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The Fury
File:The Fury (1978).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian De Palma
Screenplay byJohn Farris
Produced byFrank Yablans
StarringKirk Douglas
John Cassavetes
Carrie Snodgress
Charles Durning
Amy Irving
Andrew Stevens
Rutanya Alda
CinematographyRichard H. Kline
Edited byPaul Hirsch
Music byJohn Williams
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$24,000,000[2]

The Fury is a 1978 supernatural horror film[3] 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 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. The two have a confrontation in the upstairs bedroom of a mansion because of it, 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.


  • Kirk Douglas as Peter Sandza
  • John Cassavetes as Ben Childress
  • Carrie Snodgress as Hester
  • Charles Durning as Dr. Jim McKeever
  • Amy Irving as Gillian Bellaver
  • Fiona Lewis as Dr. Susan Charles
  • Andrew Stevens as Robin Sandza
  • Carol Rossen as Dr. Ellen Lindstrom
  • Rutanya Alda as Kristen
  • Joyce Easton as Katharine Bellaver
  • William Finley as Raymond Dunwoodie
  • Daryl Hannah as Pam
  • Jane Lambert as Vivian Nuckells
  • Sam Laws as Blackfish
  • J. Patrick McNamara as Robertson
  • Alice Nunn as Mrs. Callahan
  • Melody Thomas Scott as La Rue
  • Hilary Thompson as Cheryl
  • Patrick Billingsley as Lander
  • J. P. Bumstead as Greene


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."[4]

Reception & Accolades[]

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[]

  • 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 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 became a topic many years later on David Letterman's show when he was a guest.[citation needed]

Home release[]

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.
  4. "Interview with Brian De Palma". The Talks.

External links[]

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