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Reversal of Fortune (1990)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Mystery  |  9 November 1990 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 10,495 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 56 user | 26 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 15 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

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Cast

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

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 <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

9 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El misterio Von Bulow  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$15,445,131 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martha Sunny von Bulow died December 6, 2008, at age 76. She spent the last 28 years of her life in a coma. See more »

Goofs

In the opening shot flying over the estates in Newport, visitors are at some of the mansions. In 1983, some mansions, like The Breakers and Marble House, were open to the public. See more »

Quotes

Sunny von Bülow: [narrating] Claus von Bülow was given a second trial, and acquitted on both counts. This is all you can know, all you can be told. When you get where I am, you will know the rest.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

SEA GULL
Courtesy of Lyrichord Discs Inc.
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User Reviews

Lifestyles of the rich and murderous
29 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ron Silver is Alan Dershowitz, the brilliant attorney who takes on Claus von Bulow's murder conviction on appeal in "Reversal of Fortune," a 1990 film starring Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons, beautifully directed by Barbet Schroeder. The film, of course, is based on the notorious von Bulow case. Sunny von Bulow was a socialite who became brain dead, and her husband, Claus, was accused of injecting her with insulin in an attempt to kill her. Sunny lived in a coma for nearly 28 years.

Sunny (Close) herself narrates the story, beginning when Claus (Irons) calls Dershowitz and asks him to take his appeal. Dershowitz takes the case and involves his law students (including a very young Felicity Huffman) in it.

It's all left pretty ambiguous - Sunny tells us that this is all we can know for now. Though von Bulow was found guilty of attempted murder at the first trial, Dershowitz won his appeal, and von Bulow was found not guilty at a second trial. After that, von Bulow moved to England. Since his daughter Cosima had taken his side in the case, Cosima's maternal grandmother disinherited her. In order to get her back in the will, von Bulow gave up any claim to Sunny's money.

Glenn Close is excellent as the unhappy Sunny - a woman beset by health and weight problems as well as drug addiction and her husband's infidelity. But the backbone of the story is the character of Claus, and here Jeremy Irons does a fantastic job and deservedly received an Oscar for it. He is cold, unemotional, snobbish, and really makes you wonder if he did it or not.

There are other good performances in the film, including that of Fisher Stevens as a supposed witness, the great Uta Hagen as Sunny's devoted maid, Christine Baranski as Claus' new girlfriend ("I told him, get the Jew," she tells Dershowitz), and Julie Hagerty as Alexandra Isles.

After the first trial, I transcribed an interview with one of the jurors, and boy, did he think Claus did it. Despite the second verdict, "did he or didn't he" is a shadow that will always hang over Claus von Bulow.


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