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This Boy's Life (1993) (2003)

Robert De Niro , Leonardo Dicaprio , Michael Caton-Jones  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Leonardo Dicaprio
  • Directors: Michael Caton-Jones
  • Writers: Robert Getchell
  • Producers: Art Linson, Fitch Cady, Peter Guber, Jon Peters
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 4.0), French (Dolby Digital 4.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008DP4C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,666 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "This Boy's Life (1993)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Guys had ducktails. Cars had fins. War was over and America was on a roll. But 1950s life wasn't all fun and games -- especially for Toby Wolff and his divorced mom Caroline, free spirits whose cross-country travels end in the Pacific Northwest, where life will be better. They hope. Year: 1993 Director: Michael Caton Jones Starring: Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, Leonardo DiCaprio

Robert De Niro gets top billing, but young Leonardo DiCaprio is the revelation of This Boy's Life, an astute, often painful drama of growing up in the 1950s Pacific Northwest, based on the autobiographical novel by Tobias Woolf. DiCaprio plays Tobias, a good kid with a bad boy streak but an unwavering love for his divorced mother (Ellen Barkin). "I want to be a better boy," he promises from under a greasy pompadour, and tries to prove it when she marries single father Dwight (DeNiro), a bully who parents through intimidation and humiliation. DiCaprio is magnetic in his first starring role, full of anger, hope, and confusion as he drifts back to juvenile delinquency, and his intensity gives the true story of survival and triumph its charge. DeNiro is frightening and pathetic as Dwight, and Dwight's youngest daughter is played by future star and vampire slayer Eliza Dushku. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stark but hopeful October 26, 2004
I just happened to catch this film on HBO one evening and was stunned at how good it turned out to be. While I appreciate some of the remarks of earlier reviewers, I don't believe that films and books should be evaluated against the same criteria, so I am more forgiving of the bedroom scene in the film. For me, the bedroom scene between Dwight and Toby's mother serves a purpose -- to show just how much of a crude, repressed guy Dwight really is, not to mention calculating, since his bedroom behavior is about 180 degrees away from the uber-gentleman he purported to be when he was courting the mother.

In any case, the main interest of the film for me lies in the role of Toby as played by DiCaprio. I was never much impressed with him in Titantic and his other hits. He was adequate, but in my view much overrated. Here, however, his talent is much clearer to me, especially in the way he convinces me to believe that Toby is actually a good person, despite his behavior.

But the main strength of the film is Tobias Wolff's story line. For much of the film, there is an inexorable feeling of Toby marching to his ultimate doom, not unlike one of those novels of the Victorians like Thomas Hardy. There is a sense that, no matter what he ever does, Toby is destined to become a desperate adult, trapped in Concrete and probably slowly drinking himself to death after his shift is over at the local factory. The fact that Toby gets himself out of Concrete and away from his step-father, not to mention also saves his mother, is deeply hopeful.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DeNiro is fantastic and little Leo is good too! February 3, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"This Boy's Life" is based on the memoir of author Tobias Wolff. It is about a young teenage boy, Toby, and his recently divorced mother(Barkin) trying to find a new life for themselves in the Pacific Northwest of the 1950's. They bounce around from town to town, never putting down any roots, and Toby becomes more and more delinquent and uncontrollable. His mother, desperate for some security in her life and a controlling influence on Toby's life, marries a mechanic from the dreary town of Concrete by the name of Dwight (DiNiro). Dwight is a phony, bullying, louse and Toby recognizes it right off. The main part of the film chronicles Dwight's physical and mental abuse of Toby and Toby's dreams of escaping Concrete and Dwight.
This film was DOA in theaters when it premiered back in 1993. It was, however, fairly well-received by critics who especially took note of the performance of young newcomer Leonardo DiCaprio as Toby. I have even read a few critics state that DiCaprio upstaged DiNiro at every turn. That is laughable. Although DiCaprio is very good, DiNiro is fantastic. Dwight is one of his most memorable characters. At one moment Dwight can be all phony smiles and charm and the very next he is a dorky, but just as menacing, version of DiNiro's character from "Goodfellas"- Jimmy Conway. DiNiro's Dwight has a host of extremely memorable and sometimes highly amusing scenes: the Navy trick, the car ride, the candy hog, the Edsel, and, of course, Robert DiNiro in a Boy Scout's uniform.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful And Disturbing Film September 7, 2001
By Barry
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is about a mother and son, played by Ellen Barkin and Leonardo DiCaprio, who move in with the mother's new husband Dwight, played by Robert DeNiro, whose true colors come out after they move in. This is a serious and often disturbing film. Dwight and Tobey(DiCaprio)do not get along. This leads to a number of confrontations that are both verbal and physical. The physical fights are extremely unnerving. You have been warned. It is beautifully acted and written. DeNiro is very electrifying and larger than life. He is down right terrifying. DiCaprio is just as good. The guy can act. Ellen Barkin is good, but she is sort of a co-star and doesn't seem as important. The final climax is one hell of a memorable scene. It's almost worth the price of rental alone. See this movie. You'll be deeply satisfied.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real. Absolutely REAL. October 5, 2003
By Storm
Format:VHS Tape
I have always liked Leonardo DiCaprio. I think that his portrayal in the television show 'Growing Pains' was very heartfelt and brought a lot of depth to the show. Since the time that he first started there, I began to fall more and more deeply in love with his acting ability and his talent. There are, however, few of his movies until recently (Gangs of New York) that I could say I really enjoyed. This was one of those few. I tend to carry a copy of this movie around with me now in the hopes that I'll find a video player, that is how intense my feelings are for this particular movie. I have also read Tobias Wolff's autobiography on which this movie was based, and I have got to say that the movie outshines even the book! A rare thing indeed!
Never have I seen better acting than that which is performed by DiCaprio and De Niro in this particular movie. They are a stunning team, work brilliantly together, and truly bring the effect of the relationship between Jack (Tobias) and his step-father home to the audience. If this movie doesn't make you cry, nothing will! The film industry needs to put out more movies like this more regularly. Nothing can compare to a great movie with a lot of heart that shows, ultimately *reality*. "This Boy's Life" does just that where many, many others have failed. Brilliant acting by DiCaprio, De Niro and Barkin and outstanding directing make this one to own and to treasure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not nearly as good as the book. But can't resist loving the moving with little Leonardo DiCaprio!
Published 4 days ago by Lane Vanderford
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
the dvd was scratched in 4-5 places which interrupted veiwing
Published 1 month ago by janice k.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie
I love this movie! DiCaprio & Deniro play great roles. I watched it when it first played in theaters back in 93 and it's still one of my favorites.
Published 1 month ago by M. Pagan
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge fan of this movie!!!
One of the best films of all time!! A must see!!
Published 1 month ago by ZEE ZEE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Leo's best movie in my opinion!
Published 2 months ago by George S. Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars It spurred great conversation about how and why some women find...
My teen daughter (a huge Leo fan) and I watched this together. It spurred great conversation about how and why some women find themselves in abusive marriages. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Irvineswimmermom
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a good movie, but not really in HD
It is a good movie, but not really in HD. In fact, barely standard quality for a lot of it.
Published 2 months ago by Brian Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Leonardo has always been a favorite and I was glad to find this movie on dvd!
Published 2 months ago by Quiche
1.0 out of 5 stars My movie Skips
No not at all there are 2 places where this movie skips not happy what so ever
Published 3 months ago by taraleigh lentz
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Characters
I love this movie. Jacks mother was strong before she went into that relationship but needed stability for herself and her son. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Denise Neal
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