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—— No Good Deed Sep 12
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—— Unforgettable: Season 2

Fargo (1996)

tomatometer

94

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 84
Fresh: 79 | Rotten: 5

Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.

85

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 4

Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 228,043

My Rating

Movie Info

A pregnant police chief is investigating a series of homicides across the frozen tundra. Against a sprawling Minnesota landscape, a car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap his wife. But when the scheme goes sour, and wood chippers get involved, the haphazard kidnapping plot turns deadly serious.

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

,

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Jun 24, 1997

MGM - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Fargo

April 3, 2014:
UPDATED: Three New Fargo Television Series Trailers
We've updated our collection of Fargo television series teasers with some brand new longer-form...
March 6, 2013:
Directors and Actors Who Need to Reunite
Hey Coen brothers, don't you miss William H. Macy?

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All Critics (84) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (79) | Rotten (5) | DVD (41)

Fargo, with its grotesque murders and cheery detectives, is a cold gem that takes us to the far north. Its seemingly pitiless light opens up the realms of darkness concealed beneath that world of white.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A small, supremely satisfying film. Heck and you betcha, it is.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A few scenes go around in circles, as if snow-blind, and the humor may be too inward and contorted for some tastes. But McDormand brings order to the weirdness and warms it up.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's another daring black comedy by one of the most consistently inventive moviemaking teams of the last decade, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

From the camera angles to the set design, everything is calculated to make the viewer feel superior to the cloddish, geeky characters on display.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the fascinating Fargo, writer-director Joel and writer-producer Ethan have come up with a film that is either an oddly funny crime drama or an ultra-deadpan comedy, depending on how you look at it.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Deceptive in its storytelling choices, economical with its plotting, and sly with its dialogue, this Oscar winner is truly incredible.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

Returning to the horror-comic vein that launched their careers, director Joel Coen and producer Ethan Coen pepper their new picture with so much humor that the occasional bursts of sheer mayhem seem more ridiculous than revolting.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

You have to grant the Coens their due as creators of suspense, mood and plotting, and for their ability to color the most monstrous crimes with an undeniably funny sense of the absurd.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

McDormand is brilliant, Macy terrific, Presnell perfect, Buscemi fabulous. And Stormare is fascinating as one of the deadliest and most horrid big-screen killers in recent memory. Fargo is a down-and-dirty doozy.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The result is a modern masterpiece.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Fargo stands out as the Coen brothers' warmest, most accessible offering to date -- despite its frosty Minnesota setting.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

As great a film as the Coens have made. And that's saying something.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It's a miracle: A tough, honest, bloody film set so far from the bright lights it feels as if it's on a different planet, yet knowable and absolutely compelling from start to finish. Fargo is great American movie-making.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

The Coen brothers, director Ethan and producer-cowriter Joel, have finally latched onto a story strong enough to carry their eccentric mix of black humor and self-conscious style.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The performances by McDormand (bringing a GREAT screen character to life) and Macy are superb.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

As is typical Coen Brothers entertainment. "Fargo" offers incredibly complex characterization along with very memorable dark comedy.

April 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Dark, gritty, and brilliant. Not for kids.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

"Fargo" is the kind of black comedy you can rediscover over and over again. The laughs and shocks never fade.

January 17, 2010 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Quite simply, Fargo is the best movie the Coen Brothers have ever made. And that's saying a lot.

January 10, 2010 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Audience Reviews for Fargo

Marge Gunderson: There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

"a homespun murder story":

Fargo is one of the Coen Brothers best films. I believe I've seen this like four times now and every time I do, it leaves a bigger expression on me. Are there any better filmmakers in the world then the Coen's? This film makes me want to be able to construct a story like this. Their talent is just awe inspiring. Even the things that don't make sense the first time around, like the character Mike who advances the plot nowhere. He's there for a reason though, as is everything and when all the pieces(and there are a shit load of them) come together... chills.

The film starts on a man driving in the snow with another car attached. He arrives in Fargo, North Dakota, where he is meeting two men. The man is Jerry Lundegaard and from the first moment on screen, you know exactly who he is. He has no backbone and is cowardly, but what he's seeing the two men about doesn't fit those character descriptions. He's in a big financial and soon to be legal problem, so he hires two men to kidnap his wife and extort a ransom from her rich father. Everything goes wrong for everyone and a bright, but slightly na´ve North Dakota police woman is right behind them the whole way.

I can't think of any aspect of the film that isn't excellent. None of it is just passable, or okay, or good. It's damn near perfect. The performances. William H. Macy is at his best as the man that can't do anything right. Frances McDormand is beyond words and very deserving of that Oscar. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are hilarious. The first scene where Stormare is just sitting there, imposing his silent stare on Macy; hilarious. The writing. You can't say enough about how well this story is written. From go, the Coen's are making jokes, saying it's based on true events. The direction goes hand in foot with the writing. Joel and Ethan are on top of everything. The cinematography is beautiful with the pure white snow, and that music is so damn atmospheric and haunting.

