IMDb > True Believer (1989)
True Believer
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True Believer (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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True Believer -- text on screen


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Down 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
Wesley Strick (written by)
View company contact information for True Believer on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 February 1989 (USA) See more »
When evidence leads to murder, sometimes it takes a dangerous man to free an innocent one.
A cynical former civil liberties attorney now reduced to "specializing" in defending drug dealers becomes transformed by an eight-year-old murder case. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
One of Wood's best performances... seriously. See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

James Woods ... Eddie Dodd

Robert Downey Jr. ... Roger Baron

Margaret Colin ... Kitty Greer

Yuji Okumoto ... Shu Kai Kim

Kurtwood Smith ... Robert Reynard

Tom Bower ... Cecil Skell
Miguel Fernandes ... Art Esparza
Charles Hallahan ... Vincent Dennehy
Sully Diaz ... Maraquilla Esparza
Misan Kim ... Mrs. Kim

John Snyder ... Chuckie Loeder

Luis Guzmán ... Ortega (as Luis Guzman)

Graham Beckel ... Sklaroff
Tony Haney ... Montell

Joel Polis ... Dean Rabin
Will Marchetti ... Judge Quealy
Maureen McVerry ... Billy
Abigail Van Alyn ... Connie Dennehy

Deborah Offner ... Laura Gayley
Thomas Wagner ... Tommy

Richard Fancy ... Ballistics Expert

Kurt Fuller ... George Ballistics

Ginger Rolstad ... Translator (as Ginger Chung)
Thelton E. Henderson ... Judge Baum

Gerry Bamman ... Brian Nevins
Charles Dean ... Detective #1

Gustave Johnson ... Detective #2
Cab Covay ... Teardrop

Tony Abatemarco ... Glen Fulton
Ken Grantham ... Cecil's Judge (as Kenneth Grantham)

Ralph Peduto ... Court Officer

Margot Rose ... Ms. Jessum
Jan Michael Shultz ... Lindeman (as Jan Shultz)

George Maguire ... Maitre'd
David Espinoza ... Corrections Officer

Conrad Dunn ... Slim Jim (as George Jenesky)
Sean O'Brien ... Clyde Gruner
Cully Fredricksen ... Scarecrow
Taylor Gilbert ... Reynard's Receptionist
Peter Anthony Jacobs ... Reporter
Stu Klitsner ... Magnate (as Stu Klitsher)

David Booth ... Minister

Peter Fitzsimmons ... Court Clerk
Jarrett Sullivan ... Boy
Mike Stone ... Client (as Michael Stone)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chris Jorie ... Assistant D.A. (as Chris Jorie)

Karen A. Brown ... West Village Rocker (uncredited)

Darryl Fong ... Jimmy Chin (uncredited)

Woody Harrelson ... Man in Dodd's office (uncredited)

Theodore Carl Soderberg ... Resturant patron (uncredited)

Directed by
Joseph Ruben 
Writing credits
Wesley Strick (written by)

