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Blood Simple. (1984)

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A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
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3,581 ( 699)
5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Getz ... Ray
Frances McDormand ... Abby
Dan Hedaya ... Julian Marty
M. Emmet Walsh ... Private Detective Loren Visser
Samm-Art Williams Samm-Art Williams ... Meurice
Deborah Neumann Deborah Neumann ... Debra
Raquel Gavia Raquel Gavia ... Landlady
Van Brooks Van Brooks ... Man from Lubbock
Señor Marco Señor Marco ... Mr. Garcia
William Creamer William Creamer ... Old Cracker
Loren Bivens Loren Bivens ... Strip Bar Exhorter
Bob McAdams Bob McAdams ... Strip Bar Senator
Shannon Sedwick Shannon Sedwick ... Stripper
Nancy Finger Nancy Finger ... Girl on Overlook
William Preston Robertson William Preston Robertson ... Radio Evangelist (voice) (as Rev. William Preston Robertson)
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Storyline

Texas bar owner Julian Marty, who is generally regarded as not a nice person, hires shady private detective Loren Visser, who is able to obtain what Marty requests evidence - in this instance, photographic - that his wife, Abby, and one of his bartenders, Ray, are having an affair. As Ray and Abby realize that Marty has found out about them, it allows them to plan for their future away from Marty, while be up front with Marty about the situation. Marty, in turn, decides to hire Visser once again, this time to kill Abby and Ray, and dispose of their bodies so that they won't be found. The out in the open affair and the contract hit lead to some actions based on self interest, and a standoff of sorts between the four players, which is compounded in complexity by some wrong assumptions of what has happened, with an innocent bystander, another of the Marty's bartenders, Meurice, potentially and unwittingly adding to the scenario. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dead in the heart of Texas See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 January 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Simplemente sangre See more »

Filming Locations:

Pflugerville, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$42,971, 9 July 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,150,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo (original version)| Dolby Digital (director's cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Piddock provided the voice of fictional film historian "Kenneth Loring" on the DVD audio commentary track, which was scripted by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. See more »

Goofs

When Ray and Marty are on the dark road, Ray is driving a 1966 Buick Skylark, but when he shifts gears we see a shot of a dashboard with a round speedometer marked in both MPH and KM/H. '66 Skylarks have a horizontal speedometer and would either be marked in MPH (USA) or KM/H (Canada), but not both. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Private Detective Visser: [narrating] The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Llamando a un ángel (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Dreams
By Don Gibson
Published by Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
Performed by Patsy Cline
Courtesy of MCA Records under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
First outing for the Coens is an outstanding 80's film noir thriller
24 July 2015 | by calvinnmeSee all my reviews

This is the Coen brothers' directorial film debut, and not only is it different from most other films in the Coens' catalog of work, it is just a different kind of film altogether. With a budget of just a little more than one million dollars and four main characters, the Coen brothers created a film noir thriller 35 years after the genre had expired. In this film the Coens demonstrate that if you have a conscience, a killing can be hard to carry out, but regardless of whether or not you have a conscience, a killing is hard to get away with.

Throughout the film, as is true in many film noirs, the audience is kept aware of most of what is really going on, which is a grand misunderstanding with very tragic consequences. The four characters are all being misled by the incomplete part of the jigsaw puzzle that each of them possesses. The setup is simple enough: Ray is having an affair with Abby, wife of his evil boss Marty. Marty gets angry about the situation and decides to pay a private eye to murder both of them. Things proceed to go as badly as possible for everyone from that point on as each of our characters are mainly motivated by mistrust - even the young lovers Ray and Abby.

What makes Blood Simple different from other Coen brothers films is he complete lack of humor throughout the entire film. Even the bleak "Fargo" is sprinkled with humor throughout. Equally noticeable is the cold remoteness that fills every square inch of this film which includes everything from Abby's Texas-sized apartment, to the flat open stretches of Texas landscape. This cold remoteness just seems to magnify the quiet terror of what is going on. For in this movie, the spilling of blood isn't clean, easy, or free of emotional consequence. For example, when one character is in the process of burying the "body" of someone he believed had been murdered by someone else, he finds out, much to his surprise, that the person is actually still alive. Now faced with the "necessity" of killing this person to cover up the crime, he finds the task impossible to do in a clean quick way - with a rifle. As a result, he winds up actually killing the person in the most horrible way possible - by simply ignoring the fact that he is still alive and burying him anyway - all because he is too queasy to commit the overt act of shooting someone himself. As we witness the sun come up on a day bereft of the life of the deceased and the entombment complete, it's very relieving to remember it's only a movie.

None of this is to say that Blood Simple isn't an enjoyable film. Seeing the characters and their lives come apart one by one will keep you riveted to your seat. We already know "who done it," we're just hanging around to see if the other characters figure out not only "who done it", but what it is that has been done in the first place. All the cast members were great and Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, and M. Emmett Walsh have gone on to bigger and better things since this movie was made. I just wonder what happened to John Getz, since he performed just as well as the other three only to remain largely unknown. With the exception of a small part in the remake of "The Fly" in 1986, I can't think of another film in which I've seen him.

In summary, the best thing about Blood Simple is that even if we always know what's happening, we never know what's going to happen next up to the very end. Highly recommended.


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