7.7/10
145,332
254 user 83 critic

Primal Fear (1996)

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,580 ( 92)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Molly Arrington
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Bud Yancy
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Tommy Goodman
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Joey Pinero
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Abel Stenner
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Martinez
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Archbishop Rushman
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Naomi Chance
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Alex
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Jack Connerman
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Storyline

Courtroom thriller about a slick, hotshot lawyer who takes the seemingly unwinnable case of a young altar boy accused of murdering an eminent catholic priest. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief grisly violence, pervasive strong language and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

3 April 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Iskonski strah  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

JPY 115,361,300 (Japan) (15 November 1996)

Gross:

$56,116,183 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The exterior police station where Martin Vail goes to see Aaron Stampler is the same exterior police station used for the TV series Hill Street Blues (1981) , for which director Gregory Hoblit was producer and director. See more »

Goofs

(at around 31 mins) The blood at the scene of the murder (where Vail comes in some days after the murder), and the blood on Aaron's sneakers, shown in the court, should be brown, because some time has passed and blood coagulates. When blood coagulates it turns from red to brown. See more »

Quotes

Martin Vail: [in a private room inside the district attorney's office] Mr. Pinero has never been convicted of anything. Cops jumped him, he was left bleeding in the snow. It's a miracle he survived. Having said that, I am not opposed to a settlement.
John Shaughnessy: A million-five and Pinero leaves the state.
Martin Vail: You can't limit a citizen's right to live wherever he wants to. Legally, that's unenforceable.
John Shaughnessy: Whether or not it's enforceable or just a gentleman's agreement, Mr. Pinero will know what we want.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.159 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Lacrimosa
from Requiem
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W.A. Mozart)
Performed by Wiener Sängerknaben (as Wiener Sängerknaben)
Courtesy of Capriccio
by arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Three outstanding performances/characters (or "four?")
17 February 2007 | by (Tulsa OK) – See all my reviews

Edward Norton's debut was outstanding in this film, and his work since has confirmed his substantial talent.

Richard Gere was equally-proficient in his role as the big-shot defense attorney defending Norton's seemingly hapless "Aaron."

And Laura Linney - although in a role with less screen-time, was also equal in her performance as the prosecutor, and Gere's courtroom opposition and former lover.

The supporting roles were well-cast and played, and perhaps the only criticism to be given would be some brief sub-plot elements which weren't necessary to the main story, but really didn't detract from it significantly.

This film provides an excellent combination of courtroom- and psycho-drama - each excellent in its own right, and superb together in this presentation's plot.

Gripping, thoroughly-enjoyable entertainment.


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