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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Fargo (1996)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Plot Summary: A pregnant police chief is investigating a series of homicides across the frozen tundra. Against a sprawling Minnesota landscape, a car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap his wife. But when the scheme goes sour, and wood chippers get involved, the haphazard kidnapping plot turns deadly serious.

*Recognition: Nominated for Best Picture, Director (Joel Coen), Supporting Actor (William H. Macy), Cinematography (Roger Deakins), and Editing; Won for Best Actress (Frances McDormand), and Original Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen); 2006 Entrant into the National Film Registry; AFI 1998 #84, but not 2007; and soon to be five seasons of a critically acclaimed TV series based on the same universe.

What is this movie is about?: Cynical and nihilistic take on crime (not actually based on a real crime), and the importance of contentedness and the small things in life.

Best Performance: Joel and Ethan Coen

Best Secondary Performance: Steve Buscemi

Most Charismatic Award: Frances McDormand

Best Scene: Woodchipper/Marge Arrives to a Triple Homicide

Favorite Scene: Kidnapping Jean/Marge's Speech

Most Indelible Moment: Woodchipper and the Minnesota Nice Accent

Best Line:

Marge Gunderson: So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

Honorable Mention:

Jerry Lundegaard: You're darn tootin'!

Marge Gunderson: You betcha!

Jerry Lundegaard: Oh geez!

Funniest Line:

Marge Gunderson: Say, Lou, didya hear the one about the guy who couldn't afford personalized plates, so he went and changed his name to J3L2404?

Officer Olson: Yah that's a good one.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9

Impact/Significance: 8

Novelty: 8.5

Classic-ness: 9.25

Rewatchability: 6.5

Audience Score: 9.3

Total: 50.55

Remaining Questions:

  • What would have happened when the snow melted and someone found the money?

  • Why overplay the accent?

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