The Fan (1981)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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In this thrilling adaptation of the story by Bob Randall, Broadway star Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall) is worshipped by ardent fan Douglas Breen (Michael Biehn). Breen's infatuation quickly turns into an obsession, and when his passionate letters receive no response, he snaps. His unrequited love fuels an intense hatred, setting Breen off on a killing spree.
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video

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Lauren Bacall
as Sally Ross
Michael Biehn
as Douglas Breen
James Garner
as Jake Berman
Maureen Stapleton
as Belle Goldman
Hector Elizondo
as Ralph Andrews
Anna Maria Horsford
as Emily Stolz
Kurt Johnson
as David Branum
Reed Jones
as Choreographer
Kaiulani Lee
as Douglas' Sister
Charles Blackwell
as John Vetta
Dwight Schultz
as Director
Dana Delany
as Saleswoman
Terence Marinan
as Young Man in Bar
Ed Crowley
as Caretaker
Gail Benedict
as Assistant Choreographer
D. David Lewis
as Pianist
Griffin Dunne
as Production Assistant
Jean De Baer
as Stage Manager
Liz Smith
as Herself
Rene Ceballos
as Dancer
Clif DeRaita
as Dancer
Edyie Fleming
as Dancer
Justin Ross
as Dancer
Jim Wolfe
as Dancer
Thomas Saccio
as Prop Man
James Ogden
as Drummer
Donna Mitchell
as Hostess
Hector Osorio
as Doughnut Vendor
Lionel Pina
as Customer
Miriam Phillips
as Woman on Steps
Jack R. Marks
as Doorman
George Peters
as Doorman
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Critic Reviews for The Fan

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (1)

What started out as a taut thriller has somehow evolved into unintentional burlesque, with killer and victim functioning as a second-rate comedy team.

Full Review… | December 21, 2015
Washington Post
Top Critic

Chilling but unrealistic stalker film.

Full Review… | April 28, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An unsettling thriller about a celebrity stalker that only falters at the end. Good work by Bacall and especially Biehn.

October 14, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Creepy Michael Biehn is memorable.

December 18, 2004
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Enjoyably campy trash.

March 29, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Those looking for a tight thriller will be bored; those looking for effective horror will be annoyed.

December 28, 2002
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for The Fan


** (out of four) Lauren Bacall plays a glamorous actress who takes a new job on the stage in a new Broadway play. She has a huge fan (Michael Biehn) and he is stalking her. The plot goes about where you'd expect in this average thriller.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Silly, and woefully miscast (unless they wanted the musical to sound as bad as it did), but really surprisingly fun. Can't imagine I'll watch it again anytime soon, but the camp factor alone makes it worth renting.

Robert Beveridge
Robert Beveridge

1981 "the fan" is a self-recycling tale of lauren bacall's past stardom, a self-referential parody since it is convinient to barrow her young glamour shots in the flick. bacall is sally ross, the aging super star who decides to head broadway while she suffers from the melancholy after divorce despite her ex is still escorting her. on the other hand, her number one fanatic fan douglas is running amok becuz the grand sally ross never has time or care to read or reply one goddamned word to him. he blames sally ross' assistant for intercepting his letters, so he teaches her a lesson by disfiguring her. solitude in reclusion and continuous refusals trigger off his insanity, so douglas makes up his mind to go for the extreme to get what he wants most: a responded letter from sally ross. the flick is corny, and it centers on trivia around bacall more than the lunatic state of the fan. it is partially a melodrama of bacall's november romance featuring her relationship with men, her struggling career and her dazzling musical, occasionally boasted with a cheesy sense of horror which populates in 70s and 80s slasher flick. it is amazing that bacall still remains a touch of class and a tint of hipster glamour in 1981, but wouln't it be absurd that all sally ross has to do is raising her precious hands to type a letter to stop this dreadful madness but she's not even courageous enough to do so? but she has guts enough to stick a knife in him at the end? typical star with imperious conceits and insoulciant insolence, who takes admiration for granted.

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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