7.2/10
14,453
71 user 35 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 Dershowitz (book), Nicholas Kazan (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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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 ... Chuck
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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julie Hagerty: Alexandra Isles. See more »

Goofs

Claus von Bulow's ring moves from his right hand to his left hand, and back repeatedly. See more »

Quotes

Alan Dershowitz: A priest? Well, a priest is the ideal witness: it's like getting the word of God.
Claus von Bülow: I checked. God is unavailable.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1991) 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 »

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.


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Details

Country:

USA | Japan | UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

9 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reversal of Fortune See more »

Filming Locations:

Montclair, New Jersey, USA See more »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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