7.7/10
144,584
253 user 84 critic

Primal Fear (1996)

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Molly Arrington
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Bud Yancy
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Tommy Goodman
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Joey Pinero
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Abel Stenner
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Martinez
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Archbishop Rushman
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Naomi Chance
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Alex
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Jack Connerman
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Storyline

Courtroom thriller about a slick, hotshot lawyer who takes the seemingly unwinnable case of a young altar boy accused of murdering an eminent catholic priest. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't believe everything you see... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief grisly violence, pervasive strong language and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iskonski strah  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

JPY 115,361,300 (Japan) (15 November 1996)

Gross:

$56,116,183 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edward Norton was among 2,100 actors who auditioned for the role of Aaron Stampler. Matt Damon was among one of the other actors and would eventually play the role of Private Ryan in Saving Private Ryan in which Edward Norton was considered. See more »

Goofs

While Vail, Tommy, and Naomi are discussing the porno tape, the blue screen of a computer monitor is reflected in Tommy's glasses. But in the reverse shot (showing Vail) the monitor is off. See more »

Quotes

[first lines, while getting dressed as Naomi helps him]
Martin Vail: On my first day of law school, my professor says two things. First was; "From this day forward, when your mother tells you she loves you, get a second opinion."
Jack Connerman: [chuckles] And?
Martin Vail: "If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you wanna get fucked, go to court."
See more »

Connections

Featured in Primal Fear: The Final Verdict (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Introitus: Cibavit Eos
by William Byrd
Performed by The Voices of Christ Church Cathedral Choir
Conducted by Stephen Darlington
Courtesy of Nimbus Records
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User Reviews

 
Three outstanding performances/characters (or "four?")
17 February 2007 | by (Tulsa OK) – See all my reviews

Edward Norton's debut was outstanding in this film, and his work since has confirmed his substantial talent.

Richard Gere was equally-proficient in his role as the big-shot defense attorney defending Norton's seemingly hapless "Aaron."

And Laura Linney - although in a role with less screen-time, was also equal in her performance as the prosecutor, and Gere's courtroom opposition and former lover.

The supporting roles were well-cast and played, and perhaps the only criticism to be given would be some brief sub-plot elements which weren't necessary to the main story, but really didn't detract from it significantly.

This film provides an excellent combination of courtroom- and psycho-drama - each excellent in its own right, and superb together in this presentation's plot.

Gripping, thoroughly-enjoyable entertainment.


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