Primal Fear
Primal Fear (1996)

A high-profile slaying becomes the case of an ambitious attorney's career in this legal thriller based on the novel by William Diehl. Richard Gere stars as Martin Vail, a famed defense lawyer who volunteers his services to Aaron… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: April 5, 1996
DVD Release Date: October 20, 1998
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Critic Score
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Critic Score: 74% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A straightforward, entertaining thriller with a crackerjack performance by Edward Norton.

Mike Clark
USA Today

As a forum for its actors and for the big-screen directorial debut of multi-Emmy winner Gregory Hoblit, the film is up to the job.

Peter Canavese
Groucho Reviews

An unfolding mystery in which truth is elusive, and twists are the order of the Norton a career-making opportunity to strut his stuff. [Blu-ray]

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John J. Puccio
Movie Metropolis

The plot is engaging, the cast is exceptional, and Hoblit moves things along in commendably straightforward fashion. Very entertaining.

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David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews

...a solid drama that's elevated on an all-too-consistent basis by Norton's impressively hypnotic work.

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Walter Chaw
Film Freak Central

its heroes only heroes because they believe in order and not because they're capable of order's championing or restoration.

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Brian Webster
Apollo Guide

Exhibits many of the genre's common weaknesses, but the fine acting of Edward Norton, Laura Linney and Richard Gere enables us to forgive them.

Emanuel Levy

Edward Norton became an instant star after making a splashy, Oscar-nominated performance in this well-executed horror thriller.

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Ryan Cracknell
Movie Views

Helped greatly by excellent performances from both of the film's leads, as well as the rounded supporting cast.

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Gabe Leibowitz
Film and Felt

Unfortunately, Primal Fear hasn't aged well; there are wrinkles and pockmarks all over its face.

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More reviews for Primal Fear

Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Alex roy
Primal Fear is a well crafted court room drama thriller that is very well directed by underrated Gregory Hoblit. I really love his movies and Primal Fear is… More
Eric Shankle
The story is handled very well and is full of many twists. Definitely an entertaining film and the great performances (notably Edward Norton) make it all the… More
Jack Hawkins
One detriment of the film is its mainstream formula. It needlessly adds the romance of Gere and Linney, which is both frivolous and unrealistic. I'm not… More
jay nixon
If you want to see excellent acting in the service of an involving well told story this is a good place to start. Across the board there is not one weak… More
"A very interesting twisted story. I didn't really know much about the movie. I just was cruising through Netflix looking for a good crime drama and… More
Jim Careter
Primal Fear is a movie that you will forever love Edward Norton, he is so amaing, if your going to love the movie at least love it for him.