy face of Americana. Then it's the middle section as rumours run out of control, the dangers of idle prattling rammed home as things start to escalate out of control-culminating in the savage assault on the jail {a gusto infused action sequence indeed}. Then the fall out of mob rule actions-the court case and Joe's malevolent force of vengeance-that in turn comes under scrutiny.

The film was said to have been Lang's favourite American film, which is understandable given it bares all his trademarks. The expressionistic touches, shadow play dalliances and supreme cross-cutting between tormentors and the tormented, for sure this is prime Lang, with no frame wasted either. While it's no stretch of the imagination to think that Lang, having fled Nazi Germany, was pondering what he left behind as he moulded the picture together. Of the cast, Tracy is majestic as our main protagonist, while Sidney is brightly big eyed and hugely effective as the moral centre of Joe's universe.

Controversial at the time, the film has naturally lost some of its power over the decades. But as the film points out with its lynching statistics, there was once a time when inhumanity was able to rear its ugly head in the blink of an eye. Fury serves to remind two-fold that not only is it a potent social commentary, but also that it's a damn fine piece of cinema. 9/10

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