Discover if the Coen Brothers’ hit movie, Fargo, is based on a true story. We explore the similarities between the film and real life events.
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Fargo is a crime drama film released in 1996, written, produced, and directed by the Coen brothers. The film stars Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson, a police chief investigating a crime in Minnesota. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won two, including Best Actress for McDormand.
Despite its title, the film is not actually based on a true story. However, the Coen brothers were inspired by a true crime that occurred in Minnesota in 1987. The movie’s opening scene even includes a disclaimer that reads “This is a true story. The events depicted took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
So while Fargo is not based on a true story, it is inspired by real events. And if you’re looking for more films based on true stories, check out our list of the best ones to watch.
The movie Fargo
The 1996 film Fargo, written, produced, and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, is a crime thriller that tells the story of a pregnant police chief investigating a series of grizzly murders in rural Minnesota. The film earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won two Oscars, for Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay (Joel Coen).
Fargo has been praised for its strong characters, dark humor, and beautiful cinematography. But one question that continues to arise is whether or not the movie is based on a true story.
The answer is a bit complicated. While the movie is not based on a specific true story, it was inspired by an actual case of abduction and murder that took place in Minnesota in 1987. The case involved an insurance salesman named William Alfred Hance who kidnapped and killed three women before being captured by authorities.
However, the Coens have stated that they were not trying to tell Hance’s story in Fargo. Rather, they were interested in exploring the “Minnesota nice” persona and how dark deeds can fester underneath polite exteriors.
So while Fargo is not a true story in the strictest sense of the term, it is certainly rooted in reality.
The true story behind Fargo
Many people wonder if the movie Fargo is based on a true story. The answer is both yes and no. The movie is actually based on a true crime that occurred in Minnesota in 1987. However, the movie itself is a work of fiction. The Coen brothers, who wrote and directed the film, took inspiration from the real-life case but changed many of the details to create their own unique story.
In the movie, a pregnant police chief named Marge Gunderson (played by Frances McDormand) investigates a series of grisly murders that have taken place in her small town of Fargo, North Dakota. As she delves deeper into the case, she discovers that the killings are connected to a scheme hatched by two men (played by Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap and ransom a local businesswoman.
While the movie is set in North Dakota, the actual crime took place in Minnesota. In 1987, two men named Jerry Scmidt and Timothy Carlstrom kidnapped William Perry from his home inSt. Cloud, Minnesota. Perry was an insurance salesman who had recently come into some money, and Schmidt and Carlstrom hoped to kidnap him for ransom. However, their plan quickly went awry and they ended up murdering Perry before dumping his body in a ditch near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.
While the movie Fargo is not entirely accurate to real life, it captures the essence of what happened in this tragic case. The Coen brothers have said that they wanted to create a “true crime” story that was also an “entertaining thriller”. And that’s exactly what they achieved with this classic film.
The characters in Fargo
Fargo is a 1996 film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief investigating a brutal murder in the small town of Brainerd, Minnesota.
The Coen brothers have said that Fargo is not based on a true story, but rather was inspired by real-life events. However, the characters in the film are not based on real people.
The setting of Fargo
Fargo is a 1996 film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant police chief investigating a series of homicides in the titular city of Fargo, North Dakota. Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, and Harve Presnell co-star in supporting roles.
The Coens filmed Fargo in various locations across North Dakota and Minnesota. The majority of the film’s events take place in the latter state, primarily in the fictional city of Brainerd (although a few scenes are set in Minneapolis).
The plot of Fargo
The 1996 movie Fargo, directed by the Coen brothers, is a crime drama with black comedy elements. The story revolves around a pregnant police chief investigating a series of homicides, culminating in a kidnapping and ransom scheme gone wrong.
Although the movie is set in Minnesota, it was actually filmed in North Dakota. The opening scene of the film states that it is based on a true story, but the events depicted in the movie are actually fictional.
However, the Coen brothers have stated that they were inspired by a true crime story from 1987, in which a ransom demand led to double homicide.
The ending of Fargo
Though much of the Coen brothers’ film is based on true events, the ending is entirely fabricated. The real-life crimes that inspired Fargo took place in 1987, but the bulk of the movie is set in 1979. This is significant because the ending features a very famous pop song that wasn’t released until 1983. The movie’s characters listen to “Red River Valley” on the radio as they drive back to Minneapolis, but the song wouldn’t have been available on the radio in 1979.
The legacy of Fargo
The film Fargo was released in 1996 and was an instant classic. The story, set in the frigid cold of North Dakota, centers around a desperate man who hires two criminals to kidnap his wife in order to extort money from her wealthy father. The plan quickly goes awry and the resulting crime spree leaves a trail of bloody violence in its wake.
While the movie is fiction, it is based on true events that took place in Minnesota in 1987. The real-life case was known as the Moorhead murders and involved a very similar plotline. In both cases, the perpetrators were caught and sentenced to life in prison.
The movie Fargo has become a pop culture phenomenon, spawning a TV series and cementing its place in American film history. It is also credited with putting the state of North Dakota on the map for many people who had never heard of it before. Thanks to the film, Fargo has become synonymous with cold winters, small-town charm, and above all else, Midwest hospitality.
The critical reception of Fargo
The critical reception of Fargo has been overwhelmingly positive. The film has a 96% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on sixty-seven reviews, with an average rating of 9/10. The site’s consensus reads: “An absorbing mix of bravado and pathos, Fargo uses languid humor and brutal violence to tell a uniquely American story.” On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100 based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
Barry Levinson was among the first to praise the film, calling it “the best movie I’ve seen in years”. Gene Siskel also gave the film a positive review, praising its acting and writing. Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and placed it at number seven on his list of the best films of 1996. He later went on to name it the best film of the 1990s.
After looking at all the evidence, it seems clear that the movie Fargo is not based on a true story. However, it is inspired by real life events, and the Coen brothers have said that they used these events as a jumping off point for their own fictional story.