Primal Fear

Synopsis: Courtroom thriller about a slick, hotshot lawyer who takes the seemingly unwinnable case of a young altar boy accused of murdering an eminent catholic priest.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Gregory Hoblit
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
129 min

First day of law school,

my professor says two things.

First, "From now on, when

your mother says she loves you,"

- "get a second opinion."

- And?

"You want justice, go to a whorehouse.

Wanna get f***ed, go to court."


Let's say you have a client

you know is guilty.

No. Neither our justice system

nor I care about that.

Every defendant,

regardless of what he's done,

has the right to the best defence

his attorney can provide.

- Where were you with the truth?

- Truth? How do you mean?


I'm not sure how many ways

there are to mean it.

- You think there's only one?

- You're late.

- There's only one that matters.

- Marty, hold still.

My version of it. The one I create

in the minds of the twelve jurors.

If you want, you can call it

something else. The illusion of truth.

- If you want. It's up to you.

- OK.

Jack, you need more?

Tomorrow afternoon?

- Yeah.

- I'll have my secretary set it up.


- This is a cover story, right?

- Yeah.

Yeah. OK, bye.

St. Michael's Boys Choir, thank you.

A very talented group.

Right now, we're gonna have

a brief photo session

while we have the boys here

with His Excellency.

I'll be back in a few minutes. Bear with

us, enjoy your dessert and thank you.

Mangia, mangia.

Thanks. Marty!

What an unexpected surprise.

I'm here to help our friendly prosecutor

off the hook.

- Excuse me.

- What's it gonna cost?

A lot less than the alternative.

Tomorrow. My office. 9:30.

- Is this on? Yes, it is.

- Nice to see you again.

We have come to the heart of

the matter. Why we're here tonight.

It's the fifth straight year

it's been my privilege

to serve as master of ceremony

for the Chicago Bar Association...

- I'm afraid you'll have to put that out.

- It's a bar for Christ's sake.

I thought you quit.

I cut down.

You look beautiful. Cut your hair?

Yeah, a few months ago.

Wanna dance?

- There isn't any music.

- I'm sure there is.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen...

All you have to do is turn around.

I thought you liked it better like this.

That way you don't have

to look at the person.


Look at me.

Come on. Let's go find a bar

you can still smoke in.

Thanks for the invite, but I don't like

one-night stands all that much.

We saw each other for months.

It was a one-night stand, Marty.

It just lasted six months.

Well, I must say I haven't seen

this many lawyers and politicians

gathered together in one place

since confession this morning.

There is no way the People

will tolerate a monetary award

to a cockroach

who deserves twenty-to-life.

He may be your client, but Joey Pinero

was a hard-case felon.

- Dealing, racketeering, money...

- Did you say "alleged", Yancy?

Did you hear him say "alleged"?

Mr Pinero has never

been convicted of anything.

The cops left him bleeding in the snow.

A miracle he survived.

Having said that,

I'm not opposed to a settlement.

1 ,500,000 and Pinero leaves the state.

You can't limit a citizen's right

to live where he wants to.

Legally, that's unenforceable.

Enforceable or just

a gentleman's agreement,

Mr Pinero will know what we want.

Get the answer you're looking for,

don't sit around and chat. A pleasure.

You're worse

than the thugs you represent.

- That's enough, Bud. It's over.

- I have to run this by him.

You're on a 40% commission. I'm sure

your recommendation will prevail.

Thank you, John.

Oh, Jesus.

- Hey, Mr Vail.

- How are you doing?


Nice tune.

- Traeme dos tequilas por aqui.

- Bien, m'hijito.

So, what did they say?

A take-it-or-leave-it offer of 1 ,500,000.

From Shaughnessy himself.

What do you think?

We should take it. Unless you wanna

spend two years in appellate court.

- No, f*** that. Close it.

- Done.

- OK.

- Gracias.

- Salud.

- Salud.

- Mia?

- Your shot.

There's one more little thing.

They want you to leave the state.

- They want you to disappear.

- Disappear?

That's good. Same bullshit, right?

What? What are you talking about?

