Tucker: The Man and His Dream Movie Poster Image

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Smoke-filled, rousing dramedy about corruption.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Someone calls a Japanese man a "Jap" and the way characters use the phrase "New Yorker," it's clear it's a stand-in for "Jew." Characters demean women, calling Vera "the little woman." Reference to Abe having served a prison sentence.


A car rolls with someone in it (no injuries). Preston shows photos of people killed in car accidents. A woman faints. A fire starts under a car.


Preston and Vera kiss and later make out on a bed (clothes on).


Some swearing, most notably several uses of the words "damn" and "hell." Also used: "goddammit," "bastards," "son of a bitch," "prick," and "ass."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Most characters smoke constantly, including Tucker and Vera. Men smoke cigars. Characters drink martinis and champagne. Tucker and other men drink liquor from a bottle.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while this movie is set in the 1940s and 1950s, there's considerable drinking, smoking, and swearing. There's also some kissing. Expect discrimination typical of the era: Abe calls Preston's partner a "Jap," and Preston says Jimmy's family is all in a relocation camp. Characters also use the phrase "New Yorker" to mean "Jewish" when speaking of Abe. And Bennington calls Vera "the little woman" in a belittling way. Also, some images of people killed in car accidents and bloodied may be too much for younger or more sensitive viewers.

Kids say

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What's the story?

TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM chronicles the struggles of ahead-of-his-time inventor Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges), who finds inspiration from a poll stating that 87 percent of people coming back from World War II want a new car. Behold the Tucker: A car with all kinds of bells and whistles that didn't exist at that time, including fuel injection, seatbelts, disc brakes, and roll bars. And he'll even make it look like a jet and put the engine in the rear. He could make a bundle! Tucker's dream has a chance to become a reality when he gets a friend to write an article extolling the virtues of a car he's not yet manufactured and gains the business sense of Abe Karatz (Martin Landau). But when faced with the corruption of elected officials and a board of directors bent on tabling all his innovative ideas, what will happen to his invention? The answer may surprise you.

Is it any good?


This film could have been one long, self-righteous screed against corporations, a la An Unreasonable Man, but fortunately it's directed by legendary Francis Ford Coppola. He makes his characters loveable, charming, even impish, and makes the telling of the story as important as the point it has to make.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the kind of work it takes to pursue a dream. Was Tucker a dreamer, a businessman, or an inventor? He did research, he worked with engineers, and he was a great salesman. Do you have to be all those things to start a new company? Do you have to lie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 12, 1988
DVD/Streaming release date:October 24, 2000
Cast:Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau
Director:Francis Ford Coppola
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Topics:Cars and trucks, History
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Tucker: The Man and His Dream was written by

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Parent of a 13 year old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012

This movie has style

Every decade has a style. The 1940's after the war had a very slick style. This movie has plenty of this slick style. The music is some of the best swing and the camera work and some of the way shots are framed is excellent. You can't look past the acting either. Everybody plays their part to the fullest and there is a wonderful cameo by the late Lloyd Bridges as a dirty politician. If you like cars, see this movie. If you like the 40's, see this movie. If you like good movies, see this movie. This is one of the most underrated movies in the last 25 years.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking