Nobody's Fool (1994 film)

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Nobody's Fool
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Benton
Produced by Arlene Donovan
Scott Rudin
Written by Robert Benton
Based on Nobody's Fool 
by Richard Russo
Starring Paul Newman
Jessica Tandy
Melanie Griffith
Dylan Walsh
Bruce Willis
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography John Bailey
Edited by John Bloom
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (USA), Capella Films/Intl. (Intl)
Release dates
  • December 23, 1994 (1994-12-23)
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $39,491,975[1]

Nobody's Fool is a 1994 American comedy-drama film based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Richard Russo. It stars Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gene Saks, Josef Sommer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Philip Bosco. The film was written for the screen and directed by Robert Benton. It was Paramount's final production under Paramount Communications ownership and Jessica Tandy's final produced film before her death on September 11, 1994. It was released three months after her death.


Donald "Sully" Sullivan is a worn yet spry hustler living in the peaceful, snowy New York village of North Bath. He free-lances in the construction business, usually with his dim-witted young friend Rub by his side. He is often at odds with Carl Roebuck, a local contractor, while flirting with Carl's wife Toby openly at every opportunity (which she enjoys). He is a regular at the Iron Horse Saloon, the local tavern where he regularly has drinks and plays cards with his boss, lawyer and the town sheriff.

Sully is a tenant in the home of the elderly Miss Beryl, whose banker son Clive strongly urges her to kick the him out and sell the house. Family complications of his own develop for Sully with a visit from Peter, his estranged son who is at odds with his wife throughout the movie. While he & Sully reconstruct their relationship, Sully begins a new one with his young grandson Will. Peter’s sudden everyday presence does not sit well with Rub, but Sully tells him that although Peter is his son, Rub is still his best friend. Meanwhile, Clive is on the verge of a lucrative deal to build an amusement park in North Bath. However, the deal unexpectedly falls through and Clive quietly leaves town in shame.

After being jailed for punching a young police officer named Raymer who has been persecuting him, Sully's luck seems to be all bad. But in turn his son and grandson warm up to him, his fortune takes a turn for the better and even the lovely Toby expresses a willingness to leave Carl and run away with him to Hawaii. However, Sully realizes he can’t leave his grandson and thanks Toby for considering him. At the end of the film, Sully is pretty much back where he began, boarding at Miss Beryl's, but this time the picture of contentment.



Nobody's Fool was filmed in the Hudson Valley, New York towns of Beacon, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and Hudson. The setting for both the book and movie, North Bath, New York, is based on the city of Gloversville in Fulton County.


Box office[edit]

The movie debuted strongly.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Nobody's Fool was highly received by critics and maintains a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus, "It's solidly directed by Robert Benton and stacked with fine performances from an impressive cast, but above all, Nobody's Fool is a showcase for some of Paul Newman's best late-period work."[3]


Nobody's Fool was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Newman) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Paul Newman won the Silver Bear for Best Actor award at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival in 1995.[4]


  1. ^ "Nobody's Fool". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Holiday Spurs Record-Setting Movie Weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Nobody's Fool". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1995 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 

External links[edit]