Welcome to The Movie Fargo. From Brainerd, MN where it allegedly took place.

Brainerd watertower

Brainerd's Landmark Watertower:
Dey didn't show ya dis here really big watertower dat we're so attached ta in dat der movie, did dey?

We was mentioned in dat der purty littl' National Geographic Magazine ting doncha know. Dey wrote up some nice tings about us and our littl' web site. Ya know, dey sure take nice pitures.
 fargo - the movie
 A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere.

'Fargo' tale has phones ringing in Brainerd

City Editor

Movie fans eager to see how Brainerd is depicted in the movie "Fargo" might want to keep in mind that there is a difference between "true" and "movie true."

Inquiries to Brainerd Police Chief Frank Ball and to The Brainerd Daily Dispatch began trickling in after the movie was released. Callers are asking whether the multiple murders depicted in the movie actually occurred there.

The Dispatch and Ball have fielded the question from newspapers and news organizations across the nation. For the record, the answer is "no."

"Fargo" co-producer Ethan Coen told The Dispatch that the murders in the movie did not occur in Brainerd or in Minnesota, but that they did occur.

Coen, whose movies with his brother Joel have featured offbeat and occasionally dark humor, was true to form when asked when and where the murders took place. "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," he said.

The source of the confusion appears to be a statement in the beginning of "Fargo" indicating that the story in the movie is true. Coen, while admitting that the statement could have been more clear, said the story was largely true.

"Most people don't care," Coen said about the precise location of the murders. "It doesn't claim to be a documentary."

Ball's quotes in a New York Times article - in which he stressed that the story was not true and that Brainerd was an upscale, professional and beautiful place - prompted Coen to fax a letter to him.

Ball described the missive as a "nasty letter" in which Coen criticized his comments.

In the note, which Coen says was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, the former St. Louis Park resident expressed disappointment that Ball would take the side of the New York press and impugn the accuracy of the movie without having seen it.

The letter, Ball said, mentioned the obvious point that he is not a woman and not pregnant, as the police chief was portrayed in the film. The note mentioned the film's murders and noted that while accurate reporting of such facts is part of Ball's job it is not part of Coen's.

Ball said Coen also took a shot at the city's rather unattractive logo, offering to let the city use the one designed for the movie.

Ball did not reply to the letter.

Coen said Brainerd was chosen for the film because of the city's connection to Paul Bunyan lore. A Paul Bunyan statue is featured prominently in the film.


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