The Fury (1978 film)

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The Fury
The Fury (1978).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian De Palma
Produced by Frank Yablans
Screenplay by John Farris
Based on The Fury
by John Farris
Starring Kirk Douglas
John Cassavetes
Carrie Snodgress
Charles Durning
Amy Irving
Andrew Stevens
Fiona Lewis
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Richard H. Kline
Edited by Paul Hirsch
Frank Yablans Presentations
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 10, 1978 (1978-03-10)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7.5 million[1]
Box office $24,000,000[2]

The Fury is a 1978 supernatural thriller film directed by Brian De Palma. The screenplay by John Farris was based on his 1976 novel of the same name, the film stars Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving and Andrew Stevens. The music, composed by Academy Award-winner John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, was highly praised by critic Pauline Kael, who called it "as elegant and delicately varied a score as any horror film has ever had".


Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas), a former CIA agent, is searching for his son Robin (Andrew Stevens), who was kidnapped by a secret intelligence organization inside the CIA called PSI led by ruthless Ben Childress (John Cassavetes), Peter's former friend.

This organization kidnaps psychics to turn them into weapons in the service of the United States government. To control the psychics better for that purpose, they also kill their families. Childress gained the trust of Peter and Robin to apply this on both of them. Peter survived the attempt on his life, but his son believes he was killed by Muslim terrorists before being taken away by Childress on the pretext of wanting to protect him from them in order to manipulate him later. Childress' organization then systematically experiments with Robin to increase his powers and develop his ability to control them, while at the same time control him, but this also makes him progressively mentally more and more unstable.

In the meantime, a teenage girl, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving), discovers that she possesses psychic powers, including telekinesis and extra-sensory perception, and that their uncontrolled manifestations are harming people who touch or provoke her. She volunteers to attend the Paragon Institute, which had been attended by Robin, and whose director, Dr. James McKeever (Charles Durning) also works for Ben Childress, during her training, it is discovered that she has a psychic link with Robin, and that her psychic prowess is comparable to his. Upon learning this, Childress begins to plan her kidnapping and the assassination of her family.

Peter finds out about Gillian through his girlfriend Hester (Carrie Snodgress), who works at the clinic, he manages to warn her through Hester and manages to break her out, in which Hester, accidentally dies. Together they track Robin to Chicago, where Childress' ruthless experiments have finally rendered him insane. Robin delights in torturing and killing his teacher who seduced him into having a sexual relationship with her in order to manipulate him for the experiments. Robin, in his insanity, also plans to torture Peter, when he finds out he is alive, as well, because he also thinks he was involved in the experiments. Childress made sure of that in order to get rid of both of them, the two have a confrontation because of it in the upstairs bedroom of a mansion, during which they are thrown out of a window and fall to their deaths.

As he dies, Robin has some form of psychic contact with Gillian, in which he transfers his powers to her with the implied message to save herself from Childress and avenge his death. When Childress the next morning tries to persuade Gillian to accept his "help", she, realizing his true intentions, finally embraces her psychic abilities and avenges Robin and Peter by exploding Childress from the inside out.



Parts of this feature were filmed at Old Chicago of Bolingbrook, Illinois, a now defunct amusement park, the scene in which Kirk Douglas escapes the agents at the hotel were filmed at the now defunct Plymouth Hotel, the same hotel and room used in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

In an interview with The Talks, De Palma said that he had 8 or 9 high-speed cameras to film Cassavetes exploding. "The first time we did it, it didn't work. The body parts didn't go towards the right cameras and this whole set was covered with blood. And it took us almost a week to get back to do take two."[3]

Reception & Accolades[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rick Baker and William J. Tuttle both won Best Make-up at the 6th Saturn Awards.

Future stars[edit]

  • The film features the debut performances of Dennis Franz, Daryl Hannah and Laura Innes. Franz plays a cop driving a car hijacked by Douglas' character. Hannah plays a student at a school attended by Irving's character.
  • Jim Belushi appears as an extra.

Home release[edit]

In October 2013, UK video label Arrow Films released The Fury onto Blu-ray with a brand-new transfer and exclusive extras.


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258
  2. ^ "The Fury, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Brian De Palma". The Talks. 

External links[edit]