Reversal of Fortune

October 1st, 1990


Reversal of Fortune

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Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 7.2/10 (6,416 voted)

Critic's Score: 93/100

Director: Barbet Schroeder

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver

Alan Dershowitz a brilliant professor of law is hired by wealthy socialite Claus von Bulow to attempt to overturn his two convictions for attempted murder of his extremely wealthy wife. Based on a true story the film concentrates not on the trial like other legal thrillers, but on the preparatory work that Dershowitz and his students put in as they attempt to disprove the prosecution's case and achieve the Reversal of Fortune of the title.

Writers: Alan M. Dershowitz, Nicholas Kazan

Glenn Close - Sunny von Bülow / Narrator
Jeremy Irons - Claus von Bülow
Ron Silver - Professor Alan Dershowitz
Annabella Sciorra - Sarah
Uta Hagen - Maria, Sunny's Personal Maid
Fisher Stevens - David Marriott
Jack Gilpin - Peter MacIntosh, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Christine Baranski - Andrea Reynolds, Claus' Girlfriend
Stephen Mailer - Elon Dershowitz
Christine Dunford - Ellen
Felicity Huffman - Minnie, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Mano Singh - Raj, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Johann Carlo - Nancy
Keith Reddin - Dobbs, Dershowitz's Student Staff
Alan Pottinger - Chuck, Dershowitz's Student Staff

Taglines: The Case of Claus Von Bulow. An American Saga of Money and Mystery.

Release Date: October 1990

Filming Locations: Lyndhurst Estate, Tarrytown, New York, USA

Gross: $15,445,131 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Martha "Sunny" von Bulow, who spent the last 28 years of her life in a coma after what prosecutors alleged in a pair of sensational trials were two murder attempts by her husband, died December 6, 2008 at age 76.

Continuity: Von Bülow abruptly switches his eating hand in the restaurant.

Alan Dershowitz: You do have one thing in your favor: everybody hates you.
Claus von Bülow: Well, that's a start.

User Review

How Good Is This Film?..."You Have No Idea!"


Ever since the film premiered in 1990 Jeremy Iron's portrayal of the Aristocratic Claus Von Bulow has been etched in my memory. Iron's has without question created one of the most brilliantly layered historical characterizations to ever grace the screen.He gets to the heart of the haughty Von Bulow and brings us as close to liking the man as anyone ever could.His performance rightly won Him an Oscar for Best Actor. Just as engaging is Ron Silver's driven and hyper Alan Dershowitz. his performance of the great trail lawyer is facinatingly accurate. Having seen Dershowitz speak and meeting him afterwards it is very clear that Silver was able to capture even the smallest details of the man's movements,vocal inflections and dynamic rhetoric(Dersowitz himself claimed Silver used a tad too many hand gestures however!)

The supporting cast is equally strong. Glenn Close narrates the film as the comatose Sunny Von Bulow and appears in flashback during the events that lead to her coma. She captures Sunny's selfishness as well as her vulnerability. The great Uta Hagan appears as Sunny's maid and protector and give a performance worthy of her reputation.

Barbet Schroeder slickly directs the film,not as a linier plot but as a series of flashbacks,moments and current incidents. This is one of the few films that I cannot find a single flaw in.For direction,plot,characterization,writing..and Jeremy Iron's wonderful performance this film is an absolute 10!


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