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Fargo (1996)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  5 April 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 415,663 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 798 user | 186 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

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.


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Top Rated Movies #154 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 69 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kristin Rudrüd ...
Irate Customer
Sally Wingert ...
Irate Customer's Wife
Kurt Schweickhardt ...
Car Salesman
Larissa Kokernot ...
Shep Proudfoot (as Steven Reevis)
Warren Keith ...
Steve Edelman ...
Morning Show Host
Sharon Anderson ...


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


A homespun murder story. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

5 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Фарго  »

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$137,301 (USA) (19 July 1996)


£1,204,540 (UK) (19 July 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While first screening Fargo, Gene Siskel leaned over to fellow critic and co-host Roger Ebert and said with a smile "this is why we love movies." Siskel & Ebert went on to name Fargo the best film of 1996. See more »


In Brainerd, when Officer Olson interviews Mr. Mohra about the guy "going crazy at the lake," they each refer to lakes that are nowhere near Brainerd. Officer Olson asks if it's White Bear Lake, about 130 miles southeast of Brainerd. Mr. Mohra tells him it was Moose Lake. Minnesota has more than 1 Moose Lake, but the closest one is in adjacent Cass County, which is outside of the Brainerd Police department's jurisdiction. The error is repeated later, when Marge Gunderson says she is on patrol around Moose Lake. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Fargo: Morton's Fork (2014) See more »


Feels So Good
Written and performed by Chuck Mangione
© 1977 Gates Music Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A masterpiece of Shakesperean proportions
11 November 2004 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

I've always thought Fargo would make a great Shakesperean play; you could alter the modern elements and still have created a buzz 400 years ago in suburban England. Indeed, the plot is similar to Hamlet's, in that they both have characters we root for who create zany plans than end up spinning wildly out of control into bloodshed. Many people seem to like Fargo for its humorous qualities, its characterization of the Minnesotan culture and Frances McDormand- not me. I love Fargo for its brilliant writing, its tragic musical score, its tragic plot, William H Macy, Harve Presnell and Steve Buscemi, its ignorance of political correctness (how many movies can you remember when the only two minority characters were both revealed to be creeps).I want to draw attention to an overlooked reason why the film works so well - how well the music suits the visuals in this movie. Each murder scene is scored superbly, and other audio clues really add to the effect (for instance, notice how when the police officer asks Carl Showalter "What's this?" in reference to the abductee, a disquieting guitar sound is immediately played that has an instantaneous psychological effect on how you interpret the scene). I have seen this film over, well, an embarrassing number of times and have committed its screenplay, from start to finish, by memory. Fargo is the ultimate Coen Brothers movie, a brilliant tragedy, and restores my faith in Roger Ebert as he places this movie in as his fourth favorite movie of the '90s.

282 of 402 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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