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Blood Simple (1984)



Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 5

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


Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 2

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 37,233

My Rating

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


Mystery & Suspense, Drama


Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Sep 18, 2001

USA Films

Watch It Now


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All Critics (90) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (5) | DVD (27)

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

January 14, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 13, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An inordinately good low-budget film noir thriller.

September 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (9)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A remarkably assured debut for Coen.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With a strong and stylish debut like Blood Simple, it didn't take a P.I. to see that the Coens were made for big things.

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis


August 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The Coens remain fastidiously indifferent to the plight of their creations, the better to concentrate on the dazzle of their doom

November 15, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A deadpan gothic thriller best described as the steamy, hardboiled fiction of Jim Thompson and James M. Cain filtered through two film-school brats.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Blood Simple isn't bad, just self-consciously poky and austere -- a James M. Cain homage, rural-art-film division.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source:

A stunning debut, and arguably one of the Coens' two best features, this Gothic noir introduced the wry, sardonic, and playful approach that would shape their future work, and launched the screen career of the brilliant Frances McDormand.

April 15, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The script is so tight you can feel it screwing into the back of your neck.

April 7, 2006 Full Review Source:

Com um estilo marcante já no filme de estréia, os irmãos Coen criam uma obra noir tensa, envolvente e que faz do absurdo uma de suas principais armas.

May 28, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Someone please explain it to me: why? What's the deal?

July 8, 2004 | Comments (5)
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Useless update

August 22, 2003
Pasadena Weekly

Stylish shoestring noir, and an admirable filmmaking debut for the brothers Coen.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Blood Simple

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.
April 11, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

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.
March 5, 2013

Super Reviewer

The Coen Bros. blasted on the scene with this amazing debut. It must be something about Texas that brings out the best in them (i.e. No Country For Old Men).
March 28, 2012
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Its pretty damn good. The pace isn't fast but not too slow as well. The action is there but never consistent. The story takes you off your feet along with fantastic acting from a genius cast.
January 16, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

    1. Marty: If I need you again, I know which rock to turn over.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
    1. Visser: What I know about is Texas, and down here, you're on your own.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
    1. Visser: [laughing hysterically] Well, ma'am, if I see him, I' ll sure give him the message.
    – Submitted by Abtin S (3 years ago)
    1. Ray: If you point a gun at someone, you'd better make sure you shoot him, and if you shoot him you'd better make sure he's dead, because if he isn't then he's gonna get up and try to kill you.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Visser: The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... you're on your own.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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