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23,922 Ratings


Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
United States, 1996
Crime, Thriller, Comedy


Set against the windswept tundra of Minnesota, a car salesman plans to wipe out his personal debts by hiring a pair of colorful crooks to kidnap his wife and have her wealthy father pay the ransom. The haphazard scheme turns sour during a routine pull-over that leaves three dead bodies in its wake.

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Fargo Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1996 | Winner: Best Director

Academy Awards

1997 | 2 wins including: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

1997 | 5 nominations including: Best Picture

The duality between darkness and light informs all of the Coen Brothers’ work: even their most disturbing film, No Country for Old Men (2007), has its share of humourous moments; and their zanier, more comedic works – from Raising Arizona (1987) to The Big Lebowski (1998) and Burn After Reading (2008) – are haunted by nightmares, kidnappings, and even murder. Of all their films, though, Fargo strikes the most perfect blend of these two competing, or rather complementary, impulses.
March 17, 2017
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The mixture of offbeat humor (those Minnesota accents!) and sweeping filmmaking makes this one of the directors’ most ambitious works. It’s a relentlessly funny movie, but also a deeply moving one. And it richly imagines a whole universe of character and consequence.
February 05, 2016
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Among post-Scorsese American filmmakers, the Coen Brothers are unrivalled in terms of quality and originality. Fargo deservedly remains their signature movie, its cultural reverberations extended and deepened by the eponymous anthology television program, which has emerged as one of the most sly and inventive ever.
January 20, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Fargo

    Thing I wasn't allowed to do in 1996: see Fargo in theaters. Having just caught it on 35mm, it looks more than ever like one of the great American films: midwest noir where comically exaggerated amorality plays off comically exaggerated folksiness, with McDormand as an even brighter spot of virtue than Philip Marlowe. As many ironic laughs as the film has, watch her closely—see what these cynics aren't ironic about.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Fargo

    With leitmotif its aphasic dialogue, this tragicomic scrutiny constructs and transcend its own dsitantiation device and manages to created human-all-too-human characters/puppets, where the utterance "yeah" transforms language into self-referential emptying of meaning. As empty signifiers characters are momentarily redeemed in Marge's loving utterance 'Norm', in what is maybe one of the greatest feminist scenes ever!

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Fargo

    I'd hard-pressed to name a film from the Coen Brothers' catalog more tightly and carefully crafted than "Fargo." While it's easy to latch onto the moments that poke fun at Midwestern stereotypes and have a bit of a laugh at the expense of Minnesota residents, at its heart I still see this as a story about how oftentimes the most modest and "simple" people are the only force for good in a world of limitless evil.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Fargo

    Essential cinema. The Coen Brothers usual mix of dark comedy, bloodshed and the macabre reached an early crescendo with this enthralling pleasure. Oscar winning scripting and near perfect casting along with their standard visual mastery have made this a modern classic. McDormand in her Oscar winning turn is magic as is the rest of the cast with their regional characterizations.

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film Fargo

    Frances McDormand's on-screen warmth is irresistible, especially when it's juxtaposed with the film's frozen footprints and cold-hearted kidnappers. With Steve Buscemi's slimy character and the shady William H. Macy, we're talking about three of my all-time favorite actors. Beyond the violence and MN/SD cliches, there's a lot of dark humor and familiar Americana for anyone who's spent time in the area.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Fargo

    In my opinion, the first masterpiece of the Coen brothers. The opening sequence is like the MILLER CROSSING one, a little jewel. This hymn to the natural good sense should have a reserved place in your library. Yeah ? Yeah ! As Parmenides of Elea used to say : To think is like staying in the snow without fearing the mild spell".

  • Jason's rating of the film Fargo

    The screenplay is one of the finest pieces of American writing of the twentieth century. At that's just for starters.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Fargo

    I have trouble with watching cruelty. Especially when everyone around you is laughing. Sometimes I feel like I'm on the wrong planet.

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