7.7/10
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262 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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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1,834 ( 152)
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:

Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real. 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

This film marked the feature directorial debut of Gregory Hoblit. See more »

Goofs

When Vail is in the bar drinking shots and talking to the reporter, first he is shown to be sitting on the left of the reporter, then on the right (with the TV to his left), then back on the left (with the TV to his right). 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 Primal Fear: The Final Verdict (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)
by Chuck Willis
Performed by Johnny Otis
Courtesy of Alligator Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Probably the best legal drama ever made.
4 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

I've got to say this - this movie is a true masterpiece, and just might be the best court-room drama ever made (it's definitely one of the top 3 anyway). Everything about it is perfect - the script is perfect, and so is the directing. And don't get me started about the acting. Richard Gere nailed his part, and this was at the time he actually played in good films. But the one who steals the show here is without ANY DOUBT young Edward Norton in his first big part. His acting is nothing but brilliant and even genius and even here you can understand why he's one of the best actors to ever grace the screen. You have to see it to understand, since I do not want to spoil the story for you. The supporting cast is also very solid, and I loved seeing John Mahoney (best known for playing Martin Crane, in sitcom "Frasier") as the corrupt Maire of Chicago. "Primal Fear" will keep you on your toes all throughout it's 2 hours, and there are twists until the very end. A perfect 10 for this one, I couldn't find any flaw about it. A must-see.


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