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Blood Simple. (1984)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  18 January 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 63,745 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 253 user | 171 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.


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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Samm-Art Williams ...
Deborah Neumann ...
Raquel Gavia ...
Van Brooks ...
Man from Lubbock
Señor Marco ...
Mr. Garcia
William Creamer ...
Old Cracker
Loren Bivens ...
Strip Bar Exhorter
Bob McAdams ...
Strip Bar Senator
Shannon Sedwick ...
Nancy Finger ...
Girl on Overlook
William Preston Robertson ...
Radio Evangelist (voice) (as Rev. William Preston Robertson)


A bar-owner in Texas is certain that his wife is cheating on him and hires a private detective to spy on her. This is just the beginning of a complex plot which is full of misunderstandings and deceit. Ethan and Joel Cohen's first feature film. Written by Mark Logan <marklo@west.sun.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dead in the heart of Texas See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 January 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood Simple - Eine mörderische Nacht  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$42,971 (USA) (7 July 2000)


$2,150,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(original version)| (director's cut)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First film directed by the Coen brothers. See more »


When Marty is going to arrange the killings, he is wearing a ruby pinkie ring on his right hand. Minutes later, when sitting with Visser in the VW, the ring is a diamond horseshoe. See more »


[first lines]
Private Detective Visser: [narrating] The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... ...
See more »


Featured in Stephen King's World of Horror (1986) See more »


Performed by Maria Luisa Buchino and her Llameros
Courtesy of Monitor Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A great early Cohen film where the claustrophobic heat and tension seep from the screen
27 May 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Abby is cheating on husband Marty with his employee Ray. Unbeknownst to them, Marty has had the pair followed and caught in the act by an odious private detective. With Marty rejected he turns to the detective with an offer of money to kill the cheating lovers and dispose of the bodies. The detective accepts and, with Marty out of town to ensure an alibi, the plan seems so clear and simple to execute. However, where blood is involved, nothing ever runs smoothly or simple.

Watching No Country for Old Men recently put me in mind of Blood Simple and gave me an excuse to watch it again for the first time in about a decade. I was glad that I did because, although it is very slimmed down, all the themes and standards that continue with the Cohen brothers down the years. The film is a modern noir-ish crime thriller with a contained set of circumstances bringing death and ruin to all involved. The story is engaging but it does have holes within it but they are not serious enough to affect the flow. What carries it through everything though is the visual style and feel given to the film by the Cohen's. From the opening sequence in the car to the ever present roar of the incinerator to the sweating, cackling presence of the detective, the sparse dialogue just doesn't matter because of the delivery. As with No Country, you can feel the oppressive heat and tension in each scene and it makes for a satisfying film.

The cast play to this heat and tension with contained but tense performances. The standout is Walsh, whose sweaty moral void is the heart of the film. Hedaya is almost as good in a smaller role. The two "lead" characters suffer a little from being less interesting but nevertheless both Getz and McDormand are good. Blood Simple is a tight and short film with limited dialogue and little in the way of quick action. However what it does have is a wonderful sense of Texas and crime. The slow pace adds to the claustrophobic feel of heat, which in turns adds to the tension and the constant presence of death in the air. Amazing to think the Cohen brothers started getting it so right so early in their careers.

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