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October 12, 1984 (New York Film Festival)
January 18, 1985 (United States)

Blood Simple is a 1984 American independent neo-noir crime film written, edited, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, and M. Emmet Walsh. Its plot follows a Texas bartender who finds himself in the midst of a murder plot when his boss discovers that the bartender is having an affair with the boss’ wife. It was the directorial debut of the Coens and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who later became a noted director, as well as the feature-film debut of Joel Coen's wife, McDormand, who went on to star in many of his features.

The film's title derives from the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest (1929), in which the term "blood simple" describes the addled, fearful mindset of people after prolonged immersion in violent situations. Stylistically, the film has been noted for its blending elements of neo-noir, pulp crime stories, and low-budget horror films. In 2001, a director's cut was released, the same year that it was ranked number 98 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills.


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