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Rain Man (Anniversary Edition) (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A greedy Los Angeles auto dealer finds out his estranged father left his fortune to an autistic-savant brother he didn't know he had and tries to gain custody of his brother as leverage to get the money he feels he is owed.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Rain Man is the 1988 film from Barry Levinson that tackled the tough, and, at the time, still little spoken of issue of autism. The derogatory term used to describe a character with the condition is no longer widely used today but is used several times in this film.

Tom Cruise stars as Charlie Babbitt, a California man who has a business, deeply in debt, importing super cars like Lamborghini and Ferrari for wealthy clients. When his estranged father dies, Charlie returns to Cincinnati, Ohio expecting to get a piece of his father’s $3 million fortune. Instead, Charlie gets nothing but his father’s prized rose bushes and the classic 1949 Buick Roadmaster that acted to create a wedge between him and his father.

Charlie finds out the bulk of the fortune is being held in trust for an anonymous party and he goes to investigate. The beneficiary turns out to be Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), the autistic older brother he did not know he had. The wheels immediately begin to turn in Charlie’s head, and he hatches a scheme to take custody of his brother, taking Raymond away from the medical facility and doctor who has been caring for him for decades. Charlie believes he can use Raymond as leverage to get the money out of the trust. What ensues is a road trip across the country for Charlie and Raymond (Raymond refuses to fly), which at first causes much distress for both men, but soon Charlie begins to understand who Raymond really is and develops a connection with him.

This is a road trip film that takes on issues of self-discovery, treatment of neurodivergent people, and generally the horrific behavior that simple greed can cause. Dustin Hoffman, who won the Best Actor Oscar (1989) for his role, is brilliant as the savant, while the treatment of the subject may not be as thoughtful as we are used to today. Levinson manages to insert some levity into what can be a weighty subject — Raymond wandering into the room as Charlie and his girlfriend Susanna (Valeria Golino) are in the middle of a particularly vocal lovemaking session is one scene that helps to break the tension and seriousness of the subject.  The film also won Best Picture (1989) and Best Director for Levinson.

  • Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)
  • Valeria Golino in Rain Man (1988)
  • Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)
  • Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)
  • Valeria Golino in Rain Man (1988)
  • Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)
  • Rain Man (MVD_MVD11000UHD)

The Video

MVD lists Rain Man as a “2023 4K Restoration (16-Bit Scan of the Original Camera Negative) approved by director Barry Levinson.” The film is presented on 4K Ultra HD in an HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement framed at 1.85:1. The included Blu-ray is also a “New HD (1080p) restoration of the main feature approved by director Barry Levinson.”

The 4K disc looks satisfying. Although I felt the present granularity at times looked a little harsh, it was never overwhelming, and the detail is sharp. The colors look good although flesh tones seemed at times to be just a little hot. Since I no longer have a previous Blu-ray or DVD release, I have to defer to Barry Levinson that this is how it should look. It has been many years – since 1988 – since I saw the film on the big screen. The Dolby Vison coding is subtle; there is no extreme brightening or ‘pop,’ but there is good nuance and a subtle richness added to the palette when comparing the flatter look of the Blu-ray. The scenes in Las Vegas standout the most with the dazzling neon lights and the colorful games in the casinos.

The Audio

The original audio mix for Rain Man was Dolby Stereo, but this release comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The original theatrical mix is not included, but French and Spanish dubs are included in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital mono respectively.

The sound mix is basic but in line with this sort of dialogue-driven film and the era. The channels are not very active but have a good balance of atmospherics while the front channels carry clear and punchy dialogue.

The Supplements

One can hardly argue against three audio commentaries, including one from the director himself, and one from each co-writer. Although there is nothing new added, this is still a fine collection for bonus features especially for those who have never owned this release.

Bonus Features:

  • Limited Edition Slipcover (First Pressing Only)
  • Audio Commentary by Director Barry Levinson
  • Audio Commentary by Barry Morrow
  • Audio Commentary by Writer Ronald Bass
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:16)

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • ‘The Journey of Rain Man’ Featurette (Upscaled 1080p; 00:22:09)
  • ‘Lifting the Fog” A Look at the Mysteries of Autism’ Featurette (Upscaled 1080p; 00:20:15)
  • Deleted Scene (upscaled 1080p; 00:02:13)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:16)

The Final Assessment

A classic from the late 1980s that still holds up well, contains brilliant performances, and delicate direction from Barry Levinson. This new 4K restoration presents the film looking arguably as good or better than it ever has.


Rain Man (Anniversary Edition) is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo June 13, 2023, by MVD


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: United Artists | The Guber-Peters Company | Star Partners II Ltd. | Mirage Enterprises | MVD Marquee Collection
  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Written By: Barry Morrow | Ron Bass
  • Run Time: 134 min.
  • Street Date: 13 June 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1006 nits
    • MaxFALL: 139 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: French DTS-HD MA 5.1 | Spanish Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A greedy Los Angeles auto dealer finds out his estranged father left his fortune to an autistic-savant brother he didn't know he had and tries to gain custody of his brother as leverage to get the money he feels he is owed. Rain Man (Anniversary Edition) (4K UHD Review)