The Coen brothers created one of their most influential hits with this utterly fictional “true story” about an auto salesman who has his wife kidnapped in order to defraud her wealthy father, only to find his plan fall apart catastrophically. The film won Oscars for the original screenplay by Ethan and Joel Coen and for Frances McDormand’s performance as police chief Marge Gunderson, the film’s moral center. Fargo was also nominated for Best Picture, directing, supporting actor William H. Macy’s performance (unforgettable as the weaselly Jerry Lundegaard), film editing, and for cinematography by Roger Deakins, who found remarkable visual variety in the story’s unforgivingly cold landscapes.  

DIRECTED BY: Joel Coen. WRITTEN BY: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. WITH: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell. 1996. 95 min. USA. Color. English. Rated R. 35mm. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. 

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. 

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