IMDb > Primal Fear (1996)
Primal Fear
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Primal Fear (1996) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 51 | slideshow) Videos (see all 6)
Primal Fear -- Trailer
Primal Fear -- Clip: Not guilty
Primal Fear -- A high profile lawyer defends a man accused of murdering an Archbishop
Primal Fear -- Clip: Roy
Primal Fear -- Clip: You know who I am?


User Rating:
7.7/10   138,387 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
William Diehl (novel)
Steve Shagan (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Primal Fear on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 April 1996 (USA) See more »
Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real. See more »
An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 13 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(174 articles)
Blair Witch Coming to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital in Early 2017
 (From TheHDRoom. 1 November 2016, 4:59 PM, PDT)

Blair Witch Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and VOD Release Details & Cover Art
 (From DailyDead. 1 November 2016, 11:48 AM, PDT)

Mindy Newell: I’m Twisted
 (From Comicmix. 31 October 2016, 10:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Full of holes but still enjoyable and inventive See more (249 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Gere ... Martin Vail

Laura Linney ... Janet Venable

John Mahoney ... John Shaughnessy

Alfre Woodard ... Judge Shoat

Frances McDormand ... Dr. Molly Arrington

Edward Norton ... Aaron

Terry O'Quinn ... Bud Yancy

Andre Braugher ... Tommy Goodman

Steven Bauer ... Joey Pinero

Joe Spano ... Abel Stenner

Tony Plana ... Martinez

Stanley Anderson ... Archbishop Rushman

Maura Tierney ... Naomi Chance

Jon Seda ... Alex

Reg Rogers ... Jack Connerman

Kenneth Tigar ... Weil
Brian Reddy ... Woodside
Christopher Carroll ... M.C.
Wendy Cutler ... Lou
Ron O.J. Parson ... Turner
Sigrid K. Zahner ... Vail's Secretary

Diann Burns ... WLS Anchor
Linda Yu ... WLS Anchor
Andy Shaw ... WLS Location Reporter
Mary Ann Childers ... WBBM Anchor

Lester Holt ... WBBM Anchor (as Lester D. Holt)
Sylvia Gomez ... WBBM Location Reporter
Jon Duncanson ... WBBM Location Reporter
David Eckert ... WGN Anchor
Robert Jordan ... WGN Anchor
Joanie Lum ... WGN Location Reporter
Randy Salerno ... WGN Location Reporter

Kyle Colerider-Krugh ... Postman

Joseph Luis Caballero ... Joe
Randall Slavin ... Young Boy

Mike Bacarella ... Sergeant

Turk Muller ... Precinct Jailer
Joseph F. Kosala ... Cop (as Joe Kosala)

Lenny Wilson ... Bartender
Peter Schreiner ... Bailiff
Joseph R. Ryan ... Old Man
Azalea Davila ... Linda
Wayne Wright ... Court Clerk

Tony Fitzpatrick ... Duty Officer
Clarence Williams Jr. ... Arresting Cop
Rosalie V. Lewis ... Stenographer
Dwight Brad Dyer ... Prison Guard
Larry Cook ... Pilot
Bob Kenney ... Pilot
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Antonio Bardales ... Choirboy (uncredited)

Mike Boss ... Cop (uncredited)

Greg Bronson ... Banquet Patron (uncredited)
Richard Hempton ... Inmate (uncredited)

Directed by
Gregory Hoblit 
Writing credits
William Diehl (novel)

Steve Shagan (screenplay) and
Ann Biderman (screenplay)

