Blood Simple (1984)



Critic Consensus: Brutally violent and shockingly funny in equal measure, Blood Simple offers early evidence of the Coen Brothers' twisted sensibilities and filmmaking ingenuity.

Movie Info

In the first film of brothers Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, M. Emmett Walsh plays Visser, an unscrupulous private eye hired by Texas bar owner Marty (Dan Hedaya) to murder Marty's faithless wife Abby (Frances McDormand) and her paramour, Ray (John Getz), one of Marty's employees. But Visser is no more up-front with Marty than with anyone else; he makes some slight modifications of the original plan so that it better serves his own best interests. After a surprise double-cross and the murder of one … More

Rating: R (for violence and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 18, 2001
USA Films



as Marty

as Landlady

as Radio Evangelist

as Man from Lubbock

as Mr. Garcia

as Old Cracker

as Strip-Bar Exhorter

as Strip-Bar Senator

as Girl on Overlook

as Answering machine
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Blood Simple

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Blood Simple

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (20)

It isn't really about anything except making a commercial narrative movie outside the industry.

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Watch this film, and these film makers, closely. Neither will disappoint.

Full Review… | October 13, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

An inordinately good low-budget film noir thriller.

Full Review… | September 5, 2008
Top Critic

The movie remains mired in a smart-alecky film-school sensibility.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A remarkably assured debut for Coen.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie is as dark, ironic and fatalistically comic as modern film noir comes.

Full Review… | July 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Blood Simple

Watching a directorial debut is a fascinating practice, partially because you can see a filmmaker's trademarks already fully formed. With that in mind, Blood Simple is most definitely a Coen Brothers film, parts dark and deliriously funny. The Coen Brothers have proven themselves to be the best directors out there when it comes to "crime gone wrong" films, but it still manages to be shocking that they already had it down pat right out of the gate. The less you know about Blood Simple going in, the better. Just know that it's stylish, funny, and written with an efficiency that most screenplays lack. Pile on some great performances on top of that and you have a debut film on the level of Reservoir Dogs.

Jacob Ethington
Jacob Ethington

Super Reviewer

Blood Simple is the Coen Brothers big debut, and it gives us a glimpse of what the two directors would come to create later on in their career. With a tightly written script, and a stunning cast of varied talent, the Coen Brothers crafts a stunning picture that delivers a powerful story that is engaging from start to finish. I thoroughly loved this film, and Blood Simple boasts the quality craftsmanship that would make each Coen Brothers film so unique in the cinematic medium. The direction is immaculate and it has a nice pacing that keeps you involved from the first frame onwards. The Coen Brothers make excellent films, and for this debut, they set the standards high, and have made one of the best crime films that I have seen. Fans of their films should definitely check this one out as it is quite thrilling, well acted and has a truly wonderful story that only the Coens could have brought to the screen. Film fans will definitely want to see this one, as it is truly an exciting, well layered and suspenseful film that will keep you interested from start to finish. This is among the finest debuts from any director and I personally it was only rivalled by Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. This is a film that relies on a well structured story and a great cast to entertain the viewer, and it is a fairly basic principle that pays off very well. Blood Simple is a flawless picture that launched the careers of the Coen Brothers, and it's clear with what you see on camera, that these directors would go on to become very successful and hone their craft even further. Blood Simple is a brilliant piece of work from two incredible filmmakers.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Blood sickening and terse, with a story as old as time but told so elegantly and with so much fear, the Coen brothers shock and awe with their first feature film. The actual plotting of the film, the climax, the reveal, and the bitter platitudes of enraged performances make this film great. The characters themselves are not all that engaging compared to some of the more frightening and thrilling scenes presented. The story isn't all too original either, stemming from a jealous husband (Hedaya), out to ruin the life of his former wife (McDormand) and her new lover (Getz), a former bartender at his establishment. The film's originality stems from a private eye named Visser (Walsh) whose double cross leads to a series of misunderstandings and terror stricken scenes between the lovers as they try to outsmart the gumshoe to ensure their own survival. After Visser is hired by the husband to kill the couple and get rid of their bodies, it becomes a blood war between all four of them. Several major characters' lives are transformed in a matter of seconds, but the film moves through it, keeping the biting terror on their faces but leaving behind the connotations, the reasoning that says it will all be okay. There's a point of no return which gets guiltily crossed time and again, but it is each character's death or injury that shocks time and again. There is nothing gratuitous or gory about what the Coens show onscreen, but there is one scene in particular that has been named as one of the scariest in reviewer's lists and I am inclined to agree. Though not touched with the exactness and flair of later Coen brother's films it is a step in the right direction, and a great inclination to their later talents and expansion in genre and technique.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Blood Simple Quotes

– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Abtin S (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Blood Simple on our Movie forum!