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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?


The preparatory schools mentioned in the film all do exist. The Hill School is located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Choate Rosemary Hall is located in Wallingford, Connecticut, and Deerfield Academy is located in Deerfield, Massachusetts. See more »


The injured finger that's still bandaged months later in the timeline of the story. 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.
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User Reviews

Blockbuster Rental February, 1999
4 March 1999 | by (Fremont, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

I liked this film. I was able to relate not only to the young boy, Tobias Wolff, but also the stepfather Dwight. This film brought back memories of myself growing up when I was that age, as well as memories of being an errant father myself raising a son.

After viewing the movie twice, I checked out the book at the library and read it.

I feel that the film followed the storyline of the book quite well. Robert DeNiro did a superb job of protraying Dwight, as did Leonardo DiCaprio protraying Jack.

I recommend viewing this film by anyone who is raising a teenage son, so as to give some insight to the pitfalls that adolescence will challenge a father. Don't wait until after you have already raised your son, as then it is too late to benefit from the knowledge you will gain from this excellent story.

35 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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