Produced by
Patricia Graf .... associate producer
Hawk Koch .... executive producer (as Howard W. Koch Jr.)
Gary Lucchesi .... producer
Robert McMinn .... co-producer
Arnold Rudnick .... associate producer
Original Music by
James Newton Howard 
Cinematography by
Michael Chapman (director of photography)
Film Editing by
David Rosenbloom 
Casting by
Deborah Aquila 
Production Design by
Jeannine Oppewall 
Art Direction by
William Arnold 
Set Decoration by
Cindy Carr 
Costume Design by
Betsy Cox 
Makeup Department
Hallie D'Amore .... key makeup artist
Sterfon Demings .... hair stylist
Elle Elliott .... hair stylist
Margaret E. Elliott .... makeup artist (as Margaret Elliott)
Kathrine Gordon .... hair stylist
Tom Lucas .... makeup artist: Mr. Gere
Carol Meikle .... hair stylist: Mr. Gere
Jeffrey Sacino .... key hair stylist (as Jeffrey M. Sacino)
Art Anthony .... special makeup effects: Chicago (uncredited)
Production Management
Robert Grand .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Xochi Blymyer .... second second assistant director
J. Stephen Buck .... first assistant director
Gary B. Goldman .... second second assistant director: Chicago (as Gary Goldman)
Randall Newsome .... second second assistant director: Chicago
Lucille OuYang .... second assistant director
Sharon Swab .... dga trainee
Art Department
Paul V. Allen Sr. .... set dresser: Chicago (as Paul Allen)
Randolph W. Andell .... assistant property master
P. Scott Bailey .... set dresser (as Scott Bailey)
Julie Brooke Beattie .... set dresser (as Julie Beattie)
Louisa Bonnie .... set designer
Mary A. Brady .... set dresser: Chicago (as Mary Brady)
Javier Carrillo .... propmaker foreperson
Daniel B. Clancy .... leadperson: Chicago
Francis N. 'Lucky' Costello .... painter (as Frank 'Lucky' Costello)
Jon Danniells .... lead man
Dave DeGaetano .... construction coordinator
Edward England .... construction coordinator: Chicago
Andrew P. Flores .... paint foreperson (as Andy Flores)
Joanna Gilliam .... set dresser
Robert M. Hagman .... propmaker foreperson (as Bob Hagman)
Aaron C. Holden Jr. .... assistant property master: Chicago
Jack Johnson .... production illustrator
Robert Kelter .... paint foreperson: Chicago (as Robert J. Kelter)
Erin Kemp .... set designer
Keith A. Kropf .... location foreman (as Keith Kropf)
Robin Laughlin .... paint foreperson (as Bob Laughlin)
Kacy Magedman .... art department coordinator
Quentin Matthys .... set dresser: Chicago
Steven B. Melton .... property master
Tom Osman .... art department coordinator: Chicago
Tyler Osman .... propmaker foreperson: Chicago
Tyler Patton .... set dresser
Walter J. Piers .... set dresser: Chicago (as Walter Piers)
Mark Poll .... set designer
Joel Prihoda .... labor foreperson: Chicago
Steven Rigamat .... propmaker foreperson (as Steven W. Rigamat)
Paul Stanwyck .... head scenic painter
William Tessaro .... location foreman (as Bill Tessaro)
Suzan Wexler .... assistant art director
Tim Wilp .... head painter: Chicago (as Timothy W. Wilp)
Ken Abraham .... set dresser (uncredited)
Anthony Joseph Fatigato .... painter (uncredited)
Sean Hood .... swing gang (uncredited)
William Lakoff .... set dresser (uncredited)
Michael W. Moore .... prop maker (uncredited)
Jeff O'Bannon .... laborer (uncredited)
Troy Osman .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Eric Yount .... carpenter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Bob Baron .... adr mixer
Pamela Bentkowski .... supervising foley editor (as Pam Bentkowski)
Allan Bromberg .... sound effects editor
Steve Cantamessa .... sound mixer
Kevin E. Carpenter .... re-recording mixer
Anne Couk .... assistant sound editor
Joe Dorn .... supervising adr editor
Patrick J. Foley .... dialogue editor (as Patrick Foley)
Bruce Fortune .... supervising sound editor
Cameron Frankley .... sound effects editor
Dana LeBlanc Frankley .... apprentice sound editor (as Dana LeBlanc)
Marilyn Graf .... foley mixer
Jeffrey J. Haboush .... re-recording mixer
Robin Harlan .... foley artist
Scott La Rue .... cable person (as Scott LaRue)
Courtenay Marvin .... assistant sound editor
Anthony Milch .... sound effects editor (as Tony Milch)
Sarah Monat .... foley artist
Jeffrey R. Payne .... dialogue editor (as Jeff Payne)
Carin Rogers .... supervising dialogue editor
Robert Schaper .... re-recording mixer
Randy Singer .... foley mixer
Thomas W. Small .... foley editor (as Thomas Small)
Greg Stacy .... sound effects editor
Mike Szakmeister .... dialogue editor
Gary Thomas .... boom operator
Bill Ward .... assistant sound editor
Daryl Ziemke .... utility sound: Chicago
Matt Colleran .... transfer recordist (uncredited)
Mark L. Mangino .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
Ron Meredith .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Don Riozz McNichols .... special effects: Chicago (as Donald Rio McNichols)
