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True Believer (1989)

 -  Drama | Crime  -  17 February 1989 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,813 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 13 critic

A cynical former civil liberties attorney now reduced to "specializing" in defending drug dealers becomes transformed by an eight-year-old murder case.

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Title: True Believer (1989)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Miguel Fernandes ...
Art Esparza
Charles Hallahan ...
Vincent Dennehy
Sully Diaz ...
Maraquilla Esparza
Misan Kim ...
Mrs. Kim
...
Chuckie Loeder
...
Ortega (as Luis Guzman)
...
Sklaroff
Tony Haney ...
Montell
...
Dean Rabin
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Storyline

Eddie Dodd is a burnt out former civil rights lawyer who now specializes in defending drug dealers. Roger Baron, newly graduated from law school, has followed Eddie's great cases and now wants to learn at his feet. With Roger's idealistic prodding, Eddie reluctantly takes on a case of a young Korean man who, according to his mom, has been in jail for eight years for a murder he did not commit. Written by <Vertigus@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When evidence leads to murder, sometimes it takes a dangerous man to free an innocent one.

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Spiel  »

Box Office

Gross:

$8,742,750 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Shu Kai Kim is based on Korean-American Chol Soo Lee, who was imprisoned for nearly 10 years after wrongful conviction for a murder he did not commit. See more »

Goofs

During the prison knife fight, Kim stabs the Nazi in the chest. The knife then alternates between still being in the Nazi's chest to being (correctly) taped to Kim's hand. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Dodd: [Eddie is having a hard time building a defense] I can do this shit myself!
Kitty Greer: Come on, Eddie, that's not fair!
Roger Baron: Come off it, Eddie! We're all committed to the case, we all believe it's a good fight.
Eddie Dodd: Good fight? You think I'm going into court to make a fucking statement? You think Shu gives a shit whether we go down but go down nobly? This is a man looking at 40 years of HARD TIME! He could've had a deal and been out in five, but he bet it all on ME! Don't give me that liberal yuppie bullshit about ...
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Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Homer and Apu (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Crystal Ship
Written by Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore & Robby Krieger
Performed by The Doors
Courtesy of Elektra/Asylum Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
One of Wood's best performances... seriously.
4 March 2007 | by (Mesa, AZ) – See all my reviews

This is a very well done court room drama that is based on an actual case from actual liberal left wing attorney, J. Tony Serra. James Woods plays the fictionalized version of Serra, under the name Eddie Dodd. Robert Downey, Jr. plays Roger Baron, a young idealistic lawyer that comes to clerk for the once famous Dodd- with dreams of defending civil liberties and making a difference.

He arrives only to find the once rebellious and justice minded Dodd defending drug addicts and drug dealers. One evening a young Korean woman & lady come to his offices looking for help. Her son was sent to jail 8 years ago & is now accused of murder because of a prison fight that resulted in the death of a member of the Aryan army. Despite the fact it's not his area of "expertise," Roger convinces Dodd to take the case.

For Dodd, this case, this young man, Shu Kai Kim played very well by Yuji Okumoto, represents so much more than just another case. Dodd himself is looking to reclaim his own enthusiasm, freedom and hope. The District Attorney is played very reliably by Kurtwood Smith (poor guy- pre "70's show" he always seemed to play a bad guy.)

The main reason I like this movie are the actors. Yes, the story is somewhat predictable- but there are some turns that make you doubt who is innocent & who is guilty on first viewing. James Woods' performance in this movie is one of his most versatile and enjoyable. He transitions with ease from humorous sarcasm to an almost raw vulnerability. One of the best scenes is one in which he tells his client, "I know you're innocent- even if you've forgotten." After 8 years in prison, Shu isn't the same man he was when he went in. Just as Dodd tells Roger at the beginning of the movie that 10 years is a lot of time- in other words, despite his shinning past as a defender of civil liberties- he has also changed. Cynicism is something that creeps stealthily into everyone as age and time increase. In the movie "And Justice for All" they delve into the difficulty of being a defense lawyer & having to defend people you may know full well did a heinous crime of some sort. This has to change a person and that is part of what this movie is about.

All the other actors, including Margaret Colin as the PI Kitty Greer, are believable and supply good support for the main character of Dodd. This is basically Woods' show, and that's okay with me since I'm a big fan of his. He was also fabulous in "Salvador" but then I think he is fabulous. If you like Woods, you'll like this movie I think - if you like a good story, I think you'll like this movie.


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