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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
4,285 ( 589)
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

Debra Winger dropped out of playing a mother. 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 The Audition (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Twitchy
Performed by The Ray Hall Orchestra featuring Willie Joe
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User Reviews

 
Concrete Is My Hometown
13 July 2004 | by hisownSee all my reviews

Although I didn't live there during the time the movie was made I did venture up one afternoon to see what the town looked like as a movie set. Remarkably, the town looked much like I remembered from my childhood in the 60's and it was a nice journey back in time. While living in Arizona ('92-2001) I would frequently watch the movie when I was homesick; I enjoyed seeing my old town, my old schools & the surrounding scenic shots. I am now living back in Concrete and sadly, the town has wasted away to nothing; but with This Boy's Life I can go back for an hour or so to when it was a really great place to live and grow-up. The real-life Dwight has since died (everyone who knew him says he was just like book and movie portrayed him) and his real kids dispute the fact that he was an abusive father. Tobias Wolff is, of course, now a well-known writer but remembered as a nice, fun-loving kid who did pretty well weathering the constant stress at home while growing up. A number of Concrete residents still resent the portrayal of our town as a back-woods redneck community that harbors child-abusers.

Unfortunately, the truth hurts & that description pretty much sums up our little spot on the map. But we do have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, lots of fresh air and no gangs so I guess we are better off than a lot of urban environments. Leo DiCaprio did a great job in his role. Ellen Barkin was memorable but I had a hard time feeling much empathy for her character. DiNiro was - well...DiNiro. Every role he touches becomes gold and this one will shine for a long time. This movie was highly underrated in my opinion (and not just because I was biased) and should have gotten more notice after it's release. You can still see it on the pay channels, occasionally on cable networks and of course, video & DVD. The sets, clothing, and music really do justice to the time. See it and you will never forget it! ***small tidbit: on my trip up to Concrete to visit the set I was happened upon DiNiro, DiCaprio & Barkin filming the scene where they were driving for the first time into Concrete. The local sheriff had closed off the highway until the scene was completed but because I knew the area and side rural roads I sneaked up to a spot where I could videotape the car with the three inside going down the highway. I DID get decent video of DiNiro "driving" the car and was thrilled!


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