Matthew W. Mungle .... special effects makeup (as Matthew Mungle)
Tom Ryba .... special effects coordinator: Chicago (as Thomas P. Ryba)
Visual Effects by
Rob Burton .... visual effects supervisor: DQI
Mark Galvin .... visual effects executive producer: DQI
Mike Gunning .... visual effects producer: DQI
Michael S. Harbour .... 3D church modeling: Dream Quest Images
Michael S. Harbour .... 3D church rendering: Dream Quest Images (as Michael Harbour)
Rory Hinnen .... data management
Jen Howard .... digital artist: Dream Quest Images
Rick Lopez .... output technician: DQI
Rick Lopez .... scanning: DQI
John Murrah .... technical supervisor: Dream Quest Images
Lanier Edwards .... stunts
Rick Le Fevour .... stunts
Ray Lykins .... stunts
Ernie F. Orsatti .... stunt coordinator (as Ernie Orsatti)
Noon Orsatti .... stunts
Denney Pierce .... stunts
Scott Blackwood .... stunt double (uncredited)
Tom Lowell .... stunts (uncredited)
Carl Paoli .... stunt double: Richard Gere (uncredited)
Linda Perlin .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Patric J. Abaravich .... best boy electric (as Patric Abaravich)
Audie Aragon .... dolly grip (as Audi Aragon)
Jeff Beebe .... grip
Alphonse Blumenthal .... assistant chief lighting technician: Chicago
Tom Bookout .... grip (as Thomas Bookout)
George W. Borthwick .... grip (as George Wells Borthwick)
David Boyd .... second camera operator
Steve Bradarich .... video playback operator: Chicago
Mark Burnett .... video assist operator
Paul Caven .... electrician (as Paul 'Bones' Caven)
Chris Collins .... second assistant camera: Chicago
Armando Contreras .... grip
Gerrit Dangremond .... camera operator: Chicago
Ben Felthouse .... rigging electrician
Chris Freres .... second company grip: Chicago
Scot Gaal .... assistant chief rigging lighting technician (as Scott Gaal)
Joe Gallo .... electrician (as Joseph Gallo)
Bill Guerre .... rigging electrician (as William Guerre)
Michael R. Gurasich .... second assistant camera (as Michael Gurasich)
Steven Hiller .... first assistant camera: Chicago
Frank M. Holgate .... aerial camera operator: Chicago (as Frank Holgate)
John Hudecek .... dolly grip: Chicago
Kenji Inouye .... second company grip
Frederick Irving .... electrician (as Frederick E. Irving)
Gina Isaacs .... electrician
Ed Jackson .... second company rigging grip (as Edward A. Jackson)
William T. Jones .... first company rigging grip (as Wm. T. 'Jake' Jones)
Greg Kittelson .... electrician
Tommy Klines .... second assistant camera
Jono Kouzouyan .... chief lighting technician
Morgan Michael Lewis .... first company grip: Chicago
Anthony J. Lullo .... assistant chief lighting technician: Chicago (as Anthony Lullo)
Mark Marcum .... video supervisor
Donald Navarrete .... rigging electrician
Ron Phillips .... still photographer
R. Bruce Prochal .... chief rigging lighting technician (as Bruce Prochal)
Bill Roe .... camera operator
Rodney Sandoval .... camera loader
Brett Santucci .... grip
Steven Silverstein .... second assistant camera: Chicago
Mark Simon .... camera operator: Chicago
Michael 'Dutch' Van Woert .... assistant chief lighting technician (as 'Dutch' Van Woert)
Zoran Veselic .... first assistant camera
John Waldo .... second assistant camera: Chicago
Thomas E. Whalen .... video assist operator: Chicago
Sandy Williams .... first company grip (as Walter 'Sandy' Williams)
Ignacio Woolfolk .... rigging grip
David Norris .... camera technician: Wescam camera (uncredited)
Casting Department
Tony Hobbs .... extras casting: Central/Cennex Casting
Tracy Kaplan .... casting: Chicago
DeVera Marcus .... voice casting (as Dee Marcus)
Karen Miller .... casting associate
Karen Peake .... extras casting: Chicago
Alex Wald .... casting assistant (as Alex Rosenberg)
Tricia Wood .... casting assistant
Patti Carns Kalles .... casting: Seattle (uncredited)
Jason James .... casting: Seattle (uncredited)
Regina Prokop .... extras casting coordinator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lori DeLapp .... costumer (as Lori McClellen)
Kimberly Guenther Durkin .... costume supervisor (as Kimberly Guenther)
Elaine Perlmann .... costumer (as Elaine Davis)
Gary J. Saldutti .... costumer
Adrienne Wait .... costumer
Heather Pollock .... set costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Jana Lynn Gold .... assistant film editor
Phil Hetos .... color timer
Douglas Kunin .... assistant film editor
Farrel Levy .... additional editor (as Farrel Jane Levy)
Skip Macdonald .... assistant film editor
Wendi Jill Raderman .... assistant film editor
Theresa Repola Mohammed .... negative cutter
Location Management
Jacolyn Baker .... location manager: Chicago (as Jacolyn J. Baker)
Mark Mamalakis .... assistant location manager: Chicago
John Panzarella .... location manager
Leslie Thorson .... assistant location manager
