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Hoffa (1992)

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The story of the notorious American labor union figure Jimmy Hoffa, who organizes a bitter strike, makes deals with members of the organized crime syndicate and mysteriously disappears in 1975.

Director:

Danny DeVito

Writer:

David Mamet
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... James R. Hoffa
Danny DeVito ... Bobby Ciaro
Armand Assante ... Carol D'Allesandro
J.T. Walsh ... Fitzsimmons
John C. Reilly ... Pete Connelly
Frank Whaley ... Young Kid
Kevin Anderson ... Robert Kennedy
John P. Ryan ... Red Bennett
Robert Prosky ... Billy Flynn
Natalija Nogulich ... Jo Hoffa
Nicholas Pryor ... Hoffa's Attorney
Paul Guilfoyle ... Ted Harmon
Karen Young ... Young Woman at RTA
Cliff Gorman ... Solly Stein
Joanne Neer Joanne Neer ... Soignee Woman
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Storyline

Jack Nicholson's portrait of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa, as seen through the eyes of his friend Bobby Ciaro (Danny DeVito). This film follows Hoffa's struggle to shape America's most influential labor union through his countless battles with the RTA. As he fights for workers' rights, Hoffa locks horns with industry management, organized crime and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. In 1975, four years after serving his prison term, Hoffa disappears, in one of America's most fascinating unsolved crime mysteries. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The man who was willing to pay the price for power. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Latin

Release Date:

25 December 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hoffa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$24,276,500
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only film Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito have made together in which Nicholson was directed by DeVito. Conversely, Nicholson directed DeVito in Goin' South (1978). See more »

Goofs

The car in which Hoffa is shot is a 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brogham. Hoffa disappeared in 1975. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bobby Ciaro: Want me to go call him up?
Jimmy Hoffa: Uh-unh.
Bobby Ciaro: Want a cup of coffee?
Jimmy Hoffa: No.
Bobby Ciaro: Want to go?
[Hoffa gives him a scornful glance]
Bobby Ciaro: You okay?
Jimmy Hoffa: Yeah.
See more »

Crazy Credits

there are no opening credits and the title of the film at the beginning. See more »

Alternate Versions

On a special laserdisc edition, Danny DeVito hosts a supplemental portion of the disc with outtakes, including a scene where Hoffa perfectly shoots a beer bottle with a rifle. See more »

Connections

Featured in Intro by director Danny DeVito (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Make Love Tonight
Written, Produced and Performed by Nicky Addeo
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Performance, Mediocre Film
25 September 2002 | by gvb0907See all my reviews

All too often Jack Nicholson just coasts and plays his stock character. Sometimes it's boring, occasionally it's insulting, but in "Hoffa" Nicholson puts aside the sneer and the leer and delivers a knockout performance. Although he doesn't really look that much like the Teamster boss, Nicholson captures the man's aura perfectly. It's more than just nailing the vocal rhythms and inflections or mastering Hoffa's body language, you feel Nicholson is conveying the inner man as well. This is truly a multi-dimensional interpretation and it's absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, the film is an inadequate showcase for Nicholson's talents. The story begins in 1975 on what presumably was the last day of Hoffa's life as he and his pal Bobby Ciaro (Danny DeVito) wait for some people to show up for a meeting at a Michigan roadhouse. They wait a long time which allows Bobby to recall many incidents in Hoffa's extraordinary career as a union organizer.

There are two problems with this. First Bobby, who's supposed to be something of an enforcer, is never credible. Although he's nearly always in view, he never seems to belong. Perhaps that's because he's entirely a creation of screenwriter David Mamet. Barely adequate as a story-telling device, Bobby's unfortunate insertion gives rise to the inevitable, more serious question: how much of this story is true?

If you accept Mamet's interpretation, Hoffa was a victim of a trusted associate, the Government, and the Mob, but foremost a hero because he fought for the working man. Fair enough. But when you watch "Hoffa" you don't really get a clear sense of why all this was so. Motivations are largely absent. The flashbacks pass by but you feel these are merely sketches or outlines, often presented without clear context. Some are believable, others seem to be mere speculation, still others, such as the scenes with Robert Prosky or the enormous riot sequence, implausible. Was Prosky's character real? Did so many people actually die? Ask Bobby, because in many ways it's as much his story as Hoffa's; but as we know, Bobby is pure fiction.

Mamet has been quoted as saying audiences look more for drama than for information. Fine, and who'd want to see Ken Burns' take on the Teamsters. But "Hoffa", for all its huffing and puffing, lacks the drama of Paul Schrader's "Blue Collar" or the better Mob pictures.

Recommended solely for Nicholson's performance.


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