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Reversal of Fortune Details


This film is a darkly humorous, determinedly ambiguous adaptation of Alan Dershowitz's book about his successful legal appeal of Claus von Bulow's conviction for the attempted murder of his wife, Martha "Sunny" von Bulow. Sunny (Glenn Close) -- who remains in a "persistent vegetative state" resulting from a suspicious injection of insulin -- narrates the film, summarizing the first murder trial, which ended with Claus (Jeremy Irons) convicted and released on bail pending appeal. Claus approaches Harvard Law professor Dershowitz (Ron Silver) to handle the case. Working with a small group of law students recruited from his classes, Dershowitz presents sufficient new evidence to cast doubt as to Claus' guilt and the veracity of the star witness, her maid. Jeremy Irons' extraordinary, Oscar-winning performance dominates the film. He plays the role of Claus with a alternatively pompous, aloof snobbishness and an engagingly enigmatic, kinky, sly humor. Barbet Schroeder was also nominated for an Academy Award for his extraordinary, off-beat, direction of this sophisticated, exceptionally intelligent legal drama. Reversal of Fortune with its sharp, witty, Oscar-nominated screenplay by Nicholas Kazan is unusual in its understanding that legal guilt and moral culpability are not the same thing -- making for an unusually provocative tragicomedy of bad manners and bad behavior among the rich. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi

  • Release date:October 17, 1990


Awarded by
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Nicholas Kazan Best Screenplay 1989 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Nicholas Kazan Best Screenplay 1990 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholas Kazan Best Adapted Screenplay 1990 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Barbet Schroeder Best Director 1990 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Barbet Schroeder Best Director 1990 Nominee
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Jeremy Irons Best Actor 1989 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jeremy Irons Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1990 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jeremy Irons Best Actor 1990 Winner


Glenn Close
as Sunny Von Bulow
Jeremy Irons
as Claus Von Bulow
Ron Silver
as Alan M. Dershowitz
Annabella Sciorra
as Sarah
Uta Hagen
as Maria
Fisher Stevens
as David Marriott
Christine Baranski
as Andrea Reynolds
Mano Singh
as Raj
Felicity Huffman
as Minnie
Alan Pottinger
as Chuck
Sarah Fearon
as Ala von Auersberg
Jad Mager
as Alexander von Auersberg
Johann Carlo
as Nancy
Thomas Dorff
as Brillhoffer
Stephen Mailer
as Elon Dershowitz
Conrad McLaren
as Sheriff
Malachy McCourt
as Englishman
Gordon Joseph Weiss
as Tom Berman
Julie Hagerty
as Alexandra (uncredited)
Christine Dunford
as Ellen
Michael Wikes
as Steve Famiglietti
Mitchell Whitfield
as Curly
Tom Wright
as Jack
Lisa Gay Hamilton
as Mary
Frederick Neumann
as Judge
Jack Gilpin
as Peter MacIntosh
Keith Reddin
as Dobbs
J.D. Cullum
as John
Howard Feuer
Leo Leyden
as Englishman


Barbet Schroeder
Nicholas Kazan
Alan Dershowitz
Book Author
Luciano Tovoli
Mark Isham
Composer (Music Score)
Lee Percy
Steven Felder
Production Designer
Mel Bourne
Production Designer
Edward R. Pressman
Oliver Stone
Elon Dershowitz
Nicholas Kazan
Michael Flynn
Associate Producer
Michael Rauch
Executive Producer
Beth Kushnick
Set Designer
Judianna Makovsky
Costume Designer
Milena Canonero
Costume Designer
Howard Feuer
Steven Felder
Production Manager