Joel Coen

Blood Simple

Blood Simple

Joel and Ethan Coen’s career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America began with this razor-sharp, hard-boiled neonoir set somewhere in Texas, where a sleazy bar owner releases a torrent of violence with one murderous thought. Actor M. Emmet Walsh looms over the proceedings as a slippery private eye with a yellow suit, a cowboy hat, and no moral compass, and Frances McDormand’s cunning debut performance set her on the road to stardom. The tight scripting and inventive style that have marked the Coens’ work for decades are all here in their first film, in which cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld abandons black-and-white chiaroscuro for neon signs and jukebox colors that combine with Carter Burwell’s haunting score to lurid and thrilling effect. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, Blood Simple reinvented the film noir for a new generation, marking the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble that would transform the American independent cinema scene.

Film Info

  • Joel Coen
  • United States
  • 1984
  • 95 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #834

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations
  • New conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release
  • New interviews with composer Carter Burwell, sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich
    New cover by Michael Boland

Purchase Options

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED EDITION:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Sonnenfeld and the Coens about the film’s look, featuring Telestrator video illustrations
  • New conversation between author Dave Eggers and the Coens about the film’s production, from inception to release
  • New interviews with composer Carter Burwell, sound mixer Skip Lievsay, and actors Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by novelist and critic Nathaniel Rich
    New cover by Michael Boland
Blood Simple
Cast
John Getz
Ray
Frances McDormand
Abby
Dan Hedaya
Julian Marty
M. Emmet Walsh
Private detective
Samm-Art Williams
Meurice
Deborah Neumann
Debra
Raquel Gavia
Landlady
Van Brooks
Man from Lubbock
Señor Marco
Mr. Garcia
William Creamer
Old cracker
Loren Bivens
Strip bar exhorter
Bob McAdams
Strip bar senator
Shannon Sedwick
Stripper
Nancy Finger
Girl on overlook
Rev. William Preston Robertson
Radio evangelist
Credits
Director
Joel Coen
Produced by
Ethan Coen
Written by
Joel Coen
Written by
Ethan Coen
Executive producer
Daniel F. Bacaner
Associate producer
Mark Silverman
Director of photography
Barry Sonnenfeld
Production designer
Jane Musky
Music by
Carter Burwell
Edited by
Roderick Jaynes
Edited by
Don Wiegmann
First assistant director
Deborah Reinisch
Casting
Julie Hughes
Casting
Barry Moss

From The Current

Blood Simple: “Down Here,  You’re on Your Own”
Blood Simple: “Down Here, You’re on Your Own”

An exhilarating blend of noir and splatter-flick tropes, the Coen brothers’ debut feature established their unique brand of cosmic fatalism.

By Nathaniel Rich

/
Storyboarding Blood Simple
Storyboarding Blood Simple

Featuring commentary by the Coens, Sonnenfeld, and actor Frances McDormand, this video, created by photographer Grant Delin, highlights the careful planning that went into the film’s construction.

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Guillermo del Toro’s Guide to the Collection
Guillermo del Toro’s Guide to the Collection

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro shares heartfelt appreciations for eleven of his favorite films in the collection.

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Horror Time: Josh and Benny Safdie’s Favorite Nightmares

Horror Time: Josh and Benny Safdie’s Favorite Nightmares

Just in time for Halloween, we’re musing on what it is that makes a movie frightening with the help of filmmaking duo Josh and Benny Safdie.

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Mike Portnoy’s Top 10
Mike Portnoy’s Top 10

Mike Portnoy is one of the founding members of Dream Theater. He is currently the drummer in the Winery Dogs, Twister Sister, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, the Neal Morse Band, and Metal Allegiance.


Alton Brown’s Top 10
Alton Brown’s Top 10

Although Alton Brown is now known mostly for his work in food media, his first career was as a filmmaker.


Did You See This?

Clippings

Did You See This?

Last weekend, in conjunction with his new album, Blonde, musician and noted cinephile Frank Ocean released a limited-edition zine titled Boys Don’t Cry, which featured a list of his favorite films. Chungking Express, Eraserhead, Blood Simple, Solar…