7.2/10
30,666
134 user 82 critic

Rumble Fish (1983)

Trailer
2:20 | Trailer
Rusty James, an absent-minded street thug struggles to live up to his legendary older brother's reputation, and longs for the days when gang warfare was going on.

Writers:

S.E. Hinton (novel), S.E. Hinton (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,442 ( 572)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Dillon ... Rusty James
Mickey Rourke ... The Motorcycle Boy
Diane Lane ... Patty
Dennis Hopper ... Father
Diana Scarwid ... Cassandra
Vincent Spano ... Steve
Nicolas Cage ... Smokey
Chris Penn ... B.J. Jackson (as Christopher Penn)
Laurence Fishburne ... Midget (as Larry Fishburne)
William Smith ... Patterson the Cop
Michael Higgins ... Mr. Harrigan
Glenn Withrow ... Biff Wilcox
Tom Waits ... Benny
Herb Rice ... Black Pool Player
Maybelle Wallace Maybelle Wallace ... Late Pass Clerk
Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Meet the jazz musicians, dancers, owner and guests (e.g. gangster Dutch Schultz) of The Cotton Club in 1928-30s Harlem.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane
The Outsiders (1983)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The rivalry between two gangs, the poor Greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A couple has a fight after living together 5 years in Las Vegas. They go out and celebrate 4th of July, each with a new partner. Breakup?

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A Sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Viet Nam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old Army buddy.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones
Tetro (2009)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie's discovery of his brother's near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a housewife finds out she is pregnant, she runs out of town looking for freedom to reevaluate her life decisions.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: James Caan, Shirley Knight, Robert Duvall
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A love story wrapped in a mystery. Set in World War II Europe, a professor is changed by a cataclysmic event and explores the mysteries of life.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that the couple he is spying on will be murdered.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield
Tex (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After their mother dies and their father leaves them, teenage brothers Tex and Mason McCormick struggle to make it on their own.

Director: Tim Hunter
Stars: Matt Dillon, Jim Metzler, Meg Tilly
Twixt (2011)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A struggling horror writer visiting a small town on a book tour gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Preston Tucker, the maverick car designer and his ill-fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau
Edit

Storyline

Rusty James is the leader of a small, dying gang in an industrial town. He lives in the shadow of the memory of his absent, older brother -- The Motorcycle Boy. His mother has left, his father drinks, school has no meaning for him and his relationships are shallow. He is drawn into one more gang fight and the events that follow begin to change his life. Written by Bruce Janson <bruce@cs.su.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No leader can survive becoming a legend. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Francis Ford Coppola reunited with Mickey Rourke in The Rainmaker (1997). See more »

Goofs

Despite it's impressionistic style the film doesn't seem to know what era it's in. The cars, trucks, and motorcycles all range through the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Midget: Biff Wilcox is looking for you, Rusty James. He's gonna kill you, Rusty James.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some TV versions include a scene where the gym teacher offers to pay Rusty-James if he beats up a kid. See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Summer Special 2008/09 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Box Me In
Written by Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgway
Performed by Stewart Copeland and Stan Ridgway
See more »

User Reviews

 
one of Coppola's very best; delivers a plethora of sharp visuals and terrific cinematography/performances
28 January 2004 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

I saw Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish in a film class, and it was interesting to see how certain scenes were made (seeing transitions and shots in slow motion, stopping to point out things), among the plot. From S.E. Hinton's novel, he assembles a breakthrough cast (a lot of teens) who show they can get into the characters quite effectively. And for those who love the technical side of a film- how it was made and what went into the shots and the meanings of shots- will have a feast that will turn them off or have them asking for more (or the rumored 8-hour cut, perhaps).

The story deals with characters who are struggling through life, stuck in a town where the environment seems nostalgically black and white, and only glimpses of color arise. We are given the story of two brothers- the one who takes a chunk of the story is Rusty James (an excellent, young Matt Dillon), a tough, sometimes ignorant teen who has all the strengths and weaknesses of the high-school 'rebel', taking after his AWOL older brother. The other is Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke, perfect in his quiet and touching presence), who left his town and his reputation behind to go to California. He returns to find Rusty James getting in over his head, and all his best efforts to keep him cool are mired by old wounds (some wounds involving their parents, others by the effect the atmosphere left on him). There's also keen supporting work by fresh faces- Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, and Laurence Fishburne as friends and sometimes followers of Rusty; Diane Lane (wonderful even in her youth) as a sweet/sour love interest; and Dennis Hopper as the father of Rusty James, who appears just enough to get the psychological points across to the viewer.

Coppola tends to use his symbols rather thickly, and it's arguable if he may show things too much, or maybe if he shows them just enough (i.e. skies darkening, clocks). Yet it doesn't stop him from creating indelible images- practically all the shots in the film could be put on a wall and look as great as any other by a professional photographer. With Stephen Barum and Dean Tavoularis (photographer and designer, respectively) scene after scene experiments with techniques (the fish is just a taste of this), and it's rather authentic in its respectfulness of the material. For example, in the gang fight, the style with which Coppola introduces characters controls the mis en scene, the editing and the use of shadows, all of this in this one sequence displays the tremendous directorial vision Coppola can have on a film.

It's not really a joyful film, and the downward spiral motif of the story may make some depressed with what they're seeing. But, if you want to see a very well-crafted film, the kind that gets better on repeat viewings (as with the Godfather films and Apocalypse Now), check it out- at least a viewer will get the sense of concise, complex film acting by young stars.


70 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 134 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rumble Fish See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,985, 10 October 1983

Gross USA:

$2,494,480

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,494,480
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White | Color (some shots)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed