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True Believer (1989)

R  |   |  Drama, Crime  |  17 February 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 3,149 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 14 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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Miguel Fernandes ...
Art Esparza
Charles Hallahan ...
Vincent Dennehy
Sully Diaz ...
Maraquilla Esparza
Misan Kim ...
Mrs. Kim
Chuckie Loeder
Ortega (as Luis Guzman)
Tony Haney ...
Dean Rabin


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Drama | Crime


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Spiel  »

Box Office


$8,742,750 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Eddie Dodd was modeled after famed civil rights lawyer Tony Serra. See more »


When Eddie fights with Chucky, he rubs the painted tears off Chucky's face with his right hand, leaving black marks on his index and middle fingers. A while later, while looking through a mug book at the cop shop, he looks at the marks on his fingers, which have now switched to his left hand. See more »


Robert Reynard: I think you're a dangerous man, Mr. Dodd.
Eddie Dodd: I hope so, Mr. Reynard.
See more »


Spin-off Eddie Dodd (1991) See more »


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
See more »

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User Reviews

Truly a Memorable Film.
21 April 2001 | by (Gansbaai, South Africa) – See all my reviews

As a huge fan of Robert Downey, Jr. I anticipated this film for weeks when I heard it was on television. So, last Saturday night I turned on the TV and, I wasn't sorry.

James Woods is in a great performance as Edward Dunn, a hotshot attorney who hires Roger Baron (Robert Downey, Jr.) to clerk for him. Woods defends a Korean whom's mother believes that he's been wrongly accused. But all the facts points to the Korean (Yuji Okumodo)...

As I said, Woods is in a great performance, which unfortunately could have been much better had it not been for his wiggy hairdo. Downey is excellent, and you can actually feel his character's anticipation. You can also feel the coldness and bitterness of Okumodo's character. Kurtwood Smith is very interesting as Robert Reynard, and the rest of the cast are also in intruiging performances.

The film is at some points very hard to follow, but overall this film could well be one of the best crime dramas of the late 1980's.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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