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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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

A homespun murder story. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Release Date:

5 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Фарго  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$25,882,374 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Coens wrote the scene at the restaurant with Mike to develop Marge's character outside of the case or her marriage. See more »

Goofs

The irate customer says he was paying "Ninteen Five for that car!". The MSRP for a loaded brand new 1987 Cutlass Cierra was $12,357 which the customer would have seen on the window sticker and far below his original quote. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Lawyer (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Published by Blue Seas Music, Inc. and JAC Music Co., Inc.
Recording courtesy Alshire International
Muzak heard playing while Marge and Norm Gunderson are at an all-you-can-eat buffet
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Could have been good, but just plain annoying.
27 June 2003 | by (Toronto, Ont.) – See all my reviews

I can only classify this film as a missed opportunity. While it did have a good storyline, worthy of a film noir, and some very good performances, especially by William H. Macy (you can almost see him crumbling under the weight of not just his crimes, but his cover-ups as well), it is tainted by the Coen brothers' directorial style. What made it intolerable for me was the amount of "quirkiness" that was injected into every single character, scene, and situation. Taken alone, each little quirk is not a big deal, but after so many of them, one after another, it just gets too much to stomach.

Some examples...

The title: The movie takes place mostly in Minneapolis (which isn't quirky enough -- that's where the Mary Tyler Moore Show took place, after all), and Brainerd (and nobody would go see a movie called "Brainerd"). About 5 minutes of screen time were set in Fargo, and Fargo has a quirky-enough sound.

"True" story: Just because a story is true, does that make it a better story? There is both good and bad fiction and non-fiction. So, what is gained by lying about whether a story is true or not? Quirkiness! See, if you believe this story is true, then all this quirkiness must be true too!

Names: Character names were given as Grimsrud, Lundegaard, Showalter and Gunderson. Apparently, Scandinavian-sounding names (especially with a double-a) are much quirkier than Pryce, Lopez, Rossi and Sheppard.

The weather: The snow and the cold serve no purpose but to make the characters put on parkas and snow boots, which make them look quirky. For instance, when the policeman was talking with the man shoveling his driveway, and had to put his hood up so far you couldn't see his face. Quirky! However, anyone who lives in a cold climate knows that when the sky is that grey and the snow is as wet as the stuff he was shoveling, it isn't all that cold...

Accents: Whether or not people actually talk "like that", what's the point of everyone talking like some country bumpkin, even the ones in the fairly large city of Minneapolis? Accents: quirky. No accents: not quirky.

Pregnancy: Apart from making the lead character wobble when she walked, and to give her a convenient excuse to throw up every once in a while, what exactly was the point of making the police chief pregnant? Ah yes, another quirk.

The old friend: A cop meeting an old high school flame at a bar. Sounds kinda dull, right? Well, let's quirk it up a bit. Make the cop a woman -- no, wait: a pregnant woman. Make the guy Oriental. Make it totally unnecessary to the plot. Now we're talkin' quirky!

By the time we get to the end, we're almost surprised that Macy's character sold plain old GM cars instead of Austin Minis or VW Beetles. The whole thing feels like the directors had no confidence in the subject matter, so they slathered on layer after layer of quirks in the hope the audience wouldn't notice.

In the end, it just becomes an exercise in frustration, as a movie that had everything going for it just turns you off after one wink and a poke in the ribs too many.


59 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why no sympathy for Jean Lundegaard? angela-corvaia
Did anyone feel bad for Jerry? cathy-creswell
What is your absolute favorite line/moment from Fargo? alanjkim
Seen this a million times cheryllchance
Anyone from Minnesota? Why does Marge say Ya all the time? frank_zaal
Why is this film great? cartesianthought
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