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This Boy's Life (1993)

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The story about the relationship between a rebellious 1950s teenager and his abusive stepfather, based on the memoirs of writer and literature Professor Tobias Wolff.

Writers:

Tobias Wolff (book), Robert Getchell (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,105 ( 721)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Dwight
Ellen Barkin ... Caroline
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Toby
Jonah Blechman ... Arthur Gayle
Eliza Dushku ... Pearl
Chris Cooper ... Roy
Carla Gugino ... Norma
Zachary Ansley ... Skipper (as Zack Ansley)
Tracey Ellis ... Kathy
Kathy Kinney ... Marian
Robert Zameroski Robert Zameroski ... Arch Cook (as Bobby Zameroski)
Tobey Maguire ... Chuck Bolger
Tristan Tait Tristan Tait ... Jerry Huff
Travis MacDonald Travis MacDonald ... Psycho
Richard Liss Richard Liss ... A & P Manager
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En främling i familjen See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,425, 11 April 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,104,962
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leonardo DiCaprio mentioned the film during his acceptance speech at the 2016 SAG Awards. He also thanked Michael Caton-Jones for casting him in his first film during his Oscar acceptance speech in 2016. See more »

Goofs

Speedometer on car reads the same when Dwight Hansen drives erratically to scare Tobias and then later on when Tobias takes Dwight's car for a joy ride; also the speedometer says speeds of 70 mph plus yet the odometer never moves. See more »

Quotes

[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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Siskel & Ebert: The Seventies (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Perfidia
Music by Alberto Domínguez
Lyrics by Milton Leeds
Performed by The Ventures
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great acting
23 February 2000 | by AKS-6See all my reviews

What is best about "This Boy's Life" is the acting. Don't get me wrong, though, the film in itself is also good; it's rather disturbing when you think about the fact that it is based upon a true story. But the acting… 1993 must be Leonardo DiCaprio's best year as an actor yet, his portrayal of Toby in this film is very good, and he was absolutely sensational in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?". Robert De Niro is also very good in the film, he manages to bring forward the brutal side of his character while he also lets the audience know that Dwight is a very childish man. Ellen Barkin is also good. And it was fun to see Tobey Maguire in an early role as Toby's friend -- I didn't even now that he was supposed to be in the film until there he was! Good film with really impressive acting by the three leads. (6/10)


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