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 million[2]

The Fury is a 1978 supernatural horror 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, searches for his son Robin (Andrew Stevens), who is kidnapped by PSI, a secret intelligence organization inside the CIA run by ruthless Ben Childress (John Cassavetes), Peter's former friend.

This organization kidnaps psychics to use their power as weapons in the service of the United States government. The achievement of the psychics' management and control is by the elimination of their families. Childress gains the trust of Peter and subjects Robin to this treatment. Robin incorrectly believes his father killed by Muslim terrorists. Robin is taken away by Childress on the pretext of providing protection from the terrorists and to later manipulate him. Childress' organization then systematically experiments to increase Robin's powers, and to control father and son. Robin's mental instability increases.

A teenage girl, Gillian Bellaver (Amy Irving), discovers her own psychic powers, including telekinesis and extra-sensory perception. The uncontrolled manifestations of these powers cause harm to people that physically touch or provoke her. She volunteers to attend the Paragon Institute, as had Robin, and the director is Dr. James McKeever (Charles Durning), a colleague of Ben Childress. Her development at the institute uncovers her psychic link with Robin, and a psychic prowess that is comparable to his. She is to be kidnapped and her family eliminated.

Peter finds out about Gillian through his girlfriend Hester (Carrie Snodgress), who works at the clinic.[clarification needed] He manages to warn her through Hester and to break her out, in the process of which Hester accidentally dies. Together they track Robin to Chicago, where Childress' ruthless experiments make him insane. Robin delights in torturing and killing his teacher in revenge for her seduction of him and using her sexuality to experiment and manipulate him. Robin intends to torture Peter because he suspects Peter's involvement in the experiments. Childress enables Robin to follow through in order to eliminate them. There is a confrontation between the two in an upstairs bedroom of a mansion. Their deaths happen when both are thrown out of the bedroom window and fall to the ground.

Robin lingers a bit before finally dying and seems to make some form of psychic contact with Gillian; he transfers his powers to her with the implied message to save herself from Childress and avenge his death. The next morning, Childress approaches Gillian to accept his "help". She understands his long-term intentions, embraces her psychic abilities and avenges the deaths of Robin and Peter by exploding Childress internally.



Parts of this film used the grounds at Old Chicago of Bolingbrook, Illinois, a now-defunct amusement park. The scene at the hotel when Kirk Douglas escapes the agents took place in a room at the now-defunct Plymouth Hotel, the same room and hotel used in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.[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 two."[3]

Reception & Accolades[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

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

Future stars[edit]

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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989, p. 259
  2. ^ "The Fury, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  3. ^ "Interview with Brian De Palma". The Talks.
  4. ^ "The Fury (1978)". Rotten Tomatoes.

External links[edit]