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HISTORY

       Screenwriter Barry Morrow was inspired to write Rain Man after meeting a savant named Kim Peek in 1984 at an Arlington, TX, meeting of the Association of Retarded Citizens, as noted in Peek’s 27 Dec 2009 NYT obituary. Although Peek was not autistic, Morrow wrote the character of “Raymond Babbitt” as an autistic-savant. Having met with Peek in preparation for the role, actor Dustin Hoffman incorporated many of Peek’s mannerisms into his performance, including “a shambling gait, peculiar hand movements and occasional blunt utterances.” An 11 Dec 1988 NYT article noted that Hoffman also visited with consultants from the Institute for Child Behavior Research in San Diego, CA, and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Neuropsychiatric Institute, as well as meeting with autistic people and their families.
       As stated in a 20 Apr 1988 Var item, production was originally scheduled to begin in late 1986, with Martin Brest attached to direct, and Tom Cruise slated to co-star with Hoffman. Noting that Brest was still on board as director, a 10 Mar 1987 DV news item reported that re-writes were being done on the “$20 million-plus” picture. One week later, a 17 May 1987 LAT brief stated that Michael Bortman had been hired to re-write the script and named Roger Birnbaum as producer; neither Bortman nor Birnbaum is credited onscreen in these capacities, although Birnbaum is among those receiving “Special Thanks” in onscreen acknowledgements. According to a 20 Apr 1988 Var item, Steven Spielberg was brought on to replace Brest and address “script problems,” but Sydney Pollack took over after Spielberg bowed out, as ... More Less

       Screenwriter Barry Morrow was inspired to write Rain Man after meeting a savant named Kim Peek in 1984 at an Arlington, TX, meeting of the Association of Retarded Citizens, as noted in Peek’s 27 Dec 2009 NYT obituary. Although Peek was not autistic, Morrow wrote the character of “Raymond Babbitt” as an autistic-savant. Having met with Peek in preparation for the role, actor Dustin Hoffman incorporated many of Peek’s mannerisms into his performance, including “a shambling gait, peculiar hand movements and occasional blunt utterances.” An 11 Dec 1988 NYT article noted that Hoffman also visited with consultants from the Institute for Child Behavior Research in San Diego, CA, and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Neuropsychiatric Institute, as well as meeting with autistic people and their families.
       As stated in a 20 Apr 1988 Var item, production was originally scheduled to begin in late 1986, with Martin Brest attached to direct, and Tom Cruise slated to co-star with Hoffman. Noting that Brest was still on board as director, a 10 Mar 1987 DV news item reported that re-writes were being done on the “$20 million-plus” picture. One week later, a 17 May 1987 LAT brief stated that Michael Bortman had been hired to re-write the script and named Roger Birnbaum as producer; neither Bortman nor Birnbaum is credited onscreen in these capacities, although Birnbaum is among those receiving “Special Thanks” in onscreen acknowledgements. According to a 20 Apr 1988 Var item, Steven Spielberg was brought on to replace Brest and address “script problems,” but Sydney Pollack took over after Spielberg bowed out, as announced in a 20 Nov 1987 LAT article. In early 1988, director Barry Levinson and producer Mark Johnson were offered the project, according to production notes in AMPAS library files. When Levinson and Johnson signed on, they had only nine weeks to prepare before production began.
       A 5 Jan 1989 LAHExam brief noted that screenplay credits were decided by a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration on the insistence of Barry Morrow. When Morrow first announced plans to submit the script for arbitration, screenwriter Ronald Bass, who was brought in to work on the project sometime after Morrow, rejected the idea and attempted to pay Morrow to take a story credit only. Morrow refused and was awarded sole story credit and co-screenplay credit along with Bass.
       Principal photography began 2 May 1988, as reported in 11 May 1988 Var production charts. The first four weeks of filming took place in Cincinnati, OH, and various locales in Kentucky and Indiana. Cincinatti locations included the Greater Cincinnati Airport, Evergreen Cemetery, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and Dixie Terminal. In Melbourne, KY, St. Anne’s Convent stood in for Wallbrook, the facility for developmentally disabled people where Raymond resides, and in Newport, KY, a restaurant scene was filmed at Pompilios Restaurant. The production moved to Oklahoma City, OK, for two weeks of shooting in the towns of Cogar, Hinton, Guthrie, and El Reno, then Las Vegas, NV, where three weeks of filming took place in various locations including the casino at Caesars Palace. The final days of shooting took place in Southern CA, with locations in Palm Springs, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles, where a “vintage World War II quonset hut” served as the location for “Charlie Babbitt’s” car business. Other Los Angeles locations included Wattles Mansion in Hollywood and San Pedro’s Terminal Island shipping dock.
