7.7/10
151,732
259 user 84 critic

Primal Fear (1996)

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

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1,552 ( 260)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Martin Vail
... Janet Venable
... Shaughnessy
... Shoat
... Molly
... Aaron / Roy
... Yancy
... Goodman
... Pinero
... Stenner
... Martinez
... Rushman
... Naomi
... Alex
... 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iskonski strah  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Wil Wheaton and Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the part of Aaron Stampler. Wheaton turned down the role because he did not want to put off his acting school, and when his manager urged him to take the role anyway, he told him, "It is like Luke Skywalker when Yoda told him not to go and save his friends, but to stay on Dagobah and learn to be a Jedi instead. Luke didn't listen to him and that's why he never became true Jedi master." Later, Wheaton regretted turning this role down, saying that this was a crucial factor why his career never got to be a successful one. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 21 mins) When Vail is in the bar drinking shots and talking to the reporter, the level of fluid in the glass changes from shot to shot. 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 The Hour: Episode #7.159 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Incidental Source Music
by J. Peter Robinson
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User Reviews

 
Excellent film
19 April 2007 | by See all my reviews

My fiancée suggested I watch this, and when we found it for sale at a good price, we bought it right away. I must say, this is a marvelous and quite well-crafted film. The acting is top-notch all the way. Gere manages to make us care about a type of person that few like. O'Quinn is somewhat underused, as he is a magnificent actor, but apart from that, everyone gets a good chance to perform well, and they all live up to it. I would have to say that I now have a completely new-found respect for Norton... and I had a great deal of respect for him before even knowing of this movie. The plot is well-written and has good layers to it, especially for a movie of two hours(running time does put quite a limitation on the level of detail and intricacy of the plot). The pacing is really good, the movie never moves neither too fast nor too slowly. This is the second film I've seen that was directed by Gregory Hoblit... and the second that I've really, really liked(both have received 8's by yours truly, and very deservedly so), so I will most definitely keep an eye out for any future works by the man. I haven't read the book of the same title that this is based on, so I can't comment on how accurate and true to the tone this film is. I urge anyone intending to watch this to steer clear of any spoilers on it, because the plot is too good to ruin. I won't detail it here, I'll just say that the film has many court-room scenes, and deals with a very violent crime(and it's not the only occurrence in the film of a violent nature). For that same reason, since it is depicted graphically in the film(but not too much... there was nothing gratuitous about it), I urge anyone who believes they may not be able to handle seeing such to consider if they should watch it or not. There is also quite a bit of language, as well as a brief scene of sexual nature, so if such bother you, you may want to watch a censored version, if you are interested in seeing it. I recommend this very warmly to any fan of court-room dramas and thrillers. If you enjoy an engaging and involving thriller with surprises, this is the movie for you. 8/10


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