Hero (1992 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Frears
Produced by Laura Ziskin
Written by Laura Ziskin
Alvin Sargent
David Webb Peoples
Starring Dustin Hoffman
Geena Davis
Andy García
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography Oliver Stapleton
Edited by Mick Audsley
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • October 2, 1992 (1992-10-02)
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $42 million
Box office $66.5 million

Hero (released in the UK and Ireland as Accidental Hero) is a 1992 comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy García, Joan Cusack and an uncredited Chevy Chase. It was released in the United States on October 2, 1992.


Bernie LaPlante (Dustin Hoffman) is a pickpocket and petty criminal who anonymously rescues survivors of a plane crash, losing a shoe in the process. He later meets a homeless Vietnam veteran, John Bubber (Andy Garcia), and gives him his remaining shoe. The media cry out for the hero to come forward, and when Bernie can't, due to incarceration, John uses the single shoe to take credit for the act. Bernie tries to tell people that John is a fake, but the media has sensationalized the heroic Bubber, and everyone wants to believe in him rather than Bernie.

TV reporter Gale Gayley (Geena Davis), one of the crash survivors, considers herself to be in John's debt and soon grooms his public image. She finds herself falling in love with him even though she has questions about his authenticity, and he finds himself in an ethical dilemma since his lies are inspirational to countless people. Meanwhile, Bernie continues to aggravate ex-wife Evelyn and fails to bond with his son, who is now enamored with the "hero" John Bubber. Bernie begins to feel that if his son is going to idolize anyone, perhaps John is the better choice.

A detective tells Gale her credit cards were recovered (although she originally said they burned at the crash site). They were accidentally stolen by Bernie, drawing accusations that he might be attempting to blackmail John. Gale and her cameraman, Chucky, break into Bernie's apartment with the help of the landlord, Winston. While searching for evidence to incarcerate Bernie, Gale finds a stolen Silver Mic Award that she won in New York City the night before the crash. Bernie arrives only to be confronted by Gale and an argument ensues. They are interrupted by Winston, who says Bubber is about to jump from a high-rise skyscraper as seen on television. Gale rushes there and brings Bernie along, threatening to have Bernie prosecuted if Bubber leaps to his death. In addition, she demands Bernie apologize for the attempted blackmail.

When they arrive, Bernie goes out on the ledge, hatching a scheme to milk the media attention for all its worth. Ultimately he and Bubber agree that the world needs a hero. Bernie pretends that he is going to commit suicide, and John pulls him up to safety, a hero once more. When she sees Bernie's face with dirt on it, as on the night of the crash, Gale realizes it was Bernie who saved her. She asks him directly but Bernie insists that John was the hero. As she leaves, however, she thanks him for saving her life and Bernie replies, "You're welcome." Gale tells him to tell his son the truth. Bubber agrees to continue playing the part of public hero. Bernie decides to tell his son the true story of the crash while at the zoo. After he does so, a lady cries out that her daughter has fallen into the lion's cage. Bernie's son looks at him with expectant eyes, to which he sighs, slips off his shoes, and heads off to see what he can do.



Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) is a film on a similar theme by Preston Sturges. Many reviewers referred to the obvious similarities between Hero and Sturges' screwball comedy works.


The film was met with generally mixed to positive reviews, as Hero currently holds a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews.[1] Hero was not a box office success; Columbia lost $25.6 million on the film.[2]

American Film Institute recognition:

Home media[edit]

The film debuted at No. 3 in home media market.[4] Hero was released on VHS on April 15, 1993. Another version presented in widescreen was also released on VHS. The DVD was also released on May 25, 1999 and was later re-released in 2004 by Sony Pictures. Special features for the 1999 DVD only included liner notes and theatrical trailers. The DVD was also a flipper disc and was presented in widescreen (side A) and full-screen (side B). The only special feature for the 2004 DVD included theatrical trailers and was only presented in full-screen. Mill Creek Entertainment had recently picked up the DVD distribution rights for the film. The DVD was re-released in 2012 (20 years after the film was released). Unlike the first two DVD releases by Sony, this DVD includes no special features and is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Griffin, Nancy and Masters, Kim (1996). "Hit and Run" (pp. 345). New York: Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster company.
  3. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
  4. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1993-05-14). "National Video Rentals : Star Power Pushes 'Hero' Up Chart". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 

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