Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir crime and thriller film directed by Gregory Hoblit and starring Richard Gere, Edward Norton and Laura Linney. The film tells the story of a defense attorney, Martin Vail, who defends an altar boy, Aaron Stampler, charged with the murder of a Catholic archbishop, and his ensuing case against prosecutor Janet Venable. The movie is an adaptation of William Diehl's 1993 novel of the same name. Norton's role in the film received multiple accolades, including a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Primal Fear is the first theatrical film for television director Gregory Hoblit, who has directed episodes of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue for producer Steven Bochco. It was also Edward Norton's first feature film.