Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Rain Man (1988)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Rain Man (1988)

In Barry Levinson's Best Picture-winning road-drama - a bittersweet comedy-drama regarding the strained relationship between two brothers: an idiot savant autistic and a selfish wheeler-dealer and hustler:

  • the opening sequence - illustrating the hustling nature of a slick, ambitious, hotshot, money-making, specialty car-dealing salesman Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) in Los Angeles, who used deceit in order to carry out a sales transaction for four collectible cars - imported Lamborghinis
  • Charlie's wordless drive to Palm Springs for a weekend with his co-worker girlfriend Susanna (Valeria Golino) - she begged for him to not be so closed off: "Can you include me in some of your thoughts?" - revealing that Charlie was often uncaring and insensitive
  • the sequence of Charlie attending the funeral of his estranged wealthy father Sanford Babbitt in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and afterwards receiving only one bitter present in the will - a classic car and some "prize-winning hybrid" rose bushes from his father's estate: ("Knew this car my whole Life. Only drove it once. A 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible"); as a young 16 year old teen, Charlie had driven the car without permission and was pulled over by police, and then was deliberately abandoned in prison for two days by his father: ("Left home. I never saw him again"); he ran away from home at age 16 to California where he lived ever since

Explanation of Childhood Friend 'Rain Man'

