84 user 38 critic

This Boy's Life (1993)

2:00 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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)
2,955 ( 496)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

Director: Scott Kalvert
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, Marilyn Sokol
Marvin's Room (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A leukemia patient attempts to end a 20-year feud with her sister to get her bone marrow.

Director: Jerry Zaks
Stars: Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis
Total Eclipse (1995)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Young, wild poet Arthur Rimbaud and his mentor Paul Verlaine engage in a fierce, forbidden romance while feeling the effects of a hellish artistic lifestyle.

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, David Thewlis, Romane Bohringer
Action | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Lady avenger returns to western town owned by a ruthless gunslinger hosting an elimination tournament.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s struggle to come to terms with their personal problems while trying to raise their two children.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Christopher Fitzgerald
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?

Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich
The Beach I (2000)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Twenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss - excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel York, Patcharawan Patarakijjanon
J. Edgar (2011)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Don's Plum (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A group of Los Angeles teenagers meet every week at their local diner to discuss their latest misadventures in their miserable lives.

Director: R.D. Robb
Stars: Scott Bloom, Kevin Connolly, Tobey Maguire
Body of Lies (2008)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A CIA agent on the ground in Jordan hunts down a powerful terrorist leader while being caught between the unclear intentions of his American supervisors and Jordan Intelligence.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Mark Strong


Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Gayle
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


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?


When Robert De Niro saw Leonardo DiCaprio's acting in this movie, he called Martin Scorsese to tell him about the kid and he must check him out. See more »


In the film, the children of Concrete go to high school in Chinook, as there is no high school in Concrete. In fact, Chinook is 268 miles away from Concrete, on the opposite end of the state. 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 The Audition (2015) See more »


Bongo Rock
Written by Preston Epps and Arthur Egnoian
Performed by Preston Epps
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"I Know a Thing or Two, About a Thing or Two."
4 August 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This Boy's Life was the break out role for Leonardo DiCaprio who proved what a great talent he was in this coming of age film. He had to be to hold his own with Robert DeNiro. DeNiro with his great ear for voices and accents perfectly captures the role of stepfather Dwight Hansen, a man with a terrible inferiority complex who takes it out on his stepson.

The film is based on the memoirs of writer Tobias Wolff as he and his mother endured five years of hell with this very provincial man who is trapped in the small town mentality of Concrete, Washington during the 1950s. The title quote is from DeNiro who repeats that line many times during the film. In fact that's all he does is talk in clichés and it's made abundantly clear that his level of ignorance about the outside world is frightening.

That puts him in contrast with stepson DiCaprio who's a bright kid and capable of going places with some guidance. DeNiro isn't about to provide that guidance, he's just plain jealous of him.

In fact This Boy's Life is similar in that respect to the Tom Cruise film All the Right Moves where Cruise is also trying to escape the drab life he sees in his small Pennsylvania mining town through athletics and meets with jealousy from many around him, but not in his own family circle.

This Boy's Life should be required viewing on the effects of homophobia. In addition to the principal players, DeNiro, DiCaprio, and Ellen Barkin as DiCaprio's mother, credit should go to Jonah Blechman who played gay teen Arthur Gayle. He's got a real lonely existence in Concrete, Washington. Arthur's story is still unfortunately being acted out today in thousands of small town throughout the USA. He gravitates to DiCaprio, not just sexually, but because he recognizes a kindred spirit there.

Among other things DeNiro encourages is homophobia as homosexuality is one of many things he's ignorant about and prefers to remain so. It's quite a scene in which DeNiro encourages DiCaprio to beat up Arthur on any and all occasions.

In fact that's ultimately Dwight's problem. It's maybe ONLY two things that he knows anything about and can converse intelligently on. And he's living in a town full of other Dwights as ignorant as he is.

This is one of the best films of the last decade of the last century and should not be missed.

41 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Was Dwight 'deficient' in sexual life? technotrone
What about Pearl?! El_Dude_Brother
Versus the Book geraldpayne
Dwights first wife? Joeytrom@aol.com
That easy to fake your grades? pinturicchio_juve
Discuss This Boy's Life (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: