Primal Fear Movie Review 1996

Information and Film Reviews for Primal Fear the Movie

Staff rating

Visitor rating
4.0 from 0 reviews

Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail (Gere) is torn between the fight for justice and the lure of fame. He seems to have found the spotlight when a gentle altar boy (newcomer Norton is a standout) is accused of savagely murdering an archbishop. This leads to some courtroom fireworks due, in part, to the fact that the prosecutor (Linney) is Vail's former lover. Gere turns in a satisfying performance but, except when he's with his client, can't keep the script afloat. Lame plot revelations and an obvious "shocker" ending don't help matters. Feature directorial debut of Hoblit, Emmy winner for TV's "Hill Street Blues," "L.A. Law," and "NYPD Blue." Adapted from the book by William Diehl.


Paramount Home Video, 5555 Melrose Ave., 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, Phone: (323)956-5000, URL:, Remarks: Does not handle retail queries from consumers; contact your local video distributor.

Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 130 minutes.

Cast and Crew

Law & Lawyers, Shrinks, Books to Film: William Diehl, Torn in Two (or More), Order in the Court, Nuns & Priests, Chicago
Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman
Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Terry O'Quinn, Andre Braugher, Steven Bauer, Joe Spano, Tony Plana, Stanley Anderson, Maura Tierney, Jon Seda
Michael Chapman
Gregory Hoblit
James Newton Howard
Gary Lucchesi, Jr. Howard W. Koch, Rysher Entertainment, Paramount Pictures


Golden Globes 1997: Support. Actor (Norton); L.A. Film Critics 1996: Support. Actor (Norton); Natl. Bd. of Review 1996: Support. Actor (Norton).

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