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Primal Fear (1996)

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An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director:

Gregory Hoblit

Writers:

William Diehl (novel), Steve Shagan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,544 ( 305)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Gere ... Martin Vail
Laura Linney ... Janet Venable
John Mahoney ... Shaughnessy
Alfre Woodard ... Shoat
Frances McDormand ... Molly
Edward Norton ... Aaron / Roy
Terry O'Quinn ... Yancy
Andre Braugher ... Goodman
Steven Bauer ... Pinero
Joe Spano ... Stenner
Tony Plana ... Martinez
Stanley Anderson ... Rushman
Maura Tierney ... Naomi
Jon Seda ... Alex
Reg Rogers ... Connerman
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Storyline

Courtroom thriller about a slick, hotshot lawyer who takes the seemingly unwinnable case of a young altar boy accused of murdering an eminent catholic priest. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't believe everything you see... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief grisly violence, pervasive strong language and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

3 April 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Iskonski strah See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$293,515, 26 July 1996

Gross USA:

$56,116,183

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$102,616,183
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The exterior police station where Martin Vail goes to see Aaron Stampler is the same exterior police station used for the TV series Hill Street Blues (1981) , for which director Gregory Hoblit was producer and director and Joe Spano (Stenner) starred as Henry Goldblume. See more »

Goofs

Martin tells Tommy "Aaron" should be in a psychiatric hospital not in jail, murder in the first degree sentences are sent to prison not jail. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[while getting dressed as Naomi helps him]
Martin Vail: On my first day of law school, my professor says two things. First was: from this day forward, when your mother tells you she loves you, get a second opinion.
Jack Connerman: [chuckles] And?
Martin Vail: If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you wanna get fucked, go to court.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Introitus: Cibavit Eos
by William Byrd
Performed by The Voices of Christ Church Cathedral Choir
Conducted by Stephen Darlington
Courtesy of Nimbus Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
country boy does Chicago
27 September 2007 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

Into big city Chicago political corruption and moral decay comes an ingeniously deceptive sociopath from nearby backwoods Kentucky who we see at the opening as an altar boy singing in an all boy church choir that's performing for the city's elite at a social fundraiser for charity. Like another Gregory Hoblit film (Fracture), you have to accept a certain amount of implausibilities. Like the murder itself, for instance, around which the film evolves. But also like Fracture, this is another (earlier) and surprisingly good take on lawyers and prosecutors (Richard Gere and Lara Linney) and the elusive perfect crime. As well, is the part played by Edward Norton. He's got that backwoods hardscrabble menace down about as well as anyone since those Georgia hillbillies in Deliverance.


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