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Falling Down (1993)

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An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writer:

Ebbe Roe Smith
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1,239 ( 279)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Douglas ... D-Fens
Robert Duvall ... Prendergast
Barbara Hershey ... Beth
Rachel Ticotin ... Sandra
Tuesday Weld ... Mrs. Prendergast
Frederic Forrest ... Surplus Store Owner
Lois Smith ... D-Fens' Mother
Joey Hope Singer Joey Hope Singer ... Adele (Beth's Child)
Ebbe Roe Smith ... Guy on Freeway
Michael Paul Chan ... Mr. Lee
Raymond J. Barry ... Captain Yardley
D.W. Moffett ... Detective Lydecker
Steve Park ... Detective Brian
Kimberly Scott ... Detective Jones
James Keane ... Detective Keene
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Storyline

On the day of his daughter's (Joey Hope Singer) birthday, William "D-Fens" Foster (Michael Douglas) is trying to get to his estranged ex-wife's (Barbara Hershey) house to see his daughter. He has a breakdown and leaves his car in a traffic jam in Los Angeles and decides to walk. Along the way he stops at a convenience store and tries to get some change for a phone call but the owner, Mister Lee (Michael Paul Chan), does not give him change. This destabilizes William who then breaks apart the shop with a baseball bat and goes to an isolated place to drink a coke. Two gangsters (Agustin Rodriguez & Eddie Frias) threaten him and he reacts by hitting them with the bat. D-FENS continues walking and stops at a phone booth. The gangsters hunt him down with their gang and shoot at him but crash their car. William goes nuts and takes their gym bag with weapons proceeding in his journey of rage against injustice. Meanwhile Sergeant Martin Prendergast (Robert Duvall), who is working on his last ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Korean

Release Date:

26 February 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un día de furia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,724,452, 26 February 1993

Gross USA:

$40,903,593
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The man who is yelling about being "not economically viable" in front of the bank is wearing the same clothes as D-Fens. Even the tie pattern is the same. See more »

Goofs

Bill's hands on his wife's face. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Nick: Think about it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"London Bridge is Falling Down" plays briefly at the very end of the credits. See more »

Connections

Remade as Evano Oruvan (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
Written by Patty S. Hill and Mildred J. Hill
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An Unusual Performance for Douglas...But a Good One!!!
2 April 2004 | by TheExaltedOneSee all my reviews

Falling Down (1993)

Tagged as `the adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world,' Joel Schumacher's `Falling Down' tells the tragic tale of William Foster aka D-FENS, a now unemployed defense worker who finds himself trapped on a hot summer day in bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles traffic. Having been pushed past the brink of sanity, Foster loses it and storms out of his car, walking around town and trying desperately to see his little daughter for her birthday, a daughter who is untouchable because of a court order against him by his estranged wife. Along the way, Foster will run across character types we've all come across: the 'war veteran' bum who is really just a lowlife looking to score some quick cash, an irate Korean grocery store owner, a homophobic neo-nazi army retail store owner, a crusty elitist country club golf player, super friendly fast food workers, young Hispanic thugs, and so forth. And each one will chip away at what remains of his patience and tolerance for stupidity, fueling a rampage.

Up against this anti-hero is Prendergast, a veteran cop who has felt many of the same pains as Foster, but who serves as sort of a foil to him. Foster has lost everything, and while Prendergast has lost quite a bit (his wife is a basketcase, his little daughter died years ago under mysterious circumstances), he still retains some optimism, calmness, and dignity. As Prendergast, who is on his last day on the job, begins to put together the pieces of the mysterious crime spree plaguing the city (he seems to be the only one smart enough to figure out it's all the doing of one man!), it pits him in an inevitable confrontation between him and Foster.

Michael Douglas, playing Foster / D-FENS plays an incredibly complex character. On the one hand, you know much of what he does is so wrong, but at the same time there's immense satisfaction at seeing him lash out at those deserving of it. And while he tries to stay calm, he finds himself constantly provoked by those who have 'wronged society.' In fact, many of the things he does could so easily have been avoided if the 'victims' were not so positively despicable. You can't help but feel at the end of the day, when Foster gets his due, that he's, in some small way, made Los Angeles a better place despite the carnage he's unleashed.

And this is perhaps what is so strange about the movie. There seems to be no clear message. Who was right? Who was wrong? It becomes a very blurry line over the approximately 2 hours of the movie's run. I've seen it now several times and I still can't give any definitive answer. Perhaps this is a strength, that different people will view this movie in different ways. Some will see this as the story of a noble, decent man who modern society has beaten down and crushed, and who desperately tries to struggle against the tyranny and betrayal. Others will see Foster as a lunatic who needed to be put down. No one, I think, will find that Foster doesn't warrant some sympathy.

Personally, I think Foster got the wrong end of the stick. His wife's anger and fear of him seems somewhat unwarranted, and though it is clear that Foster (and not just society itself) has brought many of his problems upon his own head, he is tired and angry and rightfully resentful at the course his life has taken. He feels he has nothing to live for, so he takes it out on anyone who crosses his path. I recommend this movie because the performances are all-around great, it delivers a solid cast, and as the portrayal of one man's journey down the path of madness, few have done better.

Grade: A-


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