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

Photos (See all 19 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
True Believer -- James Woods enthralls as a jaded lawyer whose passion for justice is rekindled when an associate (Robert Downey, Jr.) urges him to re-open a hopeless murder case.
True Believer -- text on screen


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6.7/10   3,271 votes »
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Up 10% 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 »
(84 articles)
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User Reviews:
Taut action supersedes continuity troubles 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 ... Restaurant 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:
Australia:M | Germany:16 (DVD rating) | Iceland:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Portugal:M/16 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #29046) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Released in Australia as "Fighting Justice".See more »
Continuity: 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 »
Eddie Dodd:I must know one thing... how could you do it?
Robert Reynard:It was a trade-off, Mr. Dodd. I'd do it again.
Eddie Dodd:[to the judge] Your Honor... the defense rests.
See more »
Movie Connections:
All Along The WatchtowerSee more »


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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Taut action supersedes continuity troubles, 19 May 2004
Author: michael (sartrejp) from Balto.-WDC Metro area

Eminently watchable drama from 1989 with Woods as burned-out lawyer Eddie Dodd, formerly idealistic & successful civil liberties attorney who's now a callous defender of drug dealers ("No, pot possession cases are free. Coke dealers pay cash: that subsidizes the pot possession cases." Character reputably based on real-life S.F. lawyer J. Tony Serra; hence the long hair), & Rbt. Downey, Jr., as his idealistic law clerk, fresh out of school. (Downey, Jr.'s, @first incredulous: "You were my age when you defended that case," to which Dodd retorts, "I was never your age.")

There're a few continuity problems here, mainly which fingers the charcoal is on after Dodd's tussle with Chuckie, but they're pretty much overshadowed by some great sub-plots (Manhattan D.A.'s [Kurtwood "70s Show" Smith] curious interest in an 8-year-old murder case, Dodd's faded romance with P.I. Margaret Colin, the sadly schizoid Vietnam vet ["Cecil, are you what heroes are made of?"]) & the main story line, the case of a convicted murderer. Dodd @first dismisses Downey, Jr.'s, suggestion that they take the case but later becomes so emotionally immersed in it that when Roger (Downey, Jr.) spins the futility here with "We all think it's a good fight," Eddie pounces on him with some memorable oratory: "Don't give that liberal, yuppie b***s**t about a good fight; this isn't f*****g Yale! A good fight is one you win!"

Directed by Joseph Ruben, with a nice, incidental orig. score by Brad Fidel & some slick ambient tunes (Doors's Crystal Ship, Lou Reed's Busload of Faith).

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