7.2/10
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131 user 78 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
4,302 ( 22)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. 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:

The Motorcycle Boy's Never Coming Back See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rumble Fish See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,985, 10 October 1983

Gross USA:

$2,494,480

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

Jack Nicholson turned down the role of Father, because he didn't like the script. See more »

Goofs

In the arcade, Rusty James is playing the video game "Pole Position", but the sound effects are from the game, "Pac Man". 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 Monster in a Box (1992) 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

See more »

User Reviews

 
my favourite film
23 November 2006 | by alexataislingSee all my reviews

I saw Rumble Fish in a small a cinema in Dublin when it came out in 1983. It became a cult hit around town and was shown every Monday afternoon for for £1 for months. I bunked off work often to see it as did many people, I got to know. It's hard to say what made it quite so special, god knows I've tried over the years in those party/pub moments when the conversation is flagging and someone asks, 'what is your favourite film?' Obviously they want to know why when you come up with something they've never heard of, hate or are indifferent to. I read Susie Hinton's books afterwards and also sought out the Outsdiders (also from a Hinton novel) which was made at the same time and was a good film with some of the wistful intensity of teenage life so strong in Rumble Fish but was like the straight, conventional brother by comparison. I think Susie Hinton went straight to Coppola's heart and she worked with him on the two films, even appearing in cameo in both. It is amazing to me that her books were marketed as teenage fiction, they are to my mind mature American fiction and transpose beautifully to the screen. The plot is a simple one and necessarily so yet the implications are universal. The style, camera-work, casting and soundtrack work together so well. I don't think that even in the Godfather Coppopla ever got it so right. The dreamy quality of the film, the distorted imagery and the fantastic soundtrack reflect the physical and mental damage suffered by the James family, Rusty's brain damage from one too many rumbles, Dad's alcoholism and the Motorcycle Boys colour blindness, depression and death wish. It's like an elegy for the old west and the constraints of small town life, John Ford meets David Lynch. It also marked the beginning of the end for Zoetrope studios and we'll never know what great movies we lost when that motorcycle gang left town.


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