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

Director-Approved Special Edition Features

  • 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

  • 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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