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Hoffa (1992)

The story of the notorious American labor union figure Jimmy Hoffa, who organizes a bitter strike, makes deals with members of the organized crime syndicate and mysteriously disappears in 1975.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Red Bennett
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Ted Harmon
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Solly Stein
Joanne Neer ...
Soignee Woman
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Storyline

Jack Nicholson's portrait of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa, as seen through the eyes of his friend Bobby Ciaro (Danny DeVito). This film follows Hoffa's struggle to shape America's most influential labor union through his countless battles with the RTA. As he fights for workers' rights, Hoffa locks horns with industry management, organized crime and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In 1975, four years after serving his prison term, Hoffa disappears, in one of America's most fascinating unsolved crime mysteries. Written by Anonymous

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Taglines:

The man who was willing to pay the price for power. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

25 December 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hoffa  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$24,276,500
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, the diner where Hoffa waits for his meeting, and from which will eventually disappear, is portrayed as a truck stop café out in the middle of the country, simply called "the Roadhouse". In reality, the diner, from which Hoffa disappeared, is called Macus Red Fox Café, and is located in suburban Detroit. See more »

Goofs

When Bobby makes his final phone call, it is 7:12 and he says they have been waiting for 4 hours, which would be 3:12. The meeting was set for 2:00. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bobby Ciaro: Want me to go call him up?
Jimmy Hoffa: Uh-unh.
Bobby Ciaro: Want a cup of coffee?
Jimmy Hoffa: No.
Bobby Ciaro: Want to go?
[Hoffa gives him a scornful glance]
Bobby Ciaro: You okay?
Jimmy Hoffa: Yeah.
See more »

Crazy Credits

there are no opening credits and the title of the film at the beginning. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Holiday Video Gift Guide (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

When You're Smiling
Written by Mark Fisher, Joe Goodwin and Larry Shay
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User Reviews

Great Performance, Mediocre Film
25 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

All too often Jack Nicholson just coasts and plays his stock character. Sometimes it's boring, occasionally it's insulting, but in "Hoffa" Nicholson puts aside the sneer and the leer and delivers a knockout performance. Although he doesn't really look that much like the Teamster boss, Nicholson captures the man's aura perfectly. It's more than just nailing the vocal rhythms and inflections or mastering Hoffa's body language, you feel Nicholson is conveying the inner man as well. This is truly a multi-dimensional interpretation and it's absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, the film is an inadequate showcase for Nicholson's talents. The story begins in 1975 on what presumably was the last day of Hoffa's life as he and his pal Bobby Ciaro (Danny DeVito) wait for some people to show up for a meeting at a Michigan roadhouse. They wait a long time which allows Bobby to recall many incidents in Hoffa's extraordinary career as a union organizer.

There are two problems with this. First Bobby, who's supposed to be something of an enforcer, is never credible. Although he's nearly always in view, he never seems to belong. Perhaps that's because he's entirely a creation of screenwriter David Mamet. Barely adequate as a story-telling device, Bobby's unfortunate insertion gives rise to the inevitable, more serious question: how much of this story is true?

If you accept Mamet's interpretation, Hoffa was a victim of a trusted associate, the Government, and the Mob, but foremost a hero because he fought for the working man. Fair enough. But when you watch "Hoffa" you don't really get a clear sense of why all this was so. Motivations are largely absent. The flashbacks pass by but you feel these are merely sketches or outlines, often presented without clear context. Some are believable, others seem to be mere speculation, still others, such as the scenes with Robert Prosky or the enormous riot sequence, implausible. Was Prosky's character real? Did so many people actually die? Ask Bobby, because in many ways it's as much his story as Hoffa's; but as we know, Bobby is pure fiction.

Mamet has been quoted as saying audiences look more for drama than for information. Fine, and who'd want to see Ken Burns' take on the Teamsters. But "Hoffa", for all its huffing and puffing, lacks the drama of Paul Schrader's "Blue Collar" or the better Mob pictures.

Recommended solely for Nicholson's performance.


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