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A woefully underrated biography of the controversial Teamsters union president that deserved better than it got in 1992. Director Danny Devito and writer David Mamet clearly admire their subject, depicting Hoffa as a hero, a leader who has earned the loyalty of the working men he represents, rather than a self-centered puppet whose strings were pulled by organized crime. Whether or not Hoffa was deserving of such admiration is debatable, but the film offers a convincing argument that he was. As an actor, Devito has little to do but push people around and gape at Hoffa in awe, but behind the camera he performs admirably even if he seems a little too pretentious at times. As for Nicholson, this is one of his most challenging roles, one requiring more than an arch of those famous eyebrows and a flash of that killer smile. With the aid of a hairpiece and a few other modifications to his appearance, he gives one of his best performances in years. This is a fine, memorable film that seemed to have disappeared upon its release as thoroughly as Hoffa himself did in 1975. I don't know the whereabouts of Hoffa the man (and believe it's in my best interests not to know), but the film is on the video shelf. Check it out or buy it, but see it.
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VINE VOICEon April 23, 2005
Here is the closest thing there is in cimena to a real life story of a blood and guts union leader. Jimmy Hoffa was boss of the Teamsters (truckers) union for many years until he met his demise in 1975 at the hands of the same thugs that helped him secure his place as the union boss.

All the memorable moments of Hoffa's life are in this movie including his duels with then Attorney General Robert Kennedy, his accommodation to gangland members for union gain, and the circumstances that led to his final undoing.

I sure like this movie and watch it every chance I get. There are two fine films about the life of the late Jimmy Hoffa (who may or may not be buried in the Meadowlands) -- this one and Sylvester Stallone's 1978 effort "FIST", which covered much of the same ground as this one.

Any movie with Jack Nicholson in the lead must be taken seriously, and he does fine work in this film. I enjoyed every scene but have to take issue with some of the historical accuracy, particularly that final scene at the "Road House".

Jimmy Hoffa was, in fact, last seen as a swanky restaurant in a swanky suburub of Detroit right down the street from one of the Detroit's biggest PR firms, not at some nickle and dime diner out in the middle of nowhere.

No matter, I suppose, since I enjoy the flick so much. You will too if you rent, purchase, borrow or steal a copy of this DVD.
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VINE VOICEon February 1, 2007
Jack Nicholson's Hoffa is a Nicholson/Hoffa hybrid that plays very well on screen, though I don't know how much like the real man he really is. I've only seen brief news clips (including the extras in the special features section of the DVD). But Nicholson gives a moving and memorable performance as Jimmy Hoffa. The rest of the cast (a young John C. Reilly included) also give great performances.

I knew nothing about Jimmy Hoffa before this movie, so the nature of the film played well to me, giving an arc of events portraying Jimmy Hoffa's rise to President of the Teamsters from a young man concerned with union rights. It also dramatically covers his involvement with gangsters, the law, and Robert Kennedy.

Although Hoffa plays out like a sweeping epic (it IS 2 hours and 20 minutes long after all), there's something missing in its grandeur, and I really think it's as simple as an experienced director. Not that Danny DeVito does a bad job with the film and the actors, it's just every now and then something seems to miss the mark. A lot of the scenes look like they take place in obvious studios, which draws the audience away, and some of the scenes with bigger crowds lack that extra touch of humanity that needs to be given to remind the viewer of the individuals involved in the crowd.

