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 drama film directed by Brian De Palma. The film was written by John Farris, based on his novel of the same name. It stars Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Amy Irving, Charles Durning 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 led by Ben Childress (John Cassavetes). This organization kidnaps psychics to turn them into weapons in the service of the United States government. To better control the psychics, they also kill their families. Peter survived the attempt on his life, but his son believes he was killed by Muslim terrorists. Childress' organization systematically experiments with Robin to increase his powers and develop the ability to control them, making him progressively more mentally 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 the assassination of her family.

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' ruthless experiments have finally rendered him insane. Robin delights in torturing and killing his teacher with whom he is having a sexual relationship in order to manipulate him. Robin plans to torture Peter as well. The two have a confrontation 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 flee from Childress and avenge his death. When Childress later 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 order to realistically show Cassavetes exploding at the climax like the 1977 film, he 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]