7.2/10
13,608
64 user 37 critic

Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.

Director:

Barbet Schroeder

Writers:

Alan M. Dershowitz (book) (as Alan Dershowitz), Nicholas Kazan (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Wife and husband, both actors, play a couple in love from the Victorian era. Soon they begin to feel that fiction interweaves into reality.

Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer
Damage (1992)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A member of Parliament falls passionately in love with his son's fiancée despite the dangers of discovery.

Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche, Miranda Richardson
Betrayal (1983)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Pinter's semi-autobiographical play examining the surprise attraction, shy first steps, gradual flowering, and treasonous deception of a woman's extramarital affair with her husband's best ... See full summary »

Director: David Hugh Jones
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsley, Patricia Hodge
M. Butterfly (1993)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1960s China, French diplomat Rene Gallimard falls in love with an opera singer, Song Liling - but Song is not at all who Gallimard thinks.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, John Lone, Barbara Sukowa
Being Julia (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Set in 1930s London, this movie involves stage actors and actresses and their experiences with love and revenge.

Director: István Szabó
Stars: Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, Maury Chaykin
The Grifters (1990)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend--both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening
Jagged Edge (1985)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wealthy woman is murdered in her beach house. The husband is allegedly knocked out first. He inherits all her inherited wealth. He has a female corporate lawyer, criminal prosecutor 4 years ago, represent him in court. Guilty?

Director: Richard Marquand
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote
Waterland (1992)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Tom Crick, a high school history teacher, is having trouble connecting - with his class, with his wife. He ventures into telling his class stories about his young adulthood in the Fens ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, Ethan Hawke
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A rancher, his clairvoyant wife and their family face turbulent years in South America in this adaptation of Isabel Allende's best-seller.

Director: Bille August
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Maria Conchita Alonso
The Mission (1986)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Close ... Sunny von Bulow
Jeremy Irons ... Claus von Bulow
Ron Silver ... Alan Dershowitz
Annabella Sciorra ... Sarah
Uta Hagen ... Maria
Fisher Stevens ... David Marriott
Jack Gilpin ... Peter MacIntosh
Christine Baranski ... Andrea Reynolds
Stephen Mailer ... Elon Dershowitz
Christine Dunford ... Ellen
Felicity Huffman ... Minnie
Mano Singh Mano Singh ... Raj
Johann Carlo ... Nancy
Keith Reddin Keith Reddin ... Dobbs
Alan Pottinger Alan Pottinger ... Chuck
Edit

Storyline

Alan Dershowitz a brilliant professor of law is hired by wealthy socialite Claus von Bulow to attempt to overturn his two convictions for attempted murder of his extremely wealthy wife. Based on a true story the film concentrates not on the trial like other legal thrillers, but on the preparatory work that Dershowitz and his students put in as they attempt to disprove the prosecution's case and achieve the Reversal of Fortune of the title. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Case of Claus Von Bulow. An American Saga of Money and Mystery.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Japan | UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

9 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El misterio Von Bulow See more »

Filming Locations:

Montclair, New Jersey, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$176,985, 21 October 1990

Gross USA:

$15,445,131

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,445,131
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sunny's first coma was on December 27th, 1979. Her second coma was on December 21st, 1980. Klaus was found guilty on March 16th, 1982. See more »

Goofs

Claus von Bulow abruptly switches his eating hand in the restaurant. See more »

Quotes

Sunny von Bülow: I'm thinking of redecorating this whole fucking house!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gossip Girl: Reversals of Fortune (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

GIMME A LITTLE SIGN
Performed by Brenton Wood
Written by Jerry Winn (lyrics), Brenton Wood (as Alfred Smith) and Joseph Hooven
Courtesy of Original Sound Records Co., Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Lifestyles of the rich and murderous
29 August 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Ron Silver is Alan Dershowitz, the brilliant attorney who takes on Claus von Bulow's murder conviction on appeal in "Reversal of Fortune," a 1990 film starring Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons, beautifully directed by Barbet Schroeder. The film, of course, is based on the notorious von Bulow case. Sunny von Bulow was a socialite who became brain dead, and her husband, Claus, was accused of injecting her with insulin in an attempt to kill her. Sunny lived in a coma for nearly 28 years.

Sunny (Close) herself narrates the story, beginning when Claus (Irons) calls Dershowitz and asks him to take his appeal. Dershowitz takes the case and involves his law students (including a very young Felicity Huffman) in it.

It's all left pretty ambiguous - Sunny tells us that this is all we can know for now. Though von Bulow was found guilty of attempted murder at the first trial, Dershowitz won his appeal, and von Bulow was found not guilty at a second trial. After that, von Bulow moved to England. Since his daughter Cosima had taken his side in the case, Cosima's maternal grandmother disinherited her. In order to get her back in the will, von Bulow gave up any claim to Sunny's money.

Glenn Close is excellent as the unhappy Sunny - a woman beset by health and weight problems as well as drug addiction and her husband's infidelity. But the backbone of the story is the character of Claus, and here Jeremy Irons does a fantastic job and deservedly received an Oscar for it. He is cold, unemotional, snobbish, and really makes you wonder if he did it or not.

There are other good performances in the film, including that of Fisher Stevens as a supposed witness, the great Uta Hagen as Sunny's devoted maid, Christine Baranski as Claus' new girlfriend ("I told him, get the Jew," she tells Dershowitz), and Julie Hagerty as Alexandra Isles.

After the first trial, I transcribed an interview with one of the jurors, and boy, did he think Claus did it. Despite the second verdict, "did he or didn't he" is a shadow that will always hang over Claus von Bulow.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 64 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed