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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
770 ( 160)

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 #166 | 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 lot can happen in the middle of nowhere. 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:

Fargo 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

When working on her Minnesota accent for the film, Frances McDormand worked with Larissa Kokernot, "Hooker #1." McDormand referred to her accent and mannerisms as "Minnesota Nice." See more »

Goofs

The poster in Scotty Lundegaard's room spells accordion "accordian." 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

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

Television edits of the film consistently replace the word "f*cking" with "froozing." Also, in the scene where Carl shoots Wade, the audio is inexplicably edited so that we don't hear Wade say, "Oh, jeez." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fargo: Eating the Blame (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree
Written by Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown
Larball Publishing Co., Inc./
Irwin Levine Grand Music
Recording courtesy Alshire International
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Internally Frayed
18 August 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

The Coens are masters of the tease. By that I mean they'll find a closely embroidered dress and then goof with its perfection. They'll pull this and that element of the colored threads out so that its frayed, disturbing the scene so carefully constructed by the original craftswoman. Superficially it looks more homemade, more genuine this way. But if you look closely you'll see that what they've done is a matter of orchestrated destruction. Things defined by their distance from other things.

Past that point it is merely a matter of whether the teasing engages or not.

Their previous movie was not well received. The original garment was a combination of a mild Capra screwball and a 30's newspaper fold of a sassy woman detective. The noir mechanics were made explicit, as were the cinematic components.

The audience — by this I mean the general paying audience — stayed away. They just weren't in the mood for clever deconstruction, no matter how polished.

This is a reaction. Its a wonderful project, just wonderful in its way, but also sad in the implied tightness behind the decisions you see.

What they've done is frayed the garment on the inside. Everything is sparse, bleak. All the camera setups are overly simplified, all the emotional mechanics understated. Most of it is buried in the snow.

If this movie were made by anyone else, it would just be amusing, a calm sketch of a deliberately uncaffeinated selling itself as if it were a chain of simple products.

But it isn't. Its a suppressed visit by extremists pretending to not be extreme. Its Lynch doing "Straight Story" and not asking us to know that over every dusk hued horizon is one of his ragged unreal movies.

Because of this, we see small gateways into the world of the Dude, or the Sirens. The unborn child will enter a different world. The postage stamp will fly to a different world (when the rates change).

Watch it for the simple garment, a dress covered by a coat. Watch it for the fraying and teasing on the inside, and imagine the colorful embroidery disturbed on the out.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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