The movie is hard to put into words, but obviously it's worthy of a viewing. In fact, it should be necessary. This is filmmaking at its best.
May 2, 2014
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Funny, suspenseful, and brilliantly plotted. I loved how the film was constructed, the funny accents, the would-be thugs, the somewhat dim-witted townsfolk, the strong Marge, and the nervous Jerry. Every character is excellently portrayed and the story told is strong and well conceived. A must-see.
April 18, 2014
Raajay

Super Reviewer

This darkly comedic crime thriller from Joel and Ethan Coen is a real doozy, don'tcha know?

Set around Minnesota and North Dakota in the winter of 1987, this film both embraces and satirizes the Minnesota upbringing of its writers/producers/directors.

William H. Macy is Jerry Lundegaard- a sad sack ineffectual car salesman who is hard up for money. His wife and her dad (Jerry's boss) are both well off, but, even if they knew he needed the money, they probably wouldn't give it to him anyway, His solution is to enlist a criminal version of the odd couple (chatter box Steve Buscemi, and silent psycho Peter Stormare) to kidnap Jerry's wife, then use the ransom as payment for both them and himself.

Things get complex, and especially messy when the plan doesn't go as designed, and blood becomes shed. To make things even more interesting, small town sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) gets thrown into the mix, and her down to Earth, smart approach really adds layers of warmth and heart, made even more poignant by the fact that she's also 7 months pregnant.

There's already been so much written about this, that I really don't have anything new to contribute. It holds up to its reputation, and is a real masterpiece of writing, direction, and acting. I can't really describe it: everything just clicks, and there's a nice balance to the laughs and bloodshed. The characters and themes are interesting and thought provoking, and come on, Marge Gunderson is undeniably one of the coolest and greatest characters ever created. I'm so happy this film nabbed the Bros. Coen a writing Oscar, as well as one for McDormand's superb acting. It's a shame.

Like all Coen Brothers films, the cinematography and music are brilliant, and, while complex, the film is really fairly easy to follow. It's a shame this lost Best Picture to The English Patient, because this was the film that deserved it more.

Bottom line: this is a must see, and its place on all the various types of best of lists is absolutely justified. Truly a great American classic.
July 10, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

When I first heard of Fargo, I thought from all these reviews that it was a comedy. When I read the genre, it told me it was a crime-thriller. And before I watched it on Epix, I learned it was a dark comedy. Then I thought I was gonna hate this movie, for the film "A Serious Man" was a dark-comedy and was also directed by the Coen brothers, was a complete and utter failure to me. But I soon came to realize something during the film; this movie is amazing. It started as a comedy, in which the laughs were very dark and enjoyable, then grew into a problematic drama, which grew into a crime film, and then quickly into a thriller. All the genres that I expected were in the film, but never was my first thought about it. Fargo is a film that surprised me completely. Winning two academy awards (Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay), Fargo is an exciting adventure to watch. Based in small cities of Minnesota, Fargo is about a car salesman who tries to buy an investment on a parking lot. He needs money, so he decides to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife and ask for ransom from her father (who is extremely wealthy) so he can get the money to invest. But not all goes as planned, and murder, lying, robbery, and much more occur in the events that happen afterwards. Joel and Ethan always seem to make me happy (besides "A Serious Man"), and not many directors can do that. The Acting was very well done, and I disagree with the Academy at not giving William H. Macy a nomination for Best Lead Actor, let alone not giving him a win for Best Supporting Actor. I believe his acting was better than Francis McDormand's, although she did deserve her win. Steve Beschumi also played his part as a villain well, as he always does. The Cinematography of this film was good. But I am also upset with the Academy for not giving this film a nomination for the score, which was excellent. It was perfect for the film, and fit the scenes well. If I heard this score again, I'd know it was from Fargo. The film really revolves around the characters alot in the film, and I give much respect for the film. The different character's lives and feelings were depicted in a very different way, with scenes that just brought happiness, terror, or humor to the eyes of the character's, and the audiences. But, there were little parts in the film that I didn't like, starting with some unnecessary scenes. There were amounts of sex in the film which didn't need to be there, and some scenes that didn't make any sense. And then there was the fact that the police officer was pregnant, which brought a few laughs to the film, but no actual meaning to the plot. That's really all. All in all, this was a film that should be viewed by any happy, mature audience, and should be praised highly by any open-minded movie goer.


If you still didnt't understand why i gave this film the rating it got, please visit the link below:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/935623/blogs/?id=703501
March 14, 2013
shahmeer h.
shahmeer hashmat

Super Reviewer

    1. Marge Gunderson: And it's a beautiful day...
    – Submitted by Dan A (43 days ago)
    1. Marge Gunderson: Prowler needs a jump.
    – Submitted by William C (2 months ago)
    1. Marge Gunderson: Prowler needs a jump.
    – Submitted by William C (2 months ago)
    1. Jerry Lundegaard: Oh Geez.
    – Submitted by Matthew B (4 months ago)
    1. Marge Gunderson: Sir, you have no call to get snippy with me! I'm just doing my job here.
    – Submitted by Tony G (8 months ago)
    1. Marge Gunderson: Hiya, Lou. Whoo! What ya got there?
    2. Officer Olson: Margie, thought you might need a little warm-up.
    3. Marge Gunderson: Thanks a bunch. So, what's the deal? Gary says triple homicide.
    – Submitted by Rolf J (18 months ago)
View all quotes (27)

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