James R. McAllister .... location assistant (uncredited)
Music Department
Terence Blanchard .... musician: horn solos
Brad Dechter .... orchestrator
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra contractor (as Sandy De Crescent)
James Newton Howard .... orchestrator
Artie Kane .... conductor
Jo Ann Kane .... music preparation
Tom Kramer .... preview music editor
Michael Mason .... music scoring coordinator
Shawn Murphy .... score mixer
Shawn Murphy .... score recordist
David Olson .... assistant music editor
J. Peter Robinson .... composer: incidental source music
Jim Weidman .... music editor
John Beal .... composer: trailer (uncredited)
Denise Carver .... music consultant (uncredited)
Dan Goldwasser .... soundtrack producer (uncredited)
Frank Macchia .... music preparation (uncredited)
Michael Mason .... score co-producer (uncredited)
James Thatcher .... musician: French horn (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Steve Brodsky .... transportation coordinator (as Steven Brodsky)
Michael P. Deal .... transportation captain: Chicago
Craig Fehrman .... transportation captain
James Hogan .... transportation captain: Chicago (as James A. Hogan)
Thaddeus E. Larkowski .... transportation coordinator: Chicago
Gaston Veilleux .... transportation captain
Robert Wallace .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Rashied Aljuwani .... craft service
Dana Armonda .... production assistant: Chicago
Jeffrey Berk .... assistant production coordinator
Jeanne Bischoff .... legal technical advisor
Michele Bock .... production assistant
Robert Breech .... legal technical advisor
Raymond Bulinski .... craft service: Chicago
Douglas M. Cambell .... craft service (as Doug Campbell)
Michael Elyanow .... assistant: Mr. Hoblit
Leslie Anne Engel .... production assistant: Chicago (as Leslie Engel)
Orlando García .... chef (as Orlando Garcia)
George Gonzalez .... chef helper
Patricia Graf .... assistant: Mr. Hoblit
Jennifer Greenfield .... assistant: Mr. Gere
Julie Herman .... production assistant: Chicago
James C. Hoffman .... production assistant
Rachel Hudgins .... assistant: Mr. Gere
Steve Hurley .... legal technical advisor (as Stephen Hurley)
Christine Hurrey .... payroll auditor
Pamela Jaeckle .... production coordinator
Brendan C. Kennedy .... assistant: Mr. Koch Jr.: as Brendan Kennedy
Emily Koch .... assistant: Mr. Lucchesi
Scott R. Kowalchyk .... production assistant (as Scott Kowalchyk)
Robyn L. Kreger .... assistant: Mr. Koch Jr. (as Robyn Kreger)
Kevin Landry .... production auditor (as Kevin E. Landry)
Matt Luber .... assistant: Mr. Lucchesi
Leslie Mikol .... production assistant: Chicago
Fae Moore .... production assistant
Gerald F. Nichols .... production assistant: Chicago
Phill Norman .... title designer
Sandy O'Neill .... unit publicist
Lisa J. Olin .... legal clearances
Jesus Padillo .... chef helper (as Jesus Padilla)
Brian C. Pawlowski .... production assistant: Chicago (as Brian Pawlowski)
John Rash .... assistant production auditor
John Redmond .... police technical advisor
Sharron Reynolds .... script supervisor (as Sharron Reynolds-Enriquez)
Jeff Richman .... production assistant: Chicago
Jessica Sandler .... production assistant
Gene Strange .... assistant production auditor
Robert H. Turlington .... production assistant (as Robert Turlington)
Bekki Vallin .... assistant production coordinator: Chicago
Carolyn White .... assistant production coordinator (as Carolyn J. White)
Laurel Wolowic .... production assistant: Chicago
Frank Catalano .... adr (uncredited)
William M. DeLuca .... mechanic (uncredited)
Carol Riggins .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for brief grisly violence, pervasive strong language and a sex scene
129 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Alfre Woodard's role was originally written as a 60-year old White male.See more »
Continuity: When Vail and Shaughnessy are having dinner in the Asian restaurant, the rib on Shaughnessy's plate disappears between shots.See more »
Judge Miriam Shoat:[in her chambers] If you think you're going to my courtroom to wage personal vendettas and settle old scores you are sorely mistaken I'm striking Shaughnessy's testimony as irrelevant and I'm holding in contempt in the of ten thousand dollars
Martin Vail:So what you're telling me is I can't get a fair trial in your courtroom?
Judge Miriam Shoat:Be very careful in here, you're on dangerous ground here
Martin Vail:Fine do you want me to make that check out to you judge?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "The Flash: Magenta (#3.3)" (2016)See more »
Introitus: Cibavit EosSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
45 out of 72 people found the following review useful.
Full of holes but still enjoyable and inventive, 1 February 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

