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True Believer [DVD] [2001]

James Woods , Robert Downey Jr. , Joseph Ruben    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £21.95
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Product details

  • Actors: James Woods, Robert Downey Jr., Margaret Colin, Yuji Okumoto, Kurtwood Smith
  • Directors: Joseph Ruben
  • Writers: Wesley Strick
  • Producers: Lawrence Lasker, Patrick Crowley, Peter Rosten, Walter F. Parkes
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Hindi, Turkish, Danish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian
  • Dubbed: French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 14 May 2001
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005956O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,981 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



True Believer is an effective mystery by thrillmeister director Joseph Ruben (Sleeping with the Enemy), that allows star James Woods to do some real acting as he conveys his character's denial and sense of disappointment in himself. Eddie Dodd (Woods) is a former '60s radical lawyer who now spends his time cynically defending drug dealers for the big bucks. But an idealistic young protégé (Robert Downey Jr.) convinces him to take one case from the heart: a young Chinese immigrant unjustly accused in a gang slaying. Woods (complete with add-on ponytail) fairly hums with energy once he gets cooking here. Playing the been-there-done-that mentor--not to mention legal gadfly--gives him plenty of opportunity to run off at the mouth with spicy one-liners and zingers. --Marshall Fine,

Product Description

A spellbinding murder mystery in which a routine case of murder becomes a deadly odyssey for James Woods, a lawyer torn between justice and the law. Robert Downey, Jr. also stars as an idealistic recent law school graduate who journeys to New York to work as a clerk for his idol, Woods, whose inventive tactics in civil rights cases in 1960s and 70s made him one of the country's most respected attorneys.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 23 Nov 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is James Woods at his best. Never known to play against type, here Woods puts in a blistering performance as a cynical, burnt-out criminal defence lawyer, once a darling of the civil liberties camp, but now an amoral hack defending drug-dealing scumbags and other skells that no-one else will touch.
For reasons that are never made totally clear - something to do with the arrival from the DA's office of newly-qualified lawyer Robert Downey Jr, who is attached to him as a sort of apprentice - he elects to dig up an old case and try to overturn the watertight conviction of a Korean youth, convicted of murdering a drug dealer in plain view of about six thousand witnesses. The pair of them burrow and ferret away, re-interviewing old witnesses and case officers and gumshoeing around until...
I won't give any more of the plot away here. It doesn't sound any different, the way I've described it, to dozens of other legal procedurals, and in most ways it isn't. But what sets it apart is Woods' performance. The man has screen-presence in bucketloads and by half-way through has you sitting on the edge of your seat, willing him to succeed. At the end I felt I'd seen a top-notch thriller, and really that's all that matters where films like this are concerned. Next to him, Downey (who everyone seems to swoon over as the greatest screen actor since Hurd Hatfield) is as a feather on the breath of God. But then, when Woods is on form, so is everyone else (except Brian Dennehy - see "Best Seller").
Stay in and watch it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good 26 Jan 2013
By luca t
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
James Woods he is a nut case
I like him cause of that

in a dramatic movie
he is funny
and add good humor
It is a must see movie, if you like James Woods
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a good defense you will rot in the can 25 Nov 2008
One more film about the corruption that is killing the NYPD and the District Attorney in that area. Then it is all a question of details. Gritty details. When you are working on a big business like the Colombian connection, you need informers and of course these have a price and that price is simple, total and absolute protection and impunity in their everyday criminal life. In this very particular case there seemed to be some kind of family business that made the informer nervous and he had to kill some kind of boyfriend of his daughter or something and then cover up his crime by having the police arrest and have an other man accused, as long as he was not a Caucasian nor someone from his own band or gang and that's how a Korean was dragged into prison and stayed there eight years. But the film is nothing so far. The point is how the defense attorney is going to get the truth out and his client out of the can. He has to force a couple of people into saying what has to be said and then he can trap the district attorney into revealing that the Korean was just the price to pay for the information about the Colombian connection. A pay off. Then the film is finished and we can go home and rest on our beds with no fear. The most rotten police force and prosecuting branch of justice are watching over us and assessing who they are going to drag down into their nets to pay off some criminal for the little information he has provided them with about some cosmic scandal or surrealistic plot. That's when we regret not to be able to hitchhike our way out of this galaxy to go under another sun on another planet to sun our bones in peace and security. But that is certainly not in our beautiful cities. Enjoy the film, the stunts are great though the stuntmen are a little bit passive.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A good fight is one y'win!" 7 April 2005
By Far Lefkas - Published on
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James Woods is erstwhile civil liberties attorney Eddie Dodd, his idealism long since forsaken for 4th Amendment violation-under-every-bed cynicism, & Rbt. Downey, Jr., is his summer intern (well, autumn intern) Roger Barron. Woods character based loosely on Frisco criminal def. lawyer J. Tony Serra.

