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Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 5

Though it may not be as comprehensive as some would like, Francis Ford Coppola's cheerful biopic of the failed automotive designer features sparkling direction and a strong central performance from Jeff Bridges.

75

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 2

Though it may not be as comprehensive as some would like, Francis Ford Coppola's cheerful biopic of the failed automotive designer features sparkling direction and a strong central performance from Jeff Bridges.

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 7,733

My Rating

Movie Info

History tells us that would-be automobile mogul Preston Tucker was a silver-tongued con man, who misappropriated his investors' money and played fast and loose with ethics and legalities in the pursuit of his dream. Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola isn't buying this: to hear Coppola tell it, Tucker was "Mr. Smith Goes to Detroit," a sincere visionary who tried and failed to buck the Big Three auto manufacturers. Moreover, he was a staunch defender of family values, as witness his inseparable

PG,

Drama

Oct 24, 2000

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (5) | DVD (10)

The true story of a great American visionary who was thwarted, if not destroyed, by the established order, Tucker represents the sunniest imaginable telling of an at least partly tragic episode in recent history.

December 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is a film consistent narratively, confident stylistically and abounce with the quaint quality that animated both the hero and his times, something we used to call pep.

December 12, 2007 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Francis Coppola's stylish and heartfelt tribute to the innovative automobile designer Preston Thomas Tucker turns out to be one of his most personal and successful movies.

December 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cinematic sleight-of-hand parallels the bombast of its hero, but you never get a glimpse of either visionary.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Coppola has done things this fancily before, but never with so clear and moving a sense of purpose.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tucker came up with a classic, but poor Coppola has turned a great American tragedy into a gas-guzzling human comedy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smoke-filled, rousing dramedy about corruption.

December 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A revealing and heartfelt biopic.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Fluent, brave and touching.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Underrated film focuses on fascinating story of real car maker, played well by Jeff Bridges.

February 21, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

a movie for people who love World's Fairs

June 15, 2007

If 12-year old boys had money, Tucker would have made a million overnight

November 28, 2006 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Coppola fills Tucker with some flawlessly executed scene transitions that will startle even the most jaded audience.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

One of Francis Ford Coppola's great movies that slipped through the cracks in the late 80's.

July 14, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

Celebrates the indomitable spirit of entrepreneurs whose dreams can be dashed but never taken away from them.

July 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

A cheerful and light approach to potentially heavy material.

April 29, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Seems George Lucas can't make anything great out of Tatooinie

September 17, 2002
Moviehole

Still Coppola's best film since Apocalypse Now. It has an enthusiasm that much of his post-1970's work has lacked.

July 25, 2002
Matinee Magazine

There's plenty to recommend it. But it's also a partially wasted opportunity, as this good film could have been a great one.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Bridges' riviting performance should keep the rest of you glued to your set and longing for one of his rocketship cars.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Tucker. Never heard of him till I stumbled upon this movie (which was just yesterday). Or should I say that I'd never heard of this movie till y'day??!!! (Take your pick from the one that sounds more appealing.) Maybe because the movie didn't have any moment that lingers in your mind for long. Everyone have put in their sincere effort at every level, but not exceptional. The fact that it's based on real life person who struggled hard for success (and whose life story could have been more inspiring) doesn't help it any because it has a feel of "been there, seen it all". As much as I applaud his efforts to realize his dreams, I still gotta admit that the movie was a plain mediocre which doesn't incline me the least to learn more about him or check out how much historically correct the movie was (which happens more often than not for such movies).


PS: I know some might feel that it's not fair to consider a movie mediocre just because it's presented without much dramatization, but that's how the score stands for me. Can't fight fact!!!
November 20, 2011
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

Uhh, it's not bad? I like the 50s clothes and references, but Coppola always makes his films so unnecessarily heavy, even when they're not supposed to be.
June 18, 2009
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

Coppola's tribute to Preston Tucker, inventor and loose cannon, is an enjoyable biopic with some messages relevant even today. While the story takes the most optimistic view of the emergence of the Tucker automobile, it's appropriate, since Tucker himself was one of those irrepressible optimists.

Jeff Bridges is fascinating as Tucker, and you can't help catch the fever and root for him, and his car. There's a number of good acting turns in this film, including a bizarre appearance by Dean Stockwell as Howard Hughes.

Coppola nicely reproduces the atmosphere and media frenzy of the time, as well as an interesting courtroom scene. The film clips right along, and you get an interesting view of the power of the established US car companies (how far they've fallen since then!) after the Second World War.

Some liberties were taken with the historicity to fit the screenplay, but overall, it captures the essence of who Tucker was, and what his cause faced. The film wasn't a commercial success, but it's worth your time because of the interesting subject matter, and a great 'underdog' story.

Recommended.
September 3, 2010
Rostron2
Mark K

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Tucker : L'homme et son rêve (FR)
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