Up 281 this week

Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 9,643 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 55 user | 26 critic | 18 from

Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.



(book), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 42 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 38 titles
created 2 months ago
a list of 28 titles
created 2 months ago
a list of 25 titles
created 2 months ago
a list of 29 titles
created 4 weeks ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Reversal of Fortune (1990) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Reversal of Fortune.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Waterland (1992)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Tom Crick, a high school history teacher, is having trouble connecting - with his class, with his wife. He ventures into telling his class stories about his young adulthood in the Fens ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Ethan Hawke
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
12 Angry Men (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. The abused and suppressed children of the villagers seem to be at the heart of this mystery.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch
Spider (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman struggles to interact with her family and find her place in society after spending fifteen years in prison.

Director: Philippe Claudel
Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein, Serge Hazanavicius
Doubt I (2008)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Catholic school principal questions a priest's ambiguous relationship with a troubled young student.

Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Bent on winning a Pulitzer Prize, a journalist commits himself to a mental institution to solve a strange and unclear murder.

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Peter Breck, Constance Towers, Gene Evans
The Snake Pit (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A doctor treats a woman suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.

Director: Nunnally Johnson
Stars: Joanne Woodward, David Wayne, Lee J. Cobb
Lantana (2001)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The relationships of four couples unravel after the discovery of a young woman's body in Lantana bush in suburban Sydney.

Director: Ray Lawrence
Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Geoffrey Rush, Barbara Hershey
About Elly (2009)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of middle-class friends travel from Tehran to spend the weekend at the seaside. Sepideh invites Elly, who is her daughter's teacher, to travel with the three families in order to ... See full summary »

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sunny von Bülow / Narrator
Maria, Sunny's Personal Maid
Jack Gilpin ...
Peter MacIntosh, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Andrea Reynolds, Claus' Girlfriend
Minnie, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Mano Singh ...
Raj, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Johann Carlo ...
Keith Reddin ...
Dobbs, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Alan Pottinger ...
Chuck, Dershowitz's Student Staff


Alan Dershowitz a brilliant professor of law is hired by wealthy socialite Claus von Bulow to attempt to overturn his two convictions for attempted murder of his extremely wealthy wife. Based on a true story the film concentrates not on the trial like other legal thrillers, but on the preparatory work that Dershowitz and his students put in as they attempt to disprove the prosecution's case and achieve the Reversal of Fortune of the title. Written by Mark Thompson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Case of Claus Von Bulow. An American Saga of Money and Mystery.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

October 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El misterio Von Bulow  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,445,131 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Julie Hagerty:  Alexandra See more »


Claus von Bulow's ring moves from his right hand to his left hand, and back repeatedly. See more »


Claus von Bülow: Oh, I've been meaning to mention. Our understanding about... my extracurricular activities...
Sunny von Bülow: Mmm?
Claus von Bülow: I've been involved with someone who... falls outside the parameters of our agreement.
See more »


References Dark Shadows (1966) See more »


Performed by Eva Marton with the London Philharmonic
Written by Richard Wagner
Arranged by Arpád Joó (conductor)
Courtesy of Sefel Records
Division of Phoenix Entertainment Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Prince Of Perversion
16 December 2012 | by (Greenwich, CT United States) – See all my reviews

When a rich but difficult-to-live-with woman turns up in a coma, suspicions naturally fall upon her someone sinister spouse. But even a guilty man deserves a fair trial, or so a committed legal scholar believes in a film about skewed viewpoints that plays with our own point of view.

First-billed actor Glenn Close plays Sunny von Bülow in a bed for much of the film, either laid out in a druggy haze or in a full-fledged coma from which she tells us she won't emerge. That leaves Ron Silver as legal eagle Alan Dershowitz handling most of the action arranging a fresh defense for convicted murderer Claus von Bülow, whom Jeremy Irons plays with slick tragi-comic flair.

"Let the chips fall where they may!" he tells Dershowitz when warned about the perils of seeking out the truth.

"That's what an innocent man would say," a skeptical Dersh replies.

"I know," says smug Claus with a lazy pull at his cigarette. Is he sincere, or playing a part?

Director Barbet Schroeder seems to have a thing about the tricky ground where power and morality meet: He made his name with a documentary of dictator Idi Amin that came in two versions, a friendlier one for Amin's domestic distribution in Uganda and a less guarded version for international distribution. Here he seems to enjoy his proximity to another devil, albeit one who may be innocent after all.

We certainly root for Claus, mainly because Irons plays him in a way that makes him an underdog, whether against the legal system or Dershowitz's team of young lawyers who mock him about his sex life. "We can't all be like you," he tells Dershowitz after the latter goes off on him for his lack of apparent concern about his vegetative wife, and there's a trace of real feeling in his line reading.

He seems less a cold-blooded killer than the emotionally-stunted product of a rich society, in a way not much different from poor Sunny. She wants to lie in bed smoking and pill-popping while he wants a career, not to mention a little time with a pretty soap-opera actress. "You marry me for my money, then you demand to work," she huffs. "You're the prince of perversion."

We are encouraged to see him that way, too, although not necessarily a criminal one. He lives a life so far removed from normal human interaction and concerns that he seems to enjoy his little jests even if no one else can - except the audience, which makes us a little perverse, too.

"Reversal Of Fortune" has a lot of great moments, but plenty of duff ones, too. There's a subplot about a sleazy gadabout played with zest by Fisher Stevens that never gels with the main story, and neither does an attempt at shoehorning some romance for Dershowitz with one of his assistants. Nicholas Kazan delivers a smart script but does get stuck in the weeds trying to get across a good deal of information.

Silver is great though, giving pound for pound the film's best performance even if Close is first-billed and Irons won the Best Actor Oscar. You need a center for a film like this, and someone who's morally grounded, but Dershowitz is presented as that here only in a relative sense. He not only takes Claus's case despite his belief of his guilt, but can even joke about wanting to defend Hitler in a court of law, just so he can kill him after by himself.

Is Dershowitz the film's real prince of perversion? Schroeder and crew aren't saying, but you can tell they're having fun making you think.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Cigarettes Jazztiger
Klaus Didn't Do It!! sanctifiedminister
Glenn Close henry175
What happened with Dershowitz's other case? wcspiderfan
Scene missing from VHS? Pangborne
This was a great movie imadancingchick
Discuss Reversal of Fortune (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: