Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Director: Barry Levinson
Theatrical release: 1988; available on DVD
This classic film was a labor of love for star Dustin Hoffman and the rest of the cast and crew. It was also a critical and box-office winner, resulting in four Academy Awards®: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.
The story is all about Charlie Babbitt, Cruise's character, a self-centered hustler, who's in deep financial trouble over some car deals gone bad. When he hears that his estranged father has died, he returns home because, as an only child, he expects to inherit millions. But life throws him a curve and offers an opportunity — in the form of an autistic brother (played by Hoffman) he didn't know he had.
What we get is a look inside family dynamics and the possibilities we all have for redemption. Add in a brother/buddy road trip to Las Vegas in a classic 1948 Buick convertible, the attendant excitement and revelation, and we're involved in the kind of personal transformation that makes for an outstanding story.