       According to a 21 Feb 1989 DV item, MGM/UA ran an advertisement in Los Angeles and New York newspapers touting Rain Man as an Academy Award nominee on 15 Feb 1989, the same day the nominations were announced. The advertisement prompted speculation about an information leak, but Barry Lorie, MGM/UA’s senior vice president of marketing, claimed there was no such leak and apologized for preemptively running the ad.
       Rain Man won four Academy Awards for: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Director, and Writing (Screenplay Written Direcly for the Screen). Other Academy Award nominations included Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Music (Original Score). Both Hoffman and Morrow thanked Kim Peek in their Academy Award acceptance speeches, and Morrow later gave his Oscar statuette to Peek, who regularly brought the trophy with him to public appearances. The film also won the Golden Bear, the top prize at the West Berlin Film Festival, according to a 22 Feb 1989 LAT news item.
       A four-minute airport scene in which Raymond cites airline crash statistics while refusing to board a plane was edited out of the film by Sony-Trans Com Inc. for an in-flight version of the movie to be shown on fifteen airlines, as stated in a 29 Jun 1989 NYT item. Disapproving of the edit, Barry Levinson argued that the scene is key to understanding the story, which centers on the road trip prompted by Raymond’s fear of flight. However, Levinson did not have any authority over Sony-Trans Com Inc. and the in-flight edit was retained.
       Although a 27 Apr 1989 HR news brief reported that Rain Man had become the highest-grossing film in MGM/UA’s history with box-office earnings of $155.7 million, a 31 Aug 1992 HR item stated that the film had not yet turned a profit, and, in fact, had a net deficit of $30,037,692. To that time, the film’s cumulative gross receipts were $228,112,445, while distribution fees and expenses reported by United Artists had reached $133,980,099, with gross participations costing $77,549,632, and total production costs amounting to $45,870,506.
       According to a 27 Jun 1994 People news item, Barry Morrow was working with playwright Murray Schisgal on a sequel to the film; however, no such sequel has been produced as of the writing of this Note.

      End credits include the following statements: “The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of the following film commissions: The Ohio Film Bureau; The Kentucky Film Office; The Indiana Film Commission; The Oklahoma Film Office; The State of Nevada, Division of Motion Pictures; The California State Film Commission”; and, “Special thanks to: Roger Birnbaum; Caesars Palace; Ted Bafaloukos; Kim Peek; Major League Baseball; Ken Friedman; Peggy Siegal.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1987.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1988
p. 4, 17.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1992.
---
LAHExam
5 Jan 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1987
Calendar, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
20 Nov 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1988
Calendar, p.1.
Los Angeles Times
22 Feb 1989
Section J, p. 2D.
New York Times
11 Dec 1988
Section A, p. 1.
New York Times
16 Dec 1988
Section C, p. 12.
New York Times
29 Jun 1989
Section C, p. 21.
New York Times
27 Dec 2009
Section A, p. 30.
People
27 Jun 1994.
---
Variety
20 Apr 1988.
---
Variety
11 May 1988.
---
Variety
14 Dec 1988
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
United Artists Presents
A Guber-Peters Company Production
A Barry Levinson Film
in association with Star Partners II, Ltd.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Lighting tech
Best boy
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Addl ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set dresser
Prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus rec by
Mus rec by
Mus supv
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd des
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Foley eff
Foley eff
Spec sd processing
Asst sd des
ADR group coord
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
Voice-over actor
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Matte painting
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod accountant
Addl casting
Loc mgr
Post prod coord
Prod coord
Prod assoc
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Picture car coord
Video playback
Asst prod coord
First aid
Unit pub
Asst to Mr. Levinson
Asst to Mr. Hoffman
Asst to Mr. Cruise
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Consultant on autistic behavior
Institute for Child Behavior Research, San Diego, California
Consultant on autistic behavior
Brookside Medical Center, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Consultant on autistic behavior
Autism Services Center, Huntington, West Virginia
Consultant on autistic behavior
The Jay Nolan Center, Los Angeles, California
Consultant on autistic behavior
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles, California
Consultant on autistic behavior
Gracie Square Hospital, New York, New York
STAND INS
Mr. Hoffman's stand-in
SOURCES
SONGS
"Iko Iko," written by Rosa Lee Hawkins, Joe Jones, Barbara Hawkins, Sharon Jones, John Johnson, Marilyn Jones and Jessie Thomas, performed by The Belle Stars, courtesy of Stiff Records
"Scatterlings Of Africa," written by Johnny Clegg, performed by Johnny Clegg & Savuka, courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
"Please Leave Me Forever," written by Johnny Malone and Ollie Blanchard, performed by Tommy Edwards, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Iko Iko," written by Rosa Lee Hawkins, Joe Jones, Barbara Hawkins, Sharon Jones, John Johnson, Marilyn Jones and Jessie Thomas, performed by The Belle Stars, courtesy of Stiff Records
"Scatterlings Of Africa," written by Johnny Clegg, performed by Johnny Clegg & Savuka, courtesy of EMI Records Ltd.
