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The Fan (1981)

Douglas, a record salesman, is an obsessive fan of actress Sally Ross. When his letters are rejected, he strikes out at her and her loved ones.


Ed Bianchi (as Edward Bianchi)


Bob Randall (novel), Priscilla Chapman | 1 more credit »

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lauren Bacall ... Sally Ross
James Garner ... Jake Berman
Maureen Stapleton ... Belle Goldman
Hector Elizondo ... Police Inspector Raphael Andrews
Michael Biehn ... Douglas Breen
Anna Maria Horsford ... Emily Stolz
Kurt Johnson ... David Branum
Feiga Martinez Feiga Martinez ... Elsa
Reed Jones Reed Jones ... Choreographer
Kaiulani Lee Kaiulani Lee ... Douglas' Sister
Charles Blackwell Charles Blackwell ... John Vetta
Dwight Schultz ... Director
Dana Delany ... Saleswoman in Record Store
Terence Marinan Terence Marinan ... Young Man in Bar
Lesley Rogers Lesley Rogers ... Heidi


Douglas is a lonesome record salesman and a true fan of the actress Sally Ross. Every day he writes her gleaming letters of love. But the only response he gets are formal letters. So his love turns into hatred. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The final act is murder. See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trance See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This movie was first release about three years after Bob Randall's source novel of the same "The Fan" name was first published in 1978. See more »


Douglas Breen: Dear bitch, see how accessible you are? How would you liked to be fucked with a meat cleaver?
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Alternate Versions

At the 57:17 mark, the spoken line in all theatrical prints and previous video versions is "Dearest Bitch, See how accessible you are? How would you liked to be fucked with a meat cleaver?" The 2002 DVD release from Paramount Home Entertainment replaces that line with "Dearest Bitch, I've exhausted myself on thinking of ways to kill you." No reasons were given for this alteration. The rest of the film, including the gore, is intact. The VHS version features the original line. See more »


Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Sung by Lauren Bacall
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User Reviews

At least its better than the 1996 film of the same name.
26 May 2010 | by TOMASBBloodhoundSee all my reviews

The opening credit indicates that this is a Robert Stigwood production. So from then on, you have been warned. What is a guy known for The Bee Gees and the Grease movies doing getting involved in a slasher film? Well, it isn't all bad. The casting is very good on all fronts. Lauren Bacall stars as an aging actress trying her hand at Broadway late in her career. Michael Biehn, an upcoming talent who would make his mark mostly in James Cameron action movies, plays Douglas Breen who is an odd young man stalking her. James Garner offers fine support as Bacall's supportive ex husband. Maureen Stapleton is on hand as the put-upon secretary who first tries to warn her boss about this weirdo sending her letters. She is the first victim as Biehn begins to lash out violently after his advances are ignored. Several others also face his wrath before the finale.

The fine cast, good cinematography, and Pino Donaggio score do a decent job of window dressing this routine plot. They are just enough to make this watchable. The script cannot support the premise as the plot moves along, however. First of all, once the secretary is brutally slashed in a subway attack, Biehn stops using his last name and address on the letters he writes Bacall. And conveniently all his others with that in formation have been thrown out. Sure. There is a particularly brutal attack on Bacall's young new boyfriend in a YMCA swimming pool where he is basically gutted by Biehn in plain sight of several witnesses. No way he would have gotten out of there without being caught. No way. Several other scenes ring false as Biehn clearly stands out in the crowd while stalking Bacall. And just how exactly did he get into her secured building to kill the maid and trash the place??? Never explained. They didn't even try.

But still, it keeps you watching. The performances are better than the material deserves. Bacall plays her character honestly, and you can see the talent she still has in many phases. She was aging here, but gracefully and honestly. It didn't look like she'd had much surgery back then, and Botox may have not even been invented. If nothing else is on, you will probably find yourself watching this all the way through. 6 of 10 stars.

The Hound.

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