Title: Rain Man
Author: Best Actor - Dustin Hoffman; Best Director - Barry Levinson; Best Picture (1988)
A callous young hustler living in California finds his father has died and left him only rose bushes and a ‘49 Buick convertible. Feeling cheated out of what he thinks should be his 3 million dollar inheritance, he kidnaps the autistic brother he never knew he had, and takes him on the ride of his life.
Rain Man is the kind of touching drama that Oscars are made for—and, sure enough, the film took Academy honors for best picture, director, screenplay, and actor (Dustin Hoffman) in 1988. Hoffman plays Raymond, an autistic savant whose late father has left him $3 million in a trust. This gets the attention of his materialistic younger brother, a hot-shot LA car dealer named Charlie (Tom Cruise) who wasn’t even aware of Raymond’s existence until he read his estranged father’s will. Charlie picks up Raymond and takes him on a cross-country journey that becomes a voyage of discovery for Charlie, and, perhaps, for Raymond, too. Rain Man will either captivate you or irritate you (Raymond’s sputtering of repetitious phrases is enough to drive anyone crazy), but it is obviously a labor of love for those involved. Hoffman had been attached to the film for many years, as various directors and writers came and went, but his persistence eventually paid off—kind of like Raymond in Las Vegas. Look for director Barry Levinson in a cameo as a psychiatrist near the end of the film. —Jim Emerson