7.2/10
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125 user 77 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 »
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Popularity
4,385 ( 65)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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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:

12 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1986 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

La ley de la calle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,985, 10 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the dream sequence where Rusty James floats outside of his body Matt Dillon wore a body mold which was moved by an articulated arm and also flown on wires. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow visible on Rusty-James' torso after The Motorcycle Boy has shown him the photograph of himself in the magazine. 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

There is rumoured to be an eight hour bootleg cut of the film. 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
My favorite film of all time
20 May 2002 | by fandorethSee all my reviews

I realize that's not saying it's the best ever made, but it certainly marked me so much as to regard it as my all-time fave.

The movie reminisces of Elia Kazan's Dean movies, and "The Wild One" starring Marlon Brando. Just as those movies (and much better done, IMHO), Rumble Fish is about violence as a consequence of uncomprehension; loneliness; and family relations in a sordid, black and white environment. Not even this choice is random, as its B&W filming (and somewhat deficient sound quality) is yet another commentary on life as seen through the eyes of its characters - and author.

Every scene in this movie brings a realization, though some of the dialogues are indeed a bit naive when seen after its time. And here I could engage in a debate on "naiveté" vs. "savvy", and whether an innocent view of life really means less message depth (or whether a jaded outlook really guarantees understanding), but I digress. The point is, I'm a 27-year old man and I still cry every time I see this movie.

The first time I saw Rumble Fish, I thought I identified with the Motorcycle boy and his alienation from the world he was put in. After a few more times, I realized more and more that I "was" Rusty-James - That, to an extent, EVERY man is a little Rusty-James; trying to live up to a hero image, and helplessly watching as your ideal slips past your reach and lets himself be killed, without you ever understanding anything until it's too late... or is it?

Where Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis speak to the hero we WANT to be, Matt Dillon speaks to the MEN who want to be that hero, and leads the way out.

*sigh*

The astounding soundtrack, exquisite photography and perfect takes don't hurt any, either.

Buy it, rent it, whatever. See the goddamn movie. It is worth a try (and a much, much better score than 6.7).


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