Rumble Fish

1983, Drama, 1h 34m

36 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Rumble Fish frustrates even as it intrigues, but director Francis Ford Coppola's strong visual style helps compensate for a certain narrative stasis. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Disaffected and restless, Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is spoiling for a fight. Abandoned by his mother and living with his alcoholic father (Dennis Hopper), he hangs out with his girlfriend, Patty (Diane Lane), and his similarly aimless friends Midget (Larry Fishburne), Smokey (Nicolas Cage) and B.J. Jackson (Christopher Penn). When his brother, the Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), returns to town, Rusty hopes to gain guidance and wisdom from someone most people think is crazy.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Rumble Fish

Audience Reviews for Rumble Fish

  • May 27, 2021
    A deeply flawed masterpiece.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2013
    I forgot about this one, and it is worth seeing if you haven't already. As a long time percussionist and fan of the brilliant work of Stewart Copeland, his score alone kept me engaged. Then again, you have the great Dennis Hopper as the drunken father, pre-plastic surgery Mickey Rourke as the former rumble leader called "Motorcycle Boy", and Matt Dillon as his younger brother who attempts to slip into that role while waiting for his return. Throw Diane Lane in there as Rusty James's(Dillon) girlfriend in crime and his friends portrayed by Chris Penn and another pre-plastic surgery actor by the name of Nicolas Cage, and things may get ugly amongst the black and white film where only the rumble fish show their color.
    Eric S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    The Motorcycle Boy: If you're going to lead people, you have to have somewhere to go.  "No leader can survive becoming a legend." Since first watching Rumble Fish, it has grown and grown on me. Initially I liked it, but thought it was lesser Coppola, not nearly as bad as Jack, but not even as good as one of his more average movies, Tetro. The more I have thought about it, the more I have really started to like the film. I love these brother movies, where the younger brother tries to be the older brother, but can't. There is so much truth in them and this one one is extremely well done. The movie opens with Rusty James being told that another street punk wants to kill him and challenged him to fight. We then learn through conversations with his friends that Rusty's brother has been gone for awhile. His brother is a legend on the streets; he is The Motorcycle Boy. When Rusty James and his gang go to the fight, The Motorcycle Boy shows up too and the two brothers start hanging out again. From there, there isn't too much plot. It is all about the brothers and what it means to be a leader and shit like that. The Motorcycle Boy is such an awesome character. He is played by Mickey Rourke and I don't think there was an actor better suited to play him. The character is like James Dean's from Rebel Without a Cause reincarnated. The guy is tough, but he is also soft spoken. He is color blind and doesn't hear all that well. He looks old for his age, probably from all the partying and fighting. The Motorcycle Boy is a leader and a smart, philosophical brother to  Rusty James and all Rusty wants his to be like his brother when he grows up.  Maybe it isn't The Godfather or Apocalypse Now, but I still think this shows off just how good Coppola is. It shows how flexible he is as a filmmaker and further proves his immense talent. There is only one thing that hurt the movie and that was knowing the ending way too early. Not that we were told of it, but that it was too obvious. It was the only way it could end. Still a beautiful film from Francis Ford Coppola.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2011
    Very faithful adaptation of S.E. Hinton novel of the same name. Great cinematography. Interesting performance from M. Rourke. Coppola's best film outside of the 70's, along with <i>The Outsiders</i>.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer

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