"Please Leave Me Forever," written by Johnny Malone and Ollie Blanchard, performed by Tommy Edwards, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
"Lonely Avenue," written by Doc Pomus, performed by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
"Dry Bones," performed by The Delta Rhythm Boys, courtesy of RCA Records
"Beyond The Blue Horizon," written by Leo Robin, Richard A. Whiting and W. Franke Harling, performed by Lou Christie, courtesy of Three Brothers Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc.
"Stardust," written by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish, performed by Rob Wasserman with Aaron Neville, courtesy of MCA Records
"Lonely Women Make Good Lovers," written by Freddy Weller and Spooner Oldham, performed by Bob Luman, courtesy of CBS Records
"At Last," written by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon, performed by Etta James, courtesy of MCA Records
"Nathan Jones," written by Leonard Caston and Kathy Wakefield, performed by Bananarama, courtesy of London Records
"Wishful Thinking," written by Jocko Marcellino and Randy Handley, performed by Jocko Marcellino
"Lovin' Ain't So Hard," written by Jocko Marcellino, performed by Jocko Marcellino
"I Saw Her Standing There," written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 December 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1988
Production Date:
began 2 May 1988 in Cincinnati, OH
Melbourne and Newport, KY
IN
Oklahoma City, OK
Las Vegas, NV
and Southern CA
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®; Prints by de luxe®
Duration(in mins):
133
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29501
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Struggling to keep his specialty car dealership in business, Charlie Babbitt takes his fiancée and employee, Susanna, for a weekend getaway in Palm Springs, California. However, on the way there, Charlie learns that his father, Sanford Babbitt, has died, and he and Susanna travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the funeral. At his childhood home, Charlie shows Susanna his father’s 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible that he coveted as a child. He recalls a traumatic incident when, as a teenager, he took the car against his father’s wishes. His father reported the vehicle stolen and allowed Charlie to stay in jail for two days after he was arrested. Upon his release, Charlie left town and never spoke to his father again. Later that day, a lawyer reads Charlie a bitter letter from his father, who left him the Buick Roadmaster and some rose bushes, while the rest of his $3 million estate has gone into a trust for another beneficiary. The next day, Charlie goes to his father’s bank and learns that the beneficiary resides at Wallbrook, an institute for the mentally disabled. There, Charlie meets with Dr. Bruner, who refuses to disclose any information regarding the trust. Meanwhile, an autistic man named Raymond approaches Susanna as she waits outside in the Buick Roadmaster, informing her that he drove the car just last week. When Charlie returns, he orders Raymond to go away but stops short when Raymond describes the history of the car in detail. Realizing that he and Raymond share the same parents, Charlie demands an explanation from Dr. Bruner, who confirms that Raymond is Charlie’s brother and has lived at Wallbrook since he was eighteen years old, and ... +


Struggling to keep his specialty car dealership in business, Charlie Babbitt takes his fiancée and employee, Susanna, for a weekend getaway in Palm Springs, California. However, on the way there, Charlie learns that his father, Sanford Babbitt, has died, and he and Susanna travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the funeral. At his childhood home, Charlie shows Susanna his father’s 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible that he coveted as a child. He recalls a traumatic incident when, as a teenager, he took the car against his father’s wishes. His father reported the vehicle stolen and allowed Charlie to stay in jail for two days after he was arrested. Upon his release, Charlie left town and never spoke to his father again. Later that day, a lawyer reads Charlie a bitter letter from his father, who left him the Buick Roadmaster and some rose bushes, while the rest of his $3 million estate has gone into a trust for another beneficiary. The next day, Charlie goes to his father’s bank and learns that the beneficiary resides at Wallbrook, an institute for the mentally disabled. There, Charlie meets with Dr. Bruner, who refuses to disclose any information regarding the trust. Meanwhile, an autistic man named Raymond approaches Susanna as she waits outside in the Buick Roadmaster, informing her that he drove the car just last week. When Charlie returns, he orders Raymond to go away but stops short when Raymond describes the history of the car in detail. Realizing that he and Raymond share the same parents, Charlie demands an explanation from Dr. Bruner, who confirms that Raymond is Charlie’s brother and has lived at Wallbrook since he was eighteen years old, and Charlie was still a toddler. He says Raymond is a high-functioning autistic savant, who has trouble communicating and expressing his emotions in a traditional way. To avoid feeling terrified by life, Raymond has established routines and rituals that include daily viewing of the television programs, Jeopardy! and The People’s Court. Due to Raymond’s autism, and his inability to understand the concept of money, Bruner explains that he has control