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Fargo (1996)

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Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Reviews
Popularity
639 ( 38)

A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Top Rated Movies #165 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 81 wins & 57 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William H. Macy ... Jerry Lundegaard
Steve Buscemi ... Carl Showalter
Peter Stormare ... Gaear Grimsrud
Kristin Rudrüd Kristin Rudrüd ... Jean Lundegaard
Harve Presnell ... Wade Gustafson
Tony Denman ... Scotty Lundegaard
Gary Houston ... Irate Customer
Sally Wingert Sally Wingert ... Irate Customer's Wife
Kurt Schweickhardt Kurt Schweickhardt ... Car Salesman
Larissa Kokernot Larissa Kokernot ... Hooker #1
Melissa Peterman ... Hooker #2
Steve Reevis ... Shep Proudfoot (as Steven Reevis)
Warren Keith ... Reilly Diefenbach (voice)
Steve Edelman Steve Edelman ... Morning Show Host
Sharon Anderson Sharon Anderson ... Morning Show Hostess
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Storyline

Jerry works in his father-in-law's car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. He tries various schemes to come up with money needed for a reason that is never really explained. It has to be assumed that his huge embezzlement of money from the dealership is about to be discovered by father-in-law. When all else falls through, plans he set in motion earlier for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father (who doesn't seem to have the time of day for son-in-law). From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody with more blood added by the minute. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A homespun murder story. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Фарго See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$730,265, 10 March 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$24,611,975

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) was named after film critic Bob Lundegaard. When Bob saw the film at a screening with the Coen Brothers (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen) present, Bob jokingly said to them "You'll be seeing my lawyers in the morning." See more »

Goofs

Nightcrawlers would rarely be used as an ice fishing bait and typically are not even available in the middle of winter. (However although they appear to be in a paper bag, it is foil-lined, which is appropriate for this kind of bait.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry Lundegaard: I'm, uh, Jerry Lundegaard.
Carl Showalter: You're Jerry Lundegaard?
Jerry Lundegaard: Ya. Shep Proudfoot said...
Carl Showalter: Shep said you'd be here at 7:30. What gives, man?
Jerry Lundegaard: Shep said 8:30.
Carl Showalter: We've been sitting here an hour. He's
[motioning to Gaer]
Carl Showalter: peed three times already.
Jerry Lundegaard: I'm sure sorry. Shep told me 8:30. It was a mix-up, I guess.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A symbol similar to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is in the credits as "victim in field", but it is not him, it is J. Todd Anderson, the storyboard artist. See more »

Alternate Versions

Polygram Filmed Entertainment sold most of its film library to MGM in 1999. As a result, when the video and DVD were re-issued by MGM video, the MGM lion logo was added to the beginning of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Animaniacs: Hooray for North Hollywood: Part 1 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Do You Know the Way to San Jose
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Published by Blue Seas Music, Inc. and JAC Music Co., Inc.
Recording courtesy Alshire International
Muzak heard playing while Marge and Norm Gunderson are at an all-you-can-eat buffet
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

You're darned tootin'!
2 April 2001 | by aharmonSee all my reviews

"What'd this guy look like anyway?" "Oh, he was a little guy, kinda funny lookin'." "Uh-huh. In what way?" "Just a general way." In that interplay between a Brainerd, MN., police officer and a witness discussing a criminal investigation, you have one of your principal pieces of dialogue from what is considered by many to be Joel and Ethan Coen's finest film. Of course you can draw comparisons to others they've made, such as Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, even Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. But Fargo illustrates the Coen Brothers' takes on plot, art and drama more succinctly and emotionally than any of those others. Here you have a set of memorable, if not always likable, characters in a plot that goes from clunky to chaotic in the most unspoiled manner, from Jerry Lundegaard's stilted conversation with Gaear and Carl in a bar in Fargo at the beginning of the movie - the only occasion in which the movie specifically shows you Fargo, N.D. - to Marge Gunderson's confrontation with Gaear and the wood-chipper. Frances McDormand deservedly won an Oscar for playing a well-balanced, intelligent, pregnant police officer placing her own straightforward methodology on to an investigation of bizarre goings-on. And William H. Macy gives a true one-two punch playing a frenetically-charged, fearful and, in the end, inept used car salesman trying in the most remarkable manner to make money. The two best scenes in the movie are the two occasions in which Marge questions Jerry about the Brainerd murders and a car from his lot being involved -- I couldn't imagine an actress doing a better job of seriously but comically exclaiming, "He's fleeing the interview!" Notable among the actors as well are Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare playing Carl and Gaear, the two hit men hired by Jerry to help him con his father-in-law out of money. There's comic brilliance watching Stormare silently grimace at Buscemi's violent but gregarious behavior, and Buscemi shines being able to play the most out-of-control of all the characters in the movie. Kristin Rudrüd also stands out playing Jean Lundegaard, Jerry's haplessly kidnapped wife. If you can appreciate an intelligent look at not-always-so-intelligent life on this planet, you'll enjoy the little more than the hour and a half this movie has to show you.


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