Father's Estate Placed in Private Trust

At Wallbrook
  • in a crucial sequence, he explained to Susanna how he was soothed as a younger child (his mother died when Charlie was very young) by an imaginary friend: ("When I was a kid and I got scared, the Rain Man would come and sing to me....You know, one of those imaginary childhood friends")
  • to Charlie's surprise, someone else was the unknown major beneficiary of the bulk of the estate ($3 million), that was deposited in a private fund controlled by a trustee; however, he unemotionally told Susanna: "I got what I expected"
  • the scene of Charlie's visit to Wallbrook, a mental institution, where he spoke to administrator Dr. Bruner (Jerry Molen) who had control over the trust fund; when he returned to the roadmaster, one of the institutionalized patients was in the driver's seat; Charlie accidentally met his own brother Raymond Babbitt (Oscar-winning Dustin Hoffman); Raymond bragged: "I'm an excellent driver," and revealed family details that sparked Charlie's attention; Raymond exited quickly to his room: "Thirteen minutes to Judge Wapner and The People's Court"; Dr. Bruner confirmed to Charlie: "Raymond is your brother" - he was a highly-functioning autistic savant, who had been at the hospital since he was 18 years old (when Charlie was still a two and a half year-old toddler); Raymond was the other beneficiary - and "He doesn't understand the concept of money"
  • the scene of the two brothers in Raymond's room, when Raymond recited Abbott and Costello's 'Who's On First?' comedy routine when he became nervous by Charlie's presence and "unannounced visit"; it was clear that Raymond had strict routines and rituals that he required in order to keep pacified (watching his favorite TV shows, not letting others touch him or his books, etc.), and he complained to his attendant Vern (Michael D. Roberts) - ("my main man") that he was quite upset
  • the walk taken by the brothers on the grounds of Wallbrook (Raymond warned it was "practically 26 minutes to Jeopardy"), when Charlie attempted to coax his brother to leave the institution's grounds (although Raymond insisted: "Have to be back in two hours"); his underhanded plan went into effect - he drove away to take Raymond back to his home in Los Angeles (tempting him with a Dodgers game), and keep him until Dr. Bruner turned over half of his father’s estate ("I'm gonna keep him 'til I get my half!")
On the Grounds of Wallbrook
  • after 'kidnapping' Raymond, they rented a fancy suite in the Vernon Manor Hotel in downtown Cincinnati for the night, and Raymond was immediately disoriented by every strange difference: ("This is definitely not my room, and I don't have my tapioca pudding. The bed's in the wrong place, it's definitely not my bed...Of course, I don't have my books. Of course, there's no bookshelves. I'm definitely out of books. I'm gonna be book-less")
  • during the night, he stumbled into the darkened room where Charlie and his girlfriend Susanna were making noise and having sex, and sat on the edge of the bed to watch an old movie (Sweet Smell of Success (1957)); Charlie continued to act insultingly toward his brother ("Stop actin' like an idiot and go to sleep"); Raymond returned to his room to continue reading (and memorizing) a telephone book with a flashlight; Susanna became fed up with Charlie's manipulations to get Raymond's money and decided to leave: ("Your crime is that you use people! You're using Raymond, you're using me!")
  • the next day at a corner diner, Raymond demonstrated his tremendous abilities after seeing the waitress' name tag Sally Dibbs (Bonnie Hunt) - he recalled her phone number, and gave an accurate visual count of the number of toothpicks spilled out of a box (246) onto the floor
  • the sequence at the Cincinnati airport when Raymond refused to fly in an airplane (he cited statistics about crashes and casualties of American Airlines Flight 625, Continental Airlines Flight 1713, and Delta Air Lines Flight 191), but he also boasted how Australia-based Qantas had an enviable record with the memorable quote: "Qantas never crashed"; Charlie was forced to give in: "We're gonna drive to LA... no flying"
  • the memorable six-day cross-country adventure driving westward from Ohio to Los Angeles - a trip taken by Raymond with Charlie ("main man"); the trip was hampered by the various personal quirks and routines that Raymond required: watching Jeopardy and Judge Wapner of the 1980s The People's Court TV show each day ("Four minutes to Wapner"), meals similar to the institution, bed-time at 11:00 pm, travel disallowed during rain, etc.
Raymond: "I get my boxer shorts at K-Mart in Cincinnati"
  • during their buddy trip as they drove along, Raymond complained about his underwear- he definitely refused to wear the fresh underwear that Charlie had given him that morning: ""I'm definitely not wearing my underwear...It's not my underwear...These are too tight...These are not boxer shorts. Mine are boxer shorts...These are Hanes 32...My boxer shorts have my name and it says Raymond...I get my boxer shorts at K-Mart in Cincinnati"; Charlie became increasingly exasperated: "You don't have to go to Cincinnati to get a pair of underwear at K-Mart..."; Charlie got out of the car to vent his frustration, then continued to argue: "WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? WHAT-WHAT-WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE WHERE YOU BUY UNDERWEAR? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? UNDERWEAR IS UNDERWEAR! IT IS UNDERWEAR WHEREVER YOU BUY IT! IN CINCINNATI OR WHEREVER!...You know what I think? You know what I think, Ray? I think this autism is a bunch of s--t! 'Cause you can't tell me that you're not in there somewhere!"
  • in Amarillo, TX in their Big 8$ Motel's bathroom, Raymond mentioned that Charlie had just called him "Funny Rain Man" - and Charlie asked: "'Rain man'? I said, 'Rain man'?...Was I trying to say 'Raymond' and it came out 'rain man'?...You? You're the rain man?"; Raymond showed Charlie a picture taken of them by their father (when Charlie was a toddler), when Raymond lived with the family until the age of 10, but was forced to leave the household about two weeks after the death of their mother in early 1965; Charlie asked where he was when Raymond left and was told: "You were in the window. You waved to me. 'Bye-bye, Rain Man. Bye-bye, Rain Man'" - Charlie was shocked to realize that the "Rain Man" wasn't an imaginary friend, but was his own brother Raymond
The Revelation That "Rain Man" = Raymond

