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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 32,327 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 82 user | 36 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

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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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He looked like the ideal husband. He seemed like the perfect father. That's just what they needed. But that's not what they got. 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?


Caroline (Toby's mother) smokes L&M cigarettes. See more »


When they're all having dinner after Caroline wins the shooting contest, Skipper asks Pearl for the salt and pepper and you can just about see that Pearl is not wearing glasses. But in the next shot of her, she is wearing glasses. 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 »


I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair
Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
See more »

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User Reviews

A terrific introduction of Leo's talents
22 February 2006 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

Robert DeNiro is one of the finest living actors of Hollywood, most of his movies are pure gold, not to mention this fine film "The Boy's Life". He and not too well known at the time Leonardo made a wonderful coming of age story. Toby is a boy who is constantly on the move with his mother. He gets into trouble at school, smokes, and swears, not your straight arrow kid. But when his mother's new boyfriend, Dwight, offers to take him and turn him into a "straight arrow" boy with a good future, he does so. When he and the mother finally marry, Dwight's true colors start to show and not for the good. He's an alcoholic and abusive drunk who will not rest until everyone goes into his ways of thinking. With some other little unknowns like Eliza Dushku and Tobey Maguire, this is a terrific film.

The acting is just incredible. The chemistry that feeds off of Robert and Leo going back and forth of their fights and anger, it's incredible. Leo's talents just shine and I would highly recommend this film if you enjoyed "Stand By Me". What a great movie!


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