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
Popularity
353 ( 60)
Top Rated Movies #174 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 81 wins & 58 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 ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frances McDormand, looking around for a role as a killer or prostitute, was hesitant to play a pregnant cop. "When I started working on it I realized it was one of the best gifts that I've ever been given." See more »

Goofs

When Shep tries to strangle Carl with a belt, Carl's hands are first grabbing the belt with his fingers away from his neck and then toward his neck. 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.
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Crazy Credits

The original editing credit for this film was "Roderick Jaynes," a fictitious creation of the Coen Brothers, who edit all their own films with only occasional assistance. Jaynes actually received an Academy Award nomination for his work on this film, but did not win. 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 »


Soundtracks

Johnny's Theme
Written by Paul Anka and Johnny Carson
'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' Audio Supplied Courtesy of Carson Productions Group
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User Reviews

 
Cold-hearted
13 April 2005 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

The Coen brothers' 'Fargo' is nearly a great film: a beautifully shot, blackly comic thriller that quietly subverts every convention of the genre. This is a film where the remote mid-western city of Minneapolis plays the same role as New York in a normal crime story, a hub of civilisation and vice; where the hero is a woman (and a heavily pregnant, happily married woman at that); and the chief villain a car salesman of absolutely no slickness whatsoever. In a final irony, most of the action doesn't even take place in Fargo, but in the even more obscure town of Brainerd. Yet I found it hard to love this film. At brief moments (in depicting the relationship of policewoman Marge, played superbly by Frances McDormaid, and her husband), it feels astonishingly tender, yet at others, it feels as if it is simply making fun of the strange folks from outer America with the wacky accents and absurdly stoical demeanour. And the combination of deadpan acting and frankly silly plot excess sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Above all else, perhaps, 'Fargo' lacks a beating heart: while nearly moving, and nearly funny, there's a part of this film that refuses to commit itself, that prefers to hold back and mock not just its subjects, but also the idea that a film should take itself seriously. The Coens are widely celebrated as among the best film-makers of our age, but watching their films, I usually end up wondering whether irony is not a slightly over-rated virtue. Fargo looks lovely, and weird, and has a wry outlook all of it's own; but it won't make you laugh out loud, or cry. If it wasn't called a masterpiece I might almost like it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

Fargo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$730,265, 10 March 1996

Gross USA:

$24,611,975

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,611,975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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