I keep getting these offers

from these guys, Marty.

What offers?

A couple of months ago

a cop walks in here. He says,

"You testify against Alderman

Martinez, and we'll owe you, Joey."

Say he did you favours,

say he's on your payroll.

So I tell him to go f*** himself.

Martinez is a good man.

He's the one holding out

while the others try to turn South River

into high-rent condos.

- Why didn't you tell me this before?

- Why?

'Cause this sh*t happens every day.

I didn't think

it had anything to do with this.

- You don't.

- I've spent a lot of money here.

- They spent more.

- I built a clinic here.

These people depend on me.

I don't give a sh*t.

Send them cheques from California.

Chucho, hazme el favor,

scame el CD.

I respect your advice, Marty,

but I can't take it.

- I'll take the money, but I ain't going.

- I don't like it, Joey.

Chucho, dame.

So, what are they gonna do? Kill me?

They've tried once.

How are they gonna kill

a man who never sleeps?

- Get the money.

- You're too much.

That song you liked, fourth cut.

Very nice, thank you.

Police'll have their hands full...

- Captain, can you tell us anything?

- I don't know anything.

Captain Stenner, what's going on?

I haven't seen anything yet. As soon

as I've been inside, I'll tell you.

You should be home in bed, Abel.

It's going around.

I'll consider that, Harvey.

Christ. What a mess, huh?.

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Steve Shagan

Stephen H. "Steve" Shagan (October 25, 1927 – November 30, 2015) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and television and film producer. Shagan was born in Brooklyn, New York to Rachel (née Rosenzweig) and Barnard H. "Barney" Shagan. Barney ran a pharmacy, Shagan's Pharmacy, at 49 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, with his brother, Samuel. After Barney's death the pharmacy went bankrupt and Samuel liquidated the assets at public auction in 1949. Steve dropped out of high school and joined the United States Coast Guard when World War II broke out. While in the Coast Guard he started writing to pass the time.Shagan came to Hollywood in 1958 with his wife, Elizabeth Florance "Betty" Ricker, whom he married on November 18, 1956 in New York City. At first he did odd jobs, like as a stagehand at a little theater and pulling cables at MGM Studios in the middle of the night. Eventually he started working on scripts and then produced the Tarzan television show on location in Mexico. Betty talked him into quitting and just concentrate on writing. Betty, a former fashion model, was the daughter of Philomena (née Pisano) and Al Ricker. Her mother, a dancer, later remarried, to Mayo J. Duca, a Boston jazz trumpet player. Philomena Pisano was the daughter of Katherine "Kitty" Bingham and Fred Anthony Pisano, of the musical-comedy vaudeville team of Pisano and Bingham.Shagan wrote the screenplay for and co-produced the 1973 film Save the Tiger, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and won a Writers Guild of America Award. His novelization of Save the Tiger, which was his first novel, was actually published a year prior to the film's release. He had written the script first, and while he was shopping it around Hollywood, he wrote the novel to help him deal with the stress of trying to sell the script, which took two years to get produced. As he was finishing the book his typewriter broke and author Harold Robbins loaned him his.Shagan went on to write the novel City of Angels and its film adaptation, Hustle, both released in 1975. He then wrote the screenplay for and co-produced Voyage of the Damned, for which he received another Academy Award nomination, this time for Best Adapted Screenplay. This was followed by Nightwing, which he adapted from the novel of same name by Martin Cruz Smith. He then adapted his 1979 novel The Formula into a 1980 film of the same name, which he also co-produced and which reunited him with Save the Tiger director John G. Avildsen. Of the performances by Brando and Scott in The Formula, Steve Shagan reportedly stated: "I sensed a loss of purpose, a feeling that they didn't want to work any more and had come to think of acting as playing with choo-choo trains."Subsequent films written by Shagan include The Sicilian, which he adapted from the novel by Mario Puzo, and Primal Fear, based on the novel by William Diehl. Shagan also wrote the teleplay for the made-for-television movie Gotti, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or a Special. Shagan died at his home in Los Angeles, California, on November 30, 2015. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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