When an altar boy, Aaron Stampler, is accused of murdering a priest, the media-friendly, arrogant lawyer Martin Vail takes the case (and the headlines). However he discovers that the boy is not all he seems and that there may have been a third person in the room when the priest was murdered. However his plea is fixed and he must work the case to turn things back to his advantage.

Years ago, the UK did a day where the Government subsidised cinemas to offer all tickets for £1. On that day I had nothing I wanted to see but I thought (like thousands other) that a saving of £3 (at the time) was too good to miss, so I went to see this film despite my caution when it comes to courtroom thrillers. The plot here is so very full of holes that it is a wonder that the whole film doesn't fall into itself, however it just about manages to succeed by being quite clever and significantly different from the usual courtroom stuff (although it does still have the same faults as the rest of the genre).

The film is a lot darker than many courtroom thrillers; first of all, Vail is not a sympathetic character - he is arrogant and conceited, and the film never really offers him redemption at any point. Likewise the climax of the film is not the usual genre twist - or rather, it is, but not in the usual way. The film's main weakness however is that it is at least 20 minutes too long. The revelations about Roy happen but then are forgotten for about 10 minutes and then raised again before being put aside again. I really can't even understand why the film feels so padded at points in the middle when really that was when the Roy thing kicks in and the film should have stepped up a gear in a flash. That it doesn't is a problem, but not an insurmountable one, as it does slowly get faster towards a downbeat conclusion that is enjoyably different from the usual Perry Mason style twist (although it is a twist).

I'm by no means a Richard Gere fan, but he does a very good job here. He never wants to be a good guy here and he plays it well. However the film is driven by a great performance from Norton, marking himself out as one to watch in coming years. His dual roles are great and the film would have failed if he hadn't been able to carry it off. The support cast is surprisingly deep with people who were either well-known at the time or became famous later. When a cast includes Mahoney, McDormand, Woodard, Linney, Seda, and Braugher then it is worth a look - although some of them have very small roles there are no weak links. However it is a credit to Norton that he stands shoulder to shoulder with all of them and is the one that sticks in the mind long after it finishes.

Overall this is an enjoyable courtroom thriller that only struggles in the middle with an inability to really just let rip. It's ironic, but I enjoyed it because it was less showy and so on when compared to others of the genre, but it could have benefited from knowing when to let go sooner. However the cast is top notch and the unlikely plot is held together by a low key Gere and a fantastic central performance(s) from Norton.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (249 total) »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Fracture The Secret in Their Eyes Presumed Innocent Michael Clayton Basic Instinct
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.