Overall, though, the acting carries the movie through to the end, though, from what I've read, the ending is entirely fictionalized, which is a bit strange considering that it's somewhat of a biopic and not just a fictionalized account of a real man's life.
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on January 22, 2016
One of the most underrated movies of the last 30 years. Danny DeVito knocks it out of the park as the director, channeling his inner Orson Welles to create wonderfully composed shots and terrific editing transitions. The screenplay from legendary writer David Mamet crackles with wonderful language, wit, and epic monologues. It's crazy that this film was overlooked at Oscar time and isn't talked about anymore - it could be Jack Nicholson's finest performance of his career. His transformation and interpretation of Jimmy Hoffa is one of the most memorable in the biopic genre. The movie holds up very well today - the themes of worker's rights, union corruption, organized crime, socialist economics etc are still very timely and the movie gives a fascinating and surprisingly unbiased looked at not just an era and a man, but an ideology. While Hoffa is shown as a hero to many, the script pulls no punches in showing the underbelly of unionization.
AMAZING acting
gorgeous cinematography
creative directing and editing
memorable music (you'll recognize the score - it's been used in a ton of trailers for other movies ever since, pretty iconic melody)
sharp dialogue
important historical story.
Doesn't get much better than Jack Nicholson as Jimmy Hoffa in Danny DeVito's "Hoffa". HIGHLY recommended.
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on December 19, 2015
Good movie, but not very accurate ending, however this came out before the Death confession in I heard you paint houses, which I believe is a very accurate telling of how Mr. Hoffa disappeared. Also Frank Sherran Hoffa's rt hand man was 6ft 4 Irishman and not five ft. It is a very good movie and explains a lot about Hoffa and the Teamsters Union and affiliation with the mobs involvement. A must read and a prelude to the upcoming film, I Heard You Paint Houses, which I cannot wait to see and add to my collection of movies.
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on June 28, 2016
Almost perfect. I live in the USA but have a DVD player that converts PAL to NTSC on-the-fly, allowing me to watch PAL DVDs on my NTSC television. The imperfect part was a latch inside the DVD case. It came loose during shipment and the DVD was rattling around inside. Fortunately, it still worked.

Hoffa is a good story of the birth of unionism in America. And links to organized crime "made sense." Considering the tactics early management used to force employees to work in unsafe environments and at low wages, organized crime was the only "muscle" they'd listen to.

In 2011, I retired from a 30-year career in a union shop. But, the union had a no-strike clause in their contract. Why? Because if management and labor could come to no agreement on a contract, an impartial mediator was appointed and BOTH sides were bound to honor whatever contract was arbitrated. This was copasetic to me since, when it comes to employers and unions, I've always believed that whatever "truth" there is at the negotiating table is found somewhere "in the middle."

But, during Hoffa's time, employers had no concept of (or respect for) "binding arbitration" and usually adopted a "my way or the highway" approach to employee relations. Nowadays, at least at my employer, things are more "civilized." But had it not been for Hoffa and people like him, that civilized state-of-affairs may never have come into existence.

Nicholson & DeVito were perfect in their roles as Hoffa and Hoffa's right hand man, Bobby Ciaro. And DeVito did a good job of directing the film, too.
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on October 31, 2015
This is exacting a portrait of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa as you could hope for, with a rare fine historical role for Nicholson and as good a theory of his disappearance as anyone has given. However, the relentlessly male, grimy dealings, beatings, cursings and so on of his labor struggles could have used a strong female presence for counterbalance. His wife occasionally shows up to hug and cry over him, but there is little else in that department. If DeVito invented his own character in the film to serve as guide to Hoffa's rise and fall, surely he could have added some female character in Hoffa's ranks with some good lines of her own.
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on February 4, 2016
I find myself watching Hoffa again and again. The plot is terrific and the actors do a fine job. The flashbacks are an interesting way of presenting the story, which may or may not be true but makes for a good film. Watch it. You will enjoy it.
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on June 19, 2006
Hoffa is a surprising film which from time to time arises to keep alive the memory of the late Teamster president. Told in flash back form, the film ably describes the dramatic rise and fall of the popular labor leader. Indeed, with Nickleson's portrayal the viewer is convinced of the confrontational life of the man who became synonymous with the International union. Re-enacting the turbulent rise of Hoffa, viewers are treated to the fabulous talents of some of the giants of the silver screen. Few could argue that Jack Nicholson as James R. 'Jimmy' Hoffa is nothing short of magical. In addition there is Danny DeVito who as Bobby Ciaro, in my opinion steals the show. Further enriching the cast is Armand Assante as Carol D'Allesandro, the mob boss who assured Jimmy's rise to power and then later is suspect in the teamster's mysterious disappearance. J.T. Walsh is excellent as Frank Fitzsimmons. The dramatic film superbly encapsulates the early violent trials, successful triumphs and eventual tragedy of the great, but troubled teamster president. ****
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on March 29, 2016
This is a good movie. It is entertaining. Danny DeVito, Jack Nicholson, Armand Assante and the late JT Walsh are terrific. But the film is marred by the fact that the character played by Danny DeVito (Bobby Ciaro) reportedly never existed. And the death of Hoffa as depicted in the movie is not even close to reality. We all know Hoffa disappeared from a restaurant's premises and not after sitting in a Cadillac for hours at a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere. You want to watch a good film? This is it. Just don't believe everything you see and hear in it. Enjoy!
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