Nobody's Fool (1994)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  13 January 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 14,625 users  
Reviews: 91 user | 42 critic

Sully is a rascally ne'er-do-well approaching retirement age. While he is pressing a worker's compensation suit for a bad knee, he secretly works for his nemesis, Carl, and flirts with ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Saks ...
Alexander Goodwin ...
Carl J. Matusovich ...
Wacker (as Carl John Matusovich)
Jerry Mayer ...


Sully is a rascally ne'er-do-well approaching retirement age. While he is pressing a worker's compensation suit for a bad knee, he secretly works for his nemesis, Carl, and flirts with Carl's young wife Toby. Sully's long- forgotten son and family have moved back to town, so Sully faces unfamiliar family responsibilities. Meanwhile, Sully's landlady's banker son plots to push through a new development and evict Sully from his mother's life. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a town where nothing ever happens... everything is about to happen to Sully. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las cosas de la vida  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$39,487,686 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bruce Willis' part only took 22 days to film. See more »


When Beryl offers Sully a cup of tea, his cigar completely disappears. See more »


[first lines]
Miss Beryl: Mr. Sullivan.
[banging on ceiling]
Miss Beryl: Mr. Sullivan. God just took out Mrs. Gruber's bird bath!
Miss Beryl: [to her husband's picture] He's getting closer Clive. Last year it was the street light at the end of the block, now it's Mrs. Gruber's bird bath. I think God's zeroing in on me. I have the feeling this is the year he lowers the boom.
See more »


Featured in The 67th Annual Academy Awards (1995) See more »


Silver Bells
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Performed by Mitch Miller and The Gang
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

And yet ANOTHER great performance by Paul Newman
20 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paul Newman is "Nobody's Fool" in this 1994 film also starring Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Newman magnificently portrays Sully, a 60-year-old man living in a small town in upstate New York. He has a bad knee; he's suing his boss, the hard living Carl Roebuck (Bruce Willis) for back wages; he flirts with the boss' wife Toby (Melanie Griffith); he rents from his old school teacher Beryl Peoples (Jessica Tandy) who depends on him; he plays poker and drinks at the local bar; and he plays the Trifecta every day. When his son Peter (Dylan Walsh) comes to town, Sully has to come face to face with the man he abandoned as a child, as well as his ex-wife. (The scene where he sneaks out of her house as everyone screams at each other is a riot.) He gets to know his little grandson, bonding with him as he never did the boy's father. Sully, who in his own way has been taking care of a lot of people in town - and driving some other ones crazy - learns the importance of a family connection and what it entails.

A marvelous script, a marvelous cast, great direction by Robert Benton

  • "Nobody's Fool" is a small movie with a big message about life.

Newman portrays Sully with all of his complexities. He's more a son to Beryl than her own son. He takes care of his workmate Grub (Pruitt Taylor Vance) as he never did his own son. He is there for Toby as she talks about Carl's infidelities, but he was never there for his own wife. What's most wonderful about the script is how character-driven it is and how all its messages come out of the characters. The audience is not beaten over the head with them. When Sully speaks bitterly about his late father, he turns to Peter and says, "That's what you'll say about me when I'm gone." "You were gone, dad," Peter says. "I've already said it." Yet the two men try, without ever verbalizing that they are trying. He's there for Tandy, without a sentimental scene.

Tandy is excellent as a woman who fears the loss of her independence, and fans of Nip/Tuck will get a kick out of seeing Dylan Walsh as he was 14 years ago with his mop of hair. He does very well in his role. Bruce Willis is amazing - relaxed, funny, cheating with a smile. Philip Seymour Hoffman, before stardom hit, has a hilarious role as a policeman trying to nail Sully and not having much luck.

You can't really call what Newman does acting because you won't catch him doing it - he just IS Sully. He creates an unforgettable character in this must-see film.

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