Fargo is a singular film, but there are others that have achieved the same bizarre balance of murder and laughter.
Fargo was the film that solidified Joel and Ethan Coen’s legacy as two of the greatest American filmmakers of all time, despite their impressive body of work prior to that. Although it claims to be based on fact, the film tells the tale of an abduction gone awry that sparks a wave of violence through the small town in the frozen Midwest.
An interesting take on the crime genre, the film’s mix of brutal violence and quirky humor has been imitated numerous times since its release. Fargo is a singular film, but there are others that have a similar strange mix of murder and humor. If you enjoyed Fargo, check out these oddball crime films.
1. The Nice Guys (2016)
Films like Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout were written by Shane Black, one of the genre’s most influential screenwriters in the 1980s and 1990s. The dark humor and subversive viewpoints he brought to his own films proved transferable to the crime genre.
Two low-lifes (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe) reluctantly team up to solve a missing person case in The Nice Guys. It’s a violent retro-mystery that makes fun of itself while paying homage to the genre it’s parodying.
2. Snatch (2000)
Guy Ritchie has progressed from directing low-budget British crime films to helming some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Many fans, on the other hand, prefer the earlier films that delves deeper into the criminal underbelly of England.
It was Ritchie’s second film, and it focused on a group of criminals whose stories intersected around a boxer who used his bare hands to fight a vicious dog and a stolen diamond. It’s a bizarre, outlandish, and amusing journey filled with eccentric characters who bring the tale to life.
3. Bottle Rocket (1996)
Wes Anderson, like the Coens, is a filmmaker whose work has a distinct style. With Bottle Rocket, a crime-comedy featuring his distinct voice and sense of humor, he got his start in the business.
A man just out of rehab joins his best friend (played by Owen Wilson) on his journey to become a career criminal. However, when Anthony falls in love, all of their plans go out the window. One of those rare and hilarious films about people going after their dreams and finding them in crime.
4. The Ice Harvest (2005)
Fargo’s story is made all the more intriguing by the show’s depiction of a frozen landscape. Harold Ramis’ crime comedy The Ice Harvest, starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thorton, is similarly underrated.
To get money for the holidays, an undercover mob lawyer (Cusack) teams up with a strip club owner (Thorton). The Ice Harvest is a holiday-themed genre film with dark humor and violent sequences that’s well worth checking out.
5. Zodiac (2007)
Se7en director David Fincher is known for his use of gore and suspense. People were shocked to learn that he was going to make a movie about the Zodiac Killer. They expected it to be gory and disturbing. Even though some of the scenes depict brutal killings, the film focuses more on those who spent years of their lives trying to solve the crimes that were depicted in it.
Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Jake Gyllenhaal star in Zodiac as the various people involved in the case. An unexpected sense of humor contributes to the wonderful strangeness of this true-life tale of two unsolved murders from the 1970s.
6 .Get Shorty (1995)
Elmore Leonard is a well-known author in the field of crime fiction, and several films based on his works have been produced. Get Shorty, a quirky and hilarious crime story set in the fake world of Hollywood, is one of the most enjoyable films based on his work.
Chilli Palmer is a movie-loving gangster who gets entangled with some high-profile Hollywood figures and decides to break into the film industry. John Travolta gives one of his best performances as Chilli Palmer. The rest of the A-list cast also shines in this lighthearted tale about how everyone’s dream is to work in the entertainment industry.
7. The Guard (2011)
When it comes to Fargo’s mix of humor and violence, it doesn’t matter where you are from. Small Irish film The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson as a lazy but competent policeman who reluctantly gets involved in an international drug trafficking operation.
In addition to Gleeson’s outstanding performance as the blunt yet charming hero who has no desire to be a hero, the film’s Irish setting provides an intriguing backdrop. It’s refreshing to see him approach the situation with a laid-back attitude, and the movie features some exciting action sequences as well.
8. Bad Santa (2003)
As with The Ice Harvest, this holiday crime-comedy stars Billy Bob Thorton and is set during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, Thorton plays a burglar who steals from a mall while pretending to be Santa Claus.
See also: 10 Weird Holiday Movies You Probably Didn’t Know Existed
Thorton excels as the most dreadful Santa ever. No one in your family should watch this because of the profanity, crude humor and evil characters. The crime aspect of the story is spiced up by a few shockingly violent scenes.
9. In Bruges (2008)
Fargo’s mismatched criminals Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, who are responsible for much of the story’s bloodshed, were a lot of fun to watch. Many films, including In Bruges, have focused on the unlikely criminal duo that becomes entwined.
The film stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as Irish hitmen who are sent to Bruges, Belgium, to hide out after a job goes horribly wrong. The comedy provided by their shambolic relationship keeps the audience entertained while also delving into some serious and thought-provoking material.
10. A Simple Plan (1998)
It’s no secret that the Coens have worked with Sam Raimi before, their friend and fellow filmmaker who appeared to be inspired by Fargo while making his chilling crime drama A Simple Plan.
Bill Paxton plays a man who finds a large bag of cash after a small plane crashes in the woods. The film is set in a small rural town. They devise a scheme with his brother (Billy Bob Thorton) to keep the cash all to themselves. It’s a cautionary tale about how greed can lead even good people down a bad path.
Senior Screen Rant Writer Colin McCormick has been with the company since 2019 and is proud to be a part of the team. Colin writes news, features, and reviews for Game Rant in addition to his work as Screen Rant. Since the first time he saw The Lion King in a theater, Colin has had a deep love and obsession for movies.
Colin also watches a lot of TV, so he’s always up to date on the best shows on the small screen. While he is always on the lookout for new projects, he has a particular fondness for crime films with a dark sense of humor, a la Elmore Leonard, his favorite author.