Sleepers

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Barry Levinson, Steve Golin
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Levinson, Novel, Lorenzo Carcaterra
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Kevin Bacon, Billy Crudup, Robert De Niro, Minnie Driver, Ron Eldard, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Patric, and Brad Pitt

Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra, Thomas “Tommy” Marcano, Michael Sullivan, and John Reilly are four childhood friends (Joseph Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Brad Renfro, and Geoffrey Wigdor respectively) who grow up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City in the mid-1960s. During this time, the local priest, Father Bobby (Robert De Niro), plays a very important part in their lives and keeps an eye on them. However, early on they start running small errands for a local gangster, King Benny (Vittorio Gassman).

On a summer day in 1967, their lives take a sharp turn when they almost kill a man after pulling a prank on a hot dog vendor. As a punishment they are all four sentenced to serve time at the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York. There, the boys are systematically beaten, abused, and raped by guards Sean Nokes, Henry Addison, Adam Styler, and Ralph Ferguson (Kevin Bacon, Jeffrey Donovan, Lennie Loftin, and Terry Kinney respectively). These traumatic events change the boys and their friendship forever.

Fourteen years later, John and Tommy (Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup), now gangsters, come across Sean Nokes in a pub in Hell’s Kitchen. After making sure that Nokes knows who they are, they both shoot him. Mike (Brad Pitt), now an assistant District Attorney, arranges to be assigned to the case, secretly intending to lose it as a means of getting revenge. Moreover, he and Shakes (Jason Patric), begin to forge a plan to get their revenge on all the responsible guards. Together with many of their lifelong friends, especially Carol (Minnie Driver), a social worker, and King Benny, they manage to collect information on all the Wilkinson guards.

However, to clinch the case they need a key witness who can give John and Tommy an alibi. After a long talk with Father Bobby, including telling him about the awful events at Wilkinson, he agrees to lie on the stand about where John and Tommy were on the night of the shooting; the priest swears under oath that they were with him at Madison Square Garden at a Knicks basketball game. As a result, they are acquited.

Papillon

  • Directors: Franklin J Schaffner
  • Producers: Ted Richmond
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman

A man makes friends with a fellow in-mate while they are serving sentence on a notorious island prison and he plots his hellish escape.

The petty criminal known as Papillon is unjustly convicted of murder in the 1930s and sentenced to life improsonment in a French penitentiary on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. He tries several escapes which result in many punishments but after a decade he eventually succeeds.

Outbreak

  • Directors: Wolfgang Petersen
  • Producers: Arnold Kopelson, Anne Kopelson, Wolfgang Peterson, Gail Katz
  • Writers: Laurence Dworet, Robert Roy Pool
  • Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr, Patrick Dempsey, With Donald Sutherland, And Kevin Spacey

The Motaba virus is discovered in a mercenary camp in Africa in 1967 and kept top secret. Two soldiers order the camp bombed to cover up the discovery of the virus.

Thirty years later, the virus resurfaces in Africa. Col. Sam Daniels (Dustin Hoffman), a USAMRIID virologist is sent to investigate the Motaba case. He and his crew gain information about the virus and return to the United States where he asks his superior, General Ford (Morgan Freeman), to put out an alert for the virus. Ford, who knows the virus is not new, tells Daniels that it is unlikely to show up. Neither of them know that one of the host animals, a White-fronted Capuchin Monkey, has been illegally brought to the U.S. to be sold as a pet. Jimbo Scott (Patrick Dempsey) takes the monkey to Cedar Creek, California. On the trip, the monkey infects Jimbo with the virus.

Once Jimbo arrives at the pet store the owner tells him he got the wrong gender, but only after the monkey has infected him. Jimbo releases the monkey into the woods. Jimbo starts to show signs of infection on his plane trip to Boston, where he gets off the plane and kisses his girlfriend, infecting her. They are both hospitalized and Daniels’ ex-wife, Robby (Rene Russo), investigates the infection. Jimbo, his girlfriend and the pet store owner die from the virus. Robby investigates and concludes that everybody in Boston checked out all right.

