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This Boy's Life (1993)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  23 April 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 31,978 users   Metascore: 60/100
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The story about the relationship between a rebellious 50s teenager and his abusive father, based on the memoirs of writer and literature professor Tobias Wolff.


(book), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Gayle
Zachary Ansley ...
Skipper (as Zack Ansley)
Tracey Ellis ...
Robert Zameroski ...
Arch Cook (as Bobby Zameroski)
Chuck Bolger
Tristan Tait ...
Jerry Huff
Travis MacDonald ...
Richard Liss ...
A & P Manager


In 1957, a son and mother flee the East and an abusive boyfriend to find a new life, and end up in Seattle, where the mother meets a polite garage mechanic. The boy continually gets into trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd. The mom marries the mechanic, but they soon find out that he's an abusive and unreasoning alcoholic, and they struggle to maintain hope in an impossible situation as the boy grows up with plans to escape the small town by any means possible. Based on a true story by Tobias Wolff. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A true story based on the award-winning book by Tobias Wolff. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Deste Rapaz  »

Box Office


$4,104,962 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Toby's brother, called "Gregory" in the movie, is actually named Geoffrey. See more »


Speedometer on car reads the same when Dwight Hansen drives erratically to scare Tobias and then later on when Tobias takes Dwight's car for a joy ride; also the speedometer says speeds of 70 mph plus yet the odometer never moves. See more »


[first lines]
Tobias 'Toby' Wolff: It was 1957. We were driving from Florida to Utah. After my mother was beaten up by her boyfriend, we got in the Nash and high-tailed it for the uranium fields. We were gonna get rich and change our luck, which hadn't been so hot since our family broke up five years back.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of David Spade (2005) See more »


Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons and music by Charles Chaplin
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
See more »

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User Reviews

A true slice of life
22 June 1999 | by (Broken Bow, Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

This was an excellent tale of what some people's lives are really like. The acting was flawless, the story rang true, and the dialogue was some of the best ever. Barkin was perfect as the man crazy, brainless mother, and De Niro captured the role of a bullying, phoney drunk completely. Men do indeed act like this every day, and women allow them to. Don't miss this one.

38 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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