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
Rutanya Alda
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Richard H. Kline
Edited by Paul Hirsch
Frank Yablans Presentations
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • 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 film was written by John Farris, based on his novel of the same name. It starred Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Amy Irving, Charles Durning and Andrew Stevens. The music was composed by Academy Award-winner John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. It 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, who was kidnapped by a secret intelligence organisation inside the CIA lead by Ben Childress. This organization kidnaps psychics to turn them into weapons in the service of the United States government. To achieve this, they also kill their families to have them in their grasp correspondingly, which "forced" them to try to kill Peter, too, an attempt which failed. Still they were able to gain the trust of his son, kidnap him and make him believe, that he was killed by Arab terrorists. After that they begin to systematically experiment with him to increase his powers and give him the ability to control them, experiments which are horrible for him, but is pushed to endure them anyway because of corresponding manipulations regarding his needs, which have no counterbalance because of his isolation. In the meantime, a teenage girl, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving), discovers that she possesses psychic powers, including telekinesis and extra-sensory perception, but that other people suffer bleeding if they touch her because of her extreme poweful electromagnetic brainwaves. She volunteers to attend the Paragon Institute, where Robin also was and whose director, Dr. James McKeever (Charles Durning) also works for Ben Childress (John Cassavetes). It turns out, that Gillian had psychic contact with Robin. When Childress realises she is as powerful as Robin, he decides to do the same stunt with her as he did with Robin. Peter finds out about Gillian and through his girlfriend Hester (Carrie Snodgress), who works at the clinic, he manages to establish contact with Gillian and warn her. He manages to break her out and together they track Robin to Chicago, where Childress's ruthless experiments have damaged the young man's mind and finally rendered him insane. The boy and Peter both die within minutes of their reunion. 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 flee from Childress and avenge his death. When Childress later tries to persuade Gillian to accept his "help", she, realising his true intentions, finally embraces her psychic abilities and attained abilities and, to avenge Peter's and Robin's deaths, kills Childress by exploding him 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 order to realistically show Cassavetes exploding at the climax like the 1977 film Black Sunday (also composed by John Williams), Cassavetes stood on the set convulsing and bleeding until a lamp fell down creating a split-second white flash on the screen. Then a quick edit is done replacing Cassavetes with a lifesized rigged dummy exploding shot at several different angles.[citation needed] 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 2."[3]

Future stars[edit]

  • The film features early performances by Dennis Franz (in his debut), Daryl Hannah and Laura Innes. Franz plays a cop driving a car hijacked by Douglas' character and gets about ten minutes of screen time and numerous lines. Hannah plays a student at a school attended by Irving's character and gets about five minutes of screen time and almost no lines.[citation needed]
  • Jim Belushi appears as an extra; his appearance becoming a topic many years later on David Letterman's show when he was a guest.[citation needed]

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]