On the way back they are confronted by McClintock (who also came by helicopter to prevent them from returning to Cedar Creek). Daniels has Salt fire a missile into the trees to trick McClintock with a decoy helicopter crash. Returning to Cedar Creek, Salt mixes the monkey’s antibodies with the E-1101 to create an anti-serum, in time to save Robby but not Casey. Daniels discovers Operation Clean Sweep is in progress; he and Salt take it upon themselves to fly in the way of the bomber to stop it. With support from Ford, Daniels is able stay in the way of the plane long enough to convince the pilot and his bombardier that information was withheld from them. The bombardier detonates the bomb over water instead of the town. Ford, having had enough of McClintock’s agenda, relieves him of command and places him under arrest for withholding information from the President. McClintock promises to take Ford down with him. Daniels makes up with his wife, and the remaining residents of the town are successfully cured.

Last Chance Harvey

  • Directors: Joel Hopkins
  • Producers: Tim Perell, Nicola Usborne
  • Writers: Joel Hopkins
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker, James Brolin

The film follows in parallel two lonely people: Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is an American commercial jingle writer, whose dream – long ago given up – was to be a jazz pianist, and whose unpalatable job is in jeopardy. Kate (Emma Thompson) is a single Londoner, cautious about romance after past disappointments, who works at a boring job collecting statistics at Heathrow Airport, and gets frequent calls from her neurotic mother and none from anybody else.

Harvey travels from New York to London for his daughter’s wedding, briefly encountering Kate and rather rudely refusing to fill her questionnaire. His daughter Susan (Liane Balaban) has a strained relationship with him, and when Harvey tells her that he will not be staying for the wedding reception because of work, she informs him that she has chosen to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle. He attends the ceremony, then attempts to return to New York but misses his plane, then learns at Heathrow that he is being fired from his job. Drowning his sorrows at an airport bar, he meets Kate, initiating a conversation, which leads to lunch and then they stroll alongside the River Thames. They grow close and she convinces him to attend the wedding reception. He agrees, but only if she’ll come with him.

At the reception, Harvey redeems himself with his daughter and Kate begins to fall for him. They walk and talk until sunrise and then make a date to meet again at noon. Harvey is unable to make the meeting, however, and must track Kate down later to try to make amends.

Midnight Cowboy

  • Directors: John Schlesinger
  • Producers: Jerome Hellman
  • Writers: James Leo Herlihy, Waldo Salt
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

The film follows the story of a young Texan named Joe Buck (Jon Voight), who works washing dishes in a diner. He wishes to leave the restaurant, declaring to a workmate, “What the hell have I got to sit around here for?” As the movie opens, Joe dresses himself like a rodeo cowboy, packs a suitcase, and quits his job. He heads to New York City in the hope of leading the life of a “kept” man. He tells people he meets, “I ain’t a for-real cowboy, but I am one hell of a stud!”

Joe’s naïveté becomes evident as quickly as his cash disappears upon his arrival in New York. He is hilariously, yet sadly, unsuccessful in his attempts to be hired as a “stud” for wealthy women. The naïve Joe meets the crippled Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), a third-rate con man who easily tricks Joe out of twenty dollars by offering to introduce him to a well-known pimp, who instead turns out to be a religious fanatic. Joe flees the scene in pursuit of Ratso, but he is long gone. As Joe’s money quickly runs out, he finally attempts to make money by sleeping with another man, but even this plan goes awry. (The novel does refer to previous homosexual activity by Joe, but explains that he’d pursued it more in hopes to please a male friend than out of desire.)

After Joe informs the bus driver, the driver tells him that there is nothing else to do, but leave him there until they arrive in Miami. The final scene is of a horrified Joe seated beside his dead friend, placing his arm around him, with several of the other passengers standing up and turning around in their seats to stare. He stares out the bus window and numbly watches row after row of palm trees go by.