Produced by
Patrick Crowley .... co-producer
Lawrence Lasker .... producer
Walter F. Parkes .... producer
Peter Rosten .... executive producer
Original Music by
Brad Fiedel 
Cinematography by
John Lindley (director of photography) (as John W. Lindley)
Film Editing by
George Bowers 
Casting by
Karen Rea 
Production Design by
Lawrence Miller 
Art Direction by
Jim Pohl 
Set Decoration by
Jim Poynter 
Costume Design by
Erica Edell Phillips 
Makeup Department
Joseph Coscia .... hair stylist: New York (as Joe Coscia)
Deborah Figuly .... makeup artist
Candace Neal .... hair stylist
Allen Weisinger .... makeup artist: New York (as Alan Weisinger)
Production Management
Nan Bernstein Freed .... unit production manager: New York (as Nan Bernstein)
Whitney Green .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Julie A. Bloom .... second second assistant director (as Julie Bloom)
Annie Spiegelman .... second assistant director
Michael E. Steele .... first assistant director (as Michael Steele)
Stephen Wertimer .... second assistant director: New York (as Steve Wertimer)
Art Department
Rodney Armanino .... construction foreman
William Beck .... set designer
Richard W. Clot .... construction coordinator (as Rich Clot)
Elisa Nevel Demarest .... scenic artist: New York
Claudette Didul .... art researcher: New York
Tim Galvin .... art director: New York
Stephen J. Gardner .... set dresser (as Steve Gardner)
Gilbert Gertsen .... construction coordinator: New York
Elizabeth Hamilton .... scenic artist
Harley Jessup .... illustrator
Steven J. Jordan .... set decorator: New York (as Steven Jordan)
Len Morganti .... storyboard artist
Billy Puzo .... master scenic artist: New York
Gary E. Roloff .... set dresser (as Gary Roloff)
Philip Saccio .... prop master: New York
Michelle Souza .... property master
J. Michael Speakman .... assistant props
Eric Stepper .... assistant props: New York
Don Watson .... leadman
Lisa Winick .... stand-by scenic artist: New York
Jennifer Clinard .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Lisa Devlin .... production assistant (uncredited)
Sound Department
James Ashwill .... foley mixer (as Jim Ashwill)
Kevin Bartnof .... foley artist
Tom Bellfort .... sound editor
Lon Bender .... supervising sound editor (as Lon E. Bender)
Neal Burger .... sound editor
Michael Evje .... production sound mixer
Dan Gleich .... boom operator
Avram D. Gold .... sound editor (as Avram Gold)
Devon Heffley Curry .... adr editor (as Devon Heffley-Curry)
Chris Hogan .... sound editor
Randy Kelley .... sound editor
Larry Kemp .... supervising sound editor
Lou Kleinman .... sound editor
Mark R. La Pointe .... sound editor (as Mark La Pointe)
Mary Jo Lang .... sound recordist
George Reinhardt .... cable person
Daniel Rosenblum .... sound mixer: New York
Wylie Stateman .... sound editor
Alicia Stevenson .... foley artist
Mel Zelniker .... sound re-recording mixer
Hugo Weng .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
John McLeod .... special effects coordinator
Rocky Capella .... stunt coordinator
Jim Lovelett .... stunt coordinator: New York
Rocky Capella .... stunts (uncredited)
Kevin Larson .... stunts (uncredited)
Chuck Lyons .... stunts (uncredited)
Johnny Martin .... stunts (uncredited)
Mike Martinez .... stunts (uncredited)
Randell Dennis Widner .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Phil Bray .... still photographer
Richard L. Carden .... dolly grip (as Rick Carden)
Dave Childers .... dolly grip
Robert Dalva .... still photographer: period stills
Greg Davies .... gaffer
Brad Edmiston .... assistant Steadicam operator
Thomas Ford .... best boy electric: New York
Walt Fraser .... additional first assistant camera
Tom Gilligan .... best boy grip: New York (as Thomas Gilligan)
Tony C. Jannelli .... camera operator: New York (as Tony Jannelli)
Lawrence Karman .... first assistant camera (as Larry Karman)
Billy Kerwick .... grip
Jay Levy .... first assistant camera: New York
Larry McConkey .... Steadicam operator: New York
Deborah Morgan .... second assistant camera
Randy Nolen .... Steadicam operator
Douglas Pellegrino .... second assistant camera: New York (as Doug Pellegrino)
Bobby Powell .... best boy
Ed Quinn .... key grip: New York (as Edwin Quinn)
Patrick Riley .... additional first assistant camera
Peter Thomas .... key grip
Jon R. Tower .... gaffer: New York (as Jon Tower)
Barry Wetcher .... still photographer
Barry Wetcher .... still photographer: New York
Michael Whitehurst .... best boy grip
Kenneth Zunder .... camera operator (as Ken Zunder)
Kjell Ness .... genny operator (uncredited)
Michael Olague .... best boy gaffer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Aleta Chappelle .... casting: San Francisco and New York (as Aleta Helena Chappelle)
Laura Folger .... extras casting assistant
Doreen Lane .... casting assistant: Los Angeles
Davia Nelson .... extras casting
Riccardo Bertoni .... extras casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Becker .... costume supervisor
David Bess .... wardrobe supervisor: men, New York
Barbara Kassal .... costumer
Sue Miller .... set costumer
Susan J. Wright .... wardrobe supervisor: women, New York (as Susan Wright)
Editorial Department
Patricia A. Galvin .... assistant editor (as Patricia Galvin)
Robert Grahamjones .... assistant editor
Lauren A. Schaffer .... first assistant editor (as Lauren Schaffer)
Doron Shauly .... apprentice editor
Robert Wait .... post-production coordinator
Roger La Prairie .... telecine colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Sharon Boyle .... music supervisor
Tim Boyle .... scoring mixer
Allan K. Rosen .... music editor (as Allan Rosen)
Sandy K. Tanaka .... assistant music supervisor
George Doering .... musician (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Steve Collins .... transportation captain
William Curry .... transportation captain: New York (as Bill Curry)
Richard McDermott .... transportation coordinator (as Rich McDermott)
Dennis Salomone Sr. .... transportation: New York (as Dennis Salomone)
Ken Fleisch .... driver (uncredited)
John Melendez .... driver: San Francisco (uncredited)
Kjell Ness .... driver: San Francisco (uncredited)
David Pappas .... driver (uncredited)
Ed Ramos .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Carlyn Bochicchio .... production assistant: New York
Sidney Brammer .... production secretary: New York
Jacob F. Conrad .... location manager: New York (as Jacob Conrad)
Carol DePasquale .... script supervisor (as Carol De Pasquale)
Christopher Desmond .... first aid
Jane Nerlinger Evans .... production coordinator: New York
Susan Fanara .... assistant to producers
Maxine Garcia .... production secretary
Barbara Ludlum .... production auditor
George F. Mauricio .... craft service (as George Mauricio)
Sue Miller .... set supervisor
Douglas Morton .... production assistant
Maureen Murphy .... production coordinator
Anne Reddington .... assistant location manager: New York
Mike Revell .... assistant production accountant
Donna Santora .... assistant auditor: New York
L.J. Silverman .... first aid
Anastasia St. Amand .... executive assistant
Gail Stempler .... location manager
Spooky Stevens .... publicist
Al Cerullo .... helicopter pilot (uncredited)
Anne Lockhart .... adr voice group (uncredited)
Nicholas Wolfert .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Fighting Justice" - Philippines (English title)
See more »
105 min | USA:108 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

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 »
Continuity: When showing the original murder in flashbacks, the killer is standing five feet or more away from the body when he shoots him. When Dennehy tells Dodd and the flashback is shown beneath the bridge, the gun is aimed only a few inches from the previous bullet hole. A gun fired that close would leave burn marks and gunpowder residue on the victim's head, which would be incongruous with the eyewitness accounts of the actual murder.See more »
Eddie Dodd:[to Kitty] You know, I haven't gotten stoned once since the trial started.See more »
Movie Connections:
Crystal ShipSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
10 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
One of Wood's best performances... seriously., 4 March 2007
Author: rondine ( from Mesa, AZ

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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