Dodd's conscience-bending guilt submits to Roger's yuppie charm, & the two pursue the mysteries of why a young Korean gang member is serving time for murder & now's offed a member of some supremacist cult in prison. Woods's Dodd is light years beyond over the top with this, but an excellent supporting cast (Downey, Jr., [" we can get off guilty little pricks!"], Margaret Colin, Miguel Hernandez, & "70s Show"'s Kurtwood Smith as a D.A. with a closet full of diced-up skeletons) & brisk dialog make him seem right @home there. To the paranoid, conspiracy-soaked veteran & witness to the original crime: "Cecil, are you what heroes are made of?" Cecil: "I did two tours in 'Nam."

If you can get past the new twist on the climactic courtroom scene & the veritable litany of continuity issues here, "True Believer" is one of the most watchable flicks I've seen---meaning, I can sit thru the whole thing without once hitting the pause button or pondering my full bladder.

The great scene in Eddie's kitchenette (with the de rigueur Chinese food) is especially instructive. When Downey, Jr.'s, Roger spouts armchair activist rhetoric ("We all think it's a good fight."), Woods's Dodd lets loose with a tirade against bleeding-heart do-goodism that would make Bill O'Reilly cringe.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all James Woods junkies! 31 July 2001
By AynRandLives - Published on
As a lawyer who has been both prosecutor and public defender, I have to say this is my favorite movie about lawyers and my favorite James Woods performance. I get goosebumps every time I hear his speech about ..."the only good fight is one you win!", said with the passion and spite that only James Woods has perfected. His comment on plea bargaining, that "..this isn't ... Yale, he [the client] doesn't care if we go down but go down nobly. He's looking at 40 years of hard time, and he bet it all on me!" James Woods looks good with a pony tail, and the opening scene where his new intern, played by Robert Downey, Jr., mistakes him for the cocaine dealer is hilarious. So is the scene where Downey tells Woods he is quitting because he is "tired of using exalted legal principles to get off guilty little pricks". (I bet Downey was glad for those exalted legal principles in his own case.) I have to disagree with the comment that this movie realistically portrays the "insidious relationship between police, district attorneys and their snitches". I wholeheartedly doubt that the frame at the heart of this movie is routine anywhere in the United States. But the movie does say something meaningful about the tragedy that happens when good people with good motives go too far. I knew this movie was a touchstone when someone used Downey's line on me during a job interview where I was seeking to hire an assistant district attorney. He didn't get the job, but I haven't forgotten him-and you won't forget this movie.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True believer 1 Nov 2001
By M. Hirschi - Published on
another of those non-mainstream James Woods movies that turns out to be the one you remember forever. I honestly don't know how Woods can get so much emotion into a character.
This is probably his greatest work (with Diggstown right there) and you will be able to experience his characters Frustration, pain, and relief right along side him. A touch of humor to lighten but mostly the best dramatic court scenes and flat out grit will have you recommending this to strangers on the street.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Woods at his best 3 Dec 2009
By Neal J. Bernard - Published on
Great movie. James Woods doing his best acting. If you like a great courtroom drama with twists after twists, then movie is for you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Legal Thriller! 11 April 2007
By Anony Mous - Published on
Verified Purchase
This movie is by far among the greatest legal thrillers I've seen, not only because the writing and directing are superb, but James Woods' acting performance is nothing short of spectacular. The variations he projects in his character expressions--with so many subtle nuances--make him 100% believable and fetching as that character. And when his sense of right is piqued, he explodes in the most compelling, absorbing, credible way--one which just pulls you another foot deeper into the story, kind of the way quicksand pulls you in: you just can't get out, nor do you want to.

In this story, the Woods character is fighting not only for an innocent man's life, a prisoner doing time, but even more important, he's fighting for his own life--his sense of self-respect, honor, and decency, none of which he feels in his earlier law practice while defending and acquitting sleazeballs whom he knows should be in prison instead wrecking society with their crimes.

I watched this movie a second time the night after I watched it the first time and got even more out of it. Buy it and keep it. It's far batter than most of the John Grisham legal thriller movies.

No question about it: James Woods is one of the most underrated actors today. He performed almost equally as well in "Indightment" the McMartin child abuse case.

I've omitted talking about the plot because you can obtain that from many of the below reviewers.
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