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True Believer (1989)

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A cynical former civil liberties attorney now reduced to "specializing" in defending drug dealers becomes transformed by an eight-year-old murder case.

Director:

Joseph Ruben

Writer:

Wesley Strick
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Eddie Dodd
Robert Downey Jr. ... Roger Baron
Margaret Colin ... Kitty Greer
Yuji Okumoto ... Shu Kai Kim
Kurtwood Smith ... Robert Reynard
Tom Bower ... Cecil Skell
Miguel Fernandes ... Art Esparza
Charles Hallahan ... Vincent Dennehy
Sully Diaz Sully Diaz ... Maraquilla Esparza
Misan Kim Misan Kim ... Mrs. Kim
John Snyder ... Chuckie Loeder
Luis Guzmán ... Ortega (as Luis Guzman)
Graham Beckel ... Sklaroff
Tony Haney Tony Haney ... Montell
Joel Polis ... Dean Rabin
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Storyline

Eddie Dodd is a burnt out former civil rights lawyer who now specializes in defending drug dealers. Roger Baron, newly graduated from law school, has followed Eddie's great cases and now wants to learn at his feet. With Roger's idealistic prodding, Eddie reluctantly takes on a case of a young Korean man who, according to his mom, has been in jail for eight years for a murder he did not commit. Written by <Vertigus@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone Got Away with Murder ... Until Now. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das dreckige Spiel See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,009,692, 20 February 1989

Gross USA:

$8,742,750

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,742,750
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although much is made of Shu Kai Kim's supposedly distinctly Korean facial features, he was played by Yuji Okumoto, a Japanese-American actor. See more »

Goofs

The opportunity for cross-examination or re-direct examination of the witnesses is frequently glossed over. Not just that a character doesn't cross-examine such as the lack of cross of the prisoner at the end of the state's case, but most egregiously, the judge gives the district attorney no opportunity for re-direct of the eyewitness who testified she never took her eyes off the gun even though she obviously wanted to say more. No competent DA would fail to give her a chance to clarify her statements during the cross-examination. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Dodd: We gotta find some piece of evidence that's been buried, and open the sucker up again.
Roger Baron: Christ, Eddie, if the guy's really guilty...
Eddie Dodd: Hey, only Shu and God know if he's guilty, and neither one of 'em's talkin'.
See more »

Connections

Spin-off Eddie Dodd (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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User Reviews

 
True Justice!
23 December 2014 | by g-bodylSee all my reviews

The last decade of the twentieth century is known for the millions of courtroom dramas produced. At the turn of that decade, True Believer was released and countless numbers followed. For the film itself, it was actually pretty good though it seems no one has seen the film. It has all what you would expect in a courtroom drama and it was done fairly well. The film was tense and it has some stirring moments. However, the film needs editing work done as there are many continuity issues and it gives the overall story arch some unnecessary problems.

This film is about a lawyer named Eddie Dodd who used to be a civil rights lawyer and now he is a worn-down defender for drug users. With the help of a younger lawyer just out of grad school Roger Baron, Dodd decides to open an eight-year-old case involving an Asian guy who was wrongly convicted of a gang hit. Now Dodd must fight against wormy prosecutors, corrupt cops, and racial Nazis just to even stay alive.

Roger Ebert has the perfect quote for James Woods performance as he called him "hypnotically watchable." I happen to agree that Woods deliver an excellent performance as he does not hold anything back. Plus you have to give credit to his hairstyle making him look like a lawyer from the 1770's. On the other hand, I didn't quite buy Robert Downey Jr's performance. He is a fantastic actor, but his role here irritated me. He has some good moments, but not enough to prove his worth.

Overall, True Believer is a fine courtroom film that is energized by the fiery James Woods performance. If he was not here, this movie would have been mediocre at best. But the film itself is thrilling and there are even some chilling aspects to the film, almost horror-film like. But there are also some action scenes and chases that will keep normal filmgoers interested. I thought the actual court case was interesting and it shows how racist Americans can be, even twenty plus years after the Civil Rights Act. I rate this film 8/10.


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