The Tale of Despereaux

  • Directors: Sam Fell, Robert Stevenhagen
  • Producers: Gary Ross, Allison Thomas
  • Writers: Novel, Kate DiCamillo, Screenplay, Gary Ross, Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi
  • Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, Ciaran Hinds, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, William H Macy, Charles Shaughnessy, Stanley Tucci

The film opens with a ship sailing into the kingdom of Dor’s dock. Roscuro (a rat) (Dustin Hoffman), is aboard a ship with his human friend Pietro, sailing to the kingdom known for its soup on “Royal Soup Day”. “Royal Soup Day” in this area is held in higher regard than Christmas.

As they are taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the festivities, Roscuro is mesmerized by the smell of the huge pot of soup being prepared in the castle. He leaves his human companion in search of the aroma. Meanwhile, André (the royal head chef) (Kevin Kline), pressured into finishing the soup minutes before its presentation, sends out his staff, and argues with a sentient anthropomorphic “Soup Genie”, named Boldo, over the ingredients of the soup to be presented to the royal family. Roscuro’s search for the soup’s smell takes him to a chandelier directly over the royal soup bowl. Upon presentation of the soup to the queen and her subsequent first taste, Roscuro is overcome by the aroma, loses his grip, and falls into the queen’s soup bowl, causing her to have a heart attack, which led her to death.

Roscuro is horrified to see what he has done and tries to apologize but is chased through the castle, to which he sees Pietro’s ship leaving the dock with out him. Roscuro then falls down a grate into the castle dungeon, where he meets Botticelli (Ciaran Hinds), the leader of the Rat world. Botticelli dislikes Roscuro’s gentle ways and tries to force him to conform to the brutal nature of the other rats.

Mig is rescued by the jailer, who is revealed to be her father in an emotional turn of events. Roscuro is reunited with Pietro aboard the ship that brought him. The princess and the king decide to soothe their grief of losing the queen by relying on each other for love and support. And Despereaux is reunited with his family. Despereaux and the princess remain close friends and the little mouse continues his adventures.

All the President s Men

  • Directors: Alan J Pakula
  • Producers: Walter Coblenz
  • Writers: William Goldman, Based on book by, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein
  • Genres: Drama, History, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Jack Warden, Hal Holbrook, Jane Alexander, Martin Balsam

The book, also titled All the President’s Men, was adapted for the screen by William Goldman. The story chronicles the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein from their initial report on the Watergate break-in through to their revelation of the Nixon Administration’s corrupt campaign of sabotage against their political rivals. It relates the events behind the major stories the duo wrote for the Washington Post, naming some sources who had previously refused to be identified for their initial articles, notably Hugh Sloan. It also gives detailed accounts of Woodward’s secret meetings with his source ‘Deep Throat’ whose identity was kept secret for over 30 years. Only in 2005 was Deep Throat revealed to be former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt.

Kramer vs Kramer

  • Directors: Robert Benton
  • Producers: Richard Fischoff, Stanley R Jaffe
  • Writers: Avery Corman, Robert Benton
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), a workaholic advertising executive is just given his agency’s biggest new account. After spending the evening drinking with his boss, he returns home to find his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) in the process of leaving him.

Ted is left to raise their son Billy (Justin Henry) by himself. Ted and Billy resent each other as Ted no longer has time to carry his increased workload, and Billy misses the love and attention he received from his mother. After many months of unrest, Ted and Billy begin to cope with the situation and eventually grow to deeply love and care for one another.

Ted befriends his neighbor Margaret (Jane Alexander), who at the beginning had counseled Joanna to leave. Margaret is a fellow single parent and the two become kindred spirits. One day as the two sit in the park watching their children play, Billy falls off the jungle gym and severely cuts his face. Picking him up, Ted sprints several blocks through oncoming traffic to the hospital.

About a year after she walked out, Joanna returns to New York in order to claim Billy, and a custody battle ensues. During the custody hearing, both Ted and Joanna are unprepared for the brutal character assassinations that their lawyers unleash on the other. Eventually, the courts awards custody to Joanna.

The film also addresses the predisposition to awarding child custody to the mother.

