True Believer (1989 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Ruben|
|Produced by||Lawrence Lasker
Walter F. Parkes
|Written by||Wesley Strick|
|Music by||Brad Fiedel|
|Cinematography||John W. Lindley|
|Edited by||George Bowers|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$8.7 million|
True Believer (also released as Fighting Justice) is a 1989 American courtroom drama written by Wesley Strick, directed by Joseph Ruben, and starring James Woods, Robert Downey, Jr., Yuji Okumoto, Margaret Colin, and Kurtwood Smith.
The film is loosely based on an investigative series of articles written by Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist K. W. Lee on the conviction of immigrant Chol Soo Lee for a 1973 San Francisco Chinatown gangland murder. The news coverage led to a new trial, eventual acquittal and release of the prisoner from San Quentin's Death Row. Screenwriter Wesley Strick based the character of Eddie Dodd on real-life Bay Area defense attorney Tony Serra.
Eddie Dodd is a burnt-out attorney who has left behind civil rights work to defend drug dealers. Roger Baron is an idealistic young legal clerk, fresh out of law school, who encourages Dodd to take on the case of Shu Kai Kim, a young Korean man who was imprisoned for a gang-related murder and has now killed a fellow inmate. Kim's mother believes her son was wrongfully accused in the gang-related murder. Dodd and Baron's investigation leads to a conspiracy among the district attorney, a police informant, and several police officers.
- James Woods as Eddie Dodd
- Robert Downey Jr. as Roger Baron
- Yuji Okumoto as Shu Kai Kim
- Margaret Colin as Kitty Greer
- Kurtwood Smith as Robert Reynard
- Tom Bower as Cecil Skell
- Charles Hallahan as Vincent Dennehy
- Miguel Fernandes as Art Esparza
- Sully Diaz as Maraquilla Esparza
- Luis Guzman as Ortega
- Joel Polis as Dean Rabin
- Kurt Fuller as George Ballistics
- Graham Beckel as Sklaroff
- John Snyder as Chuckie Loeder
At the time of True Believer's release, K.W. Lee told the Charleston Gazette he enjoyed the film “as fiction...but it was not a true picture. They have completely preempted the struggle of Asians.”
- "TRUE BELIEVER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1989-03-14. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- True Believer at Box Office Mojo Retrieved July 19, 2012
- Roger Ebert (1989-02-17). "Movie reviews: True Believer". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "'21' not the first film to whitewash our history". Asianweek. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Rohter, Larry. "Movies: About True Believer". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.