Picture of Raymond with Young Charlie

Singing Beatles' Song Together

Recalling Traumatic Incident: "Hot water burn baby"
  • during the stunning revelation, Raymond began singing to Charlie as he did when he was young, the Beatles' song "I Saw Her Standing There"; and then as Charlie began running the hot bathtub water, Raymond suddenly reacted by striking himself and beating his head, screaming, and yelling: "Scary! Hot! Scary bad! Scary bad! Scary!...Hot water burn baby!...Time for Wallbrook now" - it was suddenly clear to Charlie that when Raymond had tried to give his younger brother a bath, he had scalded him, and because Raymond's behavior might be a danger to young Charlie, he was sent away to Wallbrook to be institutionalized (Charlie: "That's why they put you away. They thought you'd hurt me"); the traumatized Raymond repeatedly softly muttered to himself: "Never hurt baby. Never hurt Charlie Babbitt. Never hurt Charlie"; at the end of the tender scene, Charlie tucked Raymond into bed
  • they took a detour back to Las Vegas for a stop-over sojourn and stay at Caesar's Palace; after buying identical new clothes and visiting a hair salon, the two 'twins' descended on an escalator to the gaming floor (to successfully win about $86,000 at blackjack by counting cards even with a six-deck shoe, using code signals for betting: "One for bad, two for good"); also, Charlie taught Raymond how to dance in their expensive suite to prepare for his scheduled date at 10 pm with a call-girl named Iris (Lucinda Jenney) he earlier met at the bar (she was surreptitiously sent by security to get him to confess to "counting cards")
  • in the Las Vegas casino elevator scene, after the call-girl didn't show up and Charlie was being asked to leave the hotel with his winnings, Charlie's girlfriend Susanna stopped the ascending ride with Raymond by pushing the emergency button, and then asked him to show her how to dance: ("Show me how"); after having been taught by Charlie, she complimented him: "You're very good." She asked: "Have you ever kissed a girl?" Raymond shyly responded: "I don't know"; she instructed Raymond how to kiss: "Open your mouth. Open. Like this. Like you were tasting something very good, and very soft....Like this. Close your eyes"; after he opened his lips and entire mouth, she then gave him a slow kiss - while he kept his eyes shut; he flinched a bit when she first touched him, but she reassured: "It's okay, Ray"; his reaction when asked how it was --- "Wet!" She giggled: "Then we did it right"; he was still worried about the state of the elevator: "Elevator's definitely stuck"
  • after arriving in Los Angeles at Charlie's home, Raymond began to nervously quote "Who's On First?" - and the two watched the source of the routine on TV - a video of The Naughty Nineties (1945)
  • at the Bonaventura Hotel in downtown Los Angeles that evening, Dr. Bruner discussed the long-term custody of Raymond with Charlie; he offered Charlie a check for $250,000 to "just walk away" and allow Raymond to return to the institution; Charlie refused the check - he claimed that his priorities had changed ("It's not about the money anymore") and he wanted to take care of his brother by himself
  • during a consultation with a court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Marston and Dr. Bruner, Charlie was told: "Your brother is not capable of having a relationship with you....You cannot care for your brother without professional guidance"; when asked to make a decision about his own future, whether to stay with Charlie or go back to Wallbrook, Raymond chose both options and could not distinguish between the two alternatives
  • ultimately, Charlie realized that Raymond needed round-the-clock institutional care, and he assured Raymond: "No more questions"; Charlie pulled up a chair next to Raymond and told him more than once: "I like having you for my big brother" - as the camera slowly zoomed in; Charlie turned away, deeply moved, and heard his brother spelling out his name twice: "C-H-A-R-L-I-E" behind him, followed by "Main man"
A Very Touching Goodbye Sequence
  • their emotional farewell scene outside an Amtrak train station (in Santa Ana, CA) where they met Dr. Bruner - Charlie handed Raymond his knapsack: ("I guess I'd better give this to you. You're gonna have to carry this now. It's got your cheeseballs, your apple juice, notebooks, pens and 'Who's On First?' video that you like"); then they spoke briefly with a final goodbye as Ray was getting on the train and Charlie promised to visit in two weeks - Raymond mentioned the secret code he and Charlie had used for betting on blackjack ("One for bad, two for good"):
    Charlie: "Ray? Ray?"
    Raymond: "Yeah."
    Charlie: "I'll see you soon."
    Raymond: "Yeah. One for bad, two for good."
    Charlie: "Bet two for good."
    Raymond: "Yeah. Three minutes to Wapner."
    Charlie: "You'll make it."
    Raymond: "Yeah."

Charlie with Girlfriend Susanna

Cincinnati Funeral for Charlie's Estranged Father

Bequeathed to Charlie: a 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible

Raymond Babbitt in Roadmaster's Driver's Seat at Wallbrook

Raymond Nervously Reciting 