It’s been 27 years since Barry Levinson brought us Rain Man. The film has become one of the most respected movies of the past 30 years. With some iconic images and scenes and some of the most oft quoted lines. Looking back, Rain Man is just as powerful today as it was 27 years ago. With the movie bringing autism to forefront of the American every man we know more today than ever before.
The movie is the story of a man named Charlie Babbit an LA business man with a car dealership quickly slipping through his fingers when he receives a call that his father, from whom he was estranged, has died. When he discovers that his father’s $3 million estate has been put in the trust of a assisted living home he soon discovers his brother of whom he had no knowledge. After realizing that his brother is the heir to his father’s fortune he in essence kidnaps his own brother in an attempt to get what he feels is his rightful half of the estate. As he takes his brother on a cross country trip back to Los Angeles he quickly learns of the difficulty involved in taking care of an autistic person. While it takes the whole trip, Charlie does begin to develop a relationship, all be it a limited one, with his brother. He soon learns of his brothers “talents” and attempts to cash in on them in non other than Las Vegas. With the truly most memorable scene of the two brothers in matching suits ride the escalator to the casino floor about to cash in big. When Charlie attempts to gain custody of his brother, he is hit with cold reality that he truly is inept at taking care of his brother and he let’s his brother go back to the home he has known for 23 years but is determined to maintain a relationship with his new found brother.
Rain Man turned out to be a high point in the careers of Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman and would be the belle of the ball at the Academy Awards that year earning best picture and best actor for Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman’s believability in the role of Raymond puts even Tom Hanks’ Oscar winning performance and often compared to role of Forrest Gump. Tom Cruise took on a very different role as the guy you had to and couldn’t help but hate through 3/4 of the movie.
Looking back the movie was the launching point for autistic awareness in this country. While it is a household term now it was unknown to the majority of the american public in 1988.
Tom Cruise has gone on to be the biggest star in the world and just as big of a tabloid hot topic. Dustin Hoffman went on to be one of the most respected actors in Hollywood and a true living legend. The two will forever be linked to one of the great jewels of a movie and maybe one of the greatest movies the 1980’s produced. As time goes on it will forever be respected and recognized for being a wonderful movie and what it did in bringing awareness.