Hook

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R Molen, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Bruce Cohen
  • Writers: Screenplay, James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo, Screen Story, James V Hart, Nick Castle, Characters, J M Barrie
  • Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott

Years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland and married Wendy Darling’s granddaughter Moira. As corporate lawyer Peter Banning, he has entirely forgotten his childhood as Peter Pan. He’s successful, but never has time for his wife Moira and children, Jack and Maggie. The family travels to London to visit Wendy, now very old and being honored for her work caring for orphans. Jack and Maggie are kidnapped by Captain Hook, who survived his run-in with the crocodile. Wendy tries to tell Peter of his past, but he does not believe her.

Tinker Bell visits Peter that night, taking him to Neverland. He wakes up among the pirates; then, observing Hook boasting of kidnapping Peter’s children to use as bait, Peter reveals himself. Hook is disgusted at his nemesis’ ineffectual condition. Hook’s henchman Smee concludes that being away from Neverland for so long has wiped his memory clean of the past. Hook is ready to have Peter and his children killed, but Tinker Bell convinces him into giving Peter three days to train for a duel. She takes Peter to the Lost Boys, led by Rufio, who initially do not believe he’s Peter Pan. Tinker Bell convinces them that he is Pan, and they re-train him. Peter is hampered by his inability to remember being a boy or how to fly. At the same time Hook decides to “teach” Peter’s children to love him as a means of demoralizing Peter when the day comes. Although Maggie does not fall for the ploy, the often-overlooked Jack listens, and with Hook cheering him on at a pirate baseball game (as his father had failed to do), he comes to accept Hook as a father figure.

With the help of Tinker Bell becoming human-sized and kissing him, Peter manages to find his flight-enabling “happy thought”: his love for Moira and becoming a father, the reasons he left Neverland. Peter leads the Lost Boys into battle with the pirates. Rufio takes on Hook while Peter rescues his son and daughter. Rufio dies, his last words telling Peter that he wishes he had a father like him. Jack is finally convinced that his father cares for him, and pleads to go home. Realizing that Hook will not stop and that he will return to threaten his family time and again, Peter resumes the duel. It ends when the giant crocodile falls down from his framework and swallows Hook. Peter passes on his sword and leadership to the biggest of the Lost Boys, Thud Butt, and flies back to London with his children. He awakens in his regular clothes at the famous statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and sees Tinker Bell one last time. He assures her that he still believes in fairies, and she leaves. He returns to his family, finally remembering who he is, and appreciating them all as he should.

Rain Man

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Peter Guber, Jon Peters, David McGiffert, Mark Johnson, Gerald R Molen
  • Writers: Screenplay, Barry Morrow, Ronald Bass, Story, Barry Morrow
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise), a Los Angeles car dealer in his mid-twenties, is in the middle of importing four grey market Lamborghinis. The deal is being threatened by the EPA, and if Charlie cannot meet its requirements he will lose a significant amount of money. After some quick subterfuge with an employee, Charlie leaves for a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Susanna.

Charlie’s trip is cancelled by news that his estranged father, Sanford Babbitt, has died. Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to settle the estate, where he learns an undisclosed trustee is inheriting $3 million on behalf of an unnamed beneficiary, while he is to receive a classic Buick Roadmaster convertible and several prize rose bushes. Eventually he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, and he discovers that it is the home of his autistic brother, Raymond (Hoffman).

Raymond is an autistic savant, with superb recall but little understanding of subject matter. He is frightened by change and adheres to strict routines (for example, his continual repetition of the “Who’s on First?” sketch). Except when he is in distress, he shows little emotional expression and avoids eye contact.

Numbed by learning that he has a brother and determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie takes Raymond on what becomes a cross-country trip back to Los Angeles to meet with his attorneys. He intends to start a custody battle in order to get Raymond’s doctor, Dr. Bruner (Molen), to settle out of court for half of Sanford Babbitt’s estate so that they can maintain custody of Raymond.

Eventually, Raymond is allowed to go back home to Cincinnati. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, tells him he’ll visit.