The Fury (1978 film)

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The Fury
The Fury (1978).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian De Palma
Produced byFrank Yablans
Screenplay byJohn Farris
Based onThe Fury
by John Farris
StarringKirk Douglas
John Cassavetes
Carrie Snodgress
Charles Durning
Amy Irving
Andrew Stevens
Fiona Lewis
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyRichard H. Kline
Edited byPaul Hirsch
Frank Yablans Presentations
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 10, 1978 (1978-03-10)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$7.5 million[1]
Box office$24 million[2]

The Fury is a 1978 American science fiction horror-thriller film directed by Brian De Palma and starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, and Andrew Stevens. The screenplay by John Farris was based on his 1976 novel of the same name.

The film was produced by Frank Yablans and released by 20th Century Fox on March 10, 1978. It was both a critical and commercial success, grossing $24 million from a $7.5 million budget. The music, composed and conducted by 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".[3][citation needed] To date, it is the only film adaptation of Farris' work.


In Israel, Peter Sandza and his psychic son Robin meet Ben Childress, Peter's old CIA colleague. Childress stages a terrorist attack and Peter's death before kidnapping Robin. Unbeknownst to all, Peter survives the assassination attempt, swearing retribution on Childress.

Months later in Chicago, high school student Gillian Bellaver discovers her psychic powers, including telekinesis and extra-sensory perception, during an in-class demonstration. The uncontrolled manifestations of these powers cause harm to people that physically touch or provoke her. She volunteers to attend the Paragon Institute, a live-in research facility studying psychic powers in adolescents.

Meanwhile, Peter has tracked his son to Chicago. After evading Childress' agents, Peter meets with his girlfriend Hester, a Paragon nurse, who tells him about Gillian. They learn that the institute is a cover by PSI, a covert agency led by Childress which 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 through brainwashing and the elimination of their families.

As Gillian's psychic prowess grows, she begins experiencing visions of Robin's abuse at the hands of the institute, including a failed escape attempt. Gillian eventually forms a telepathic link to Robin. Knowing that she knows too much and that her powers are growing, Childress orders Gillian be transported to PSI headquarters where Robin is being kept. Hester overhears Childress' conversation and informs Peter, who plans a rescue, hoping she can lead him to Robin.

The rescue is successful, but Hester is killed in the process. Using Gillian's powers, she and Peter track Robin down to a remote mansion in the countryside, where he has spent the last several months being groomed and experimented on by Childress and his handler Susan. Though Robin's abilities have grown to unprecedented levels, he gradually becomes more and more unstable from the psychological strain of his superiors' machinations, culminating in a mass murder inside an indoor amusement park.

As Peter and Gillian infiltrate the mansion, Robin finally snaps, telekinetically torturing and killing Susan. Peter confronts his son but Robin attacks him in a fit of rage, believing him to be complicit in his suffering. Robin is thrown out the window and scratches Peter when he tries to save him from falling. When Robin plunges to the ground, a distraught Peter flings himself after.

Robin lingers a bit before finally dying and seems to make some form of psychic contact with Gillian; he transfers his refined powers to her with the implied message to save herself from Childress and avenge his death. The next morning, Childress approaches Gillian and starts using his manipulations to get her to connect with him. She understands his long-term intentions, embraces her psychic abilities and avenges the deaths of Robin and Peter by willing Childress' body to explode.



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 in the film's conclusion. "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."[4]

Reception & accolades[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5]

The music, composed and conducted by 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".[citation needed]

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

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.[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. ^ "De Palma's 'The Fury' is dominated by one incredible set-piece after another". PopOptiq. 2014-05-04. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  4. ^ "Interview with Brian De Palma". The Talks.
  5. ^ "The Fury (1978)". Rotten Tomatoes.

External links[edit]