over the $3 million trust – a fact that Charlie finds maddening. In his room, Raymond nervously recites the Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on First?” while Charlie touches his books against his brother’s will. A caretaker named Vern explains that Raymond does not like his books to be touched, nor does he like to make physical contact with others. Although Jeopardy! will soon air, Charlie convinces Raymond to join him for a walk. Outside, he lets him know that their father has died and asks if he would like to visit the cemetery. Seeming confused, Raymond responds, “I don’t know.” Charlie tries to lure Raymond on a road trip by promising to take him to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game. Raymond agrees, but also says he is not supposed to be off the grounds for more than two hours. They leave Wallbrook and, later, check into a hotel. Raymond complains that his room looks different and demands to eat the same dinner he would have been served at the facility. Susanna argues with Charlie, who led her to believe that the trip was Dr. Bruner’s idea. Later that night, Raymond hears Susanna and Charlie having sex and wanders into their adjoining room. Charlie yells when he realizes his brother is sitting on the bed, then leads him back to his room, where Raymond uses a flashlight to read the phonebook in the dark. Susanna reprimands Charlie for being insensitive. Charlie then confesses that he plans to take Raymond back to his home in Los Angeles, and keep him until Bruner gives Charlie half his father’s estate. Disapproving, Susanna packs her things and leaves. The next day, Charlie and Raymond stop at a diner, where Raymond recognizes a waitress’s name from the phonebook and recites her phone number. Charlie realizes that Raymond memorized A-G in the phonebook overnight, then observes as his brother accurately counts 246 fallen toothpicks in a matter of seconds. That afternoon, as they are about to board a plane to Los Angeles, Raymond cites airplane crash statistics and refuses to board. When Charlie tries to force him, Raymond screams and beats his head until Charlie relents. They hit the road again in the Roadmaster, and the long trip to California is further slowed by Raymond’s quirks, including his refusal to go outside in the rain. Stopping in a small town one day, Charlie leaves his brother in the car to make a call and returns to find him gone. Meanwhile, Raymond has stopped in the middle of an intersection, misinterpreting a “Don’t Walk” sign, while cars honk at him. A man gets out of his car to push Raymond out of the way, but Charlie rushes to his aid. He takes Raymond to a doctor, who tests his intelligence by asking him to multiply large numbers and confirming the answers with a calculator. Based on his correct calcuations, Charlie determines that Raymond is a genius; however, when Raymond is asked to subtract simple dollar amounts, he is unable to apply math to real life situations. Over the next couple days, Charlie attempts to salvage his failing business over the phone and sets up a custody hearing for Raymond. The next time they check into a motel, Raymond mutters “Funny Rainman” and Charlie realizes that his childhood imaginary friend, “Rainman,” was actually his brother. Raymond produces a photograph of the two boys as children and recalls bidding Charlie goodbye as he left for Wallbrook. As Charlie draws a bath, Raymond beats his head and shouts, “Hot water burn baby,” prompting Charlie’s realization that his brother was sent away for nearly burning him in scalding water. The next day, Charlie buys Raymond a portable television and calls one of his salesman, Lenny, who informs him that his cars have been repossessed and the business owes $80,000 to customers. Desperate for money, Charlie trains Raymond to play blackjack and count cards, and takes him to a Las Vegas, Nevada, casino, where they quickly win $86,000. Charlie buys Raymond a date with a call girl and, at their lavish suite, teaches him how to dance in preparation for the date. Susanna shows up unexpectedly and reunites with Charlie. The three go down to the casino to meet Raymond’s call girl, but she does not show up. Taking Raymond back to the suite, Susanna dances with him in the elevator and teaches him how to kiss. The next day, Charlie lets Raymond drive outside the casino before they head to Los Angeles, where Raymond recites “Who’s on First?” as Charlie shows him around his home. Dr. Bruner arrives for the custody hearing, and offers Charlie a check for $250,000 to return Raymond back to his custody. However, Charlie refuses the check, claiming his priorities have changed and he wants to take care of his brother himself. As Charlie sleeps one morning, Raymond leaves a toaster on until smoke from the appliance sets off an alarm. Charlie wakes up to the sound of Raymond’s panic attack and rushes to stop the alarm. Later, as Raymond is interviewed by a psychologist for the custody hearing, he reveals that Charlie brought him to Las Vegas to gamble and allowed him to drive. When the psychologist asks Raymond where he wants to live, he simultaneously opts to stay with Charlie and return to Wallbrook. Realizing his brother needs more care than he can provide, Charlie allows Raymond to go back with Dr. Bruner, but promises to visit in two weeks. As they say goodbye at the train station, Raymond mentions the secret code he and Charlie used for betting on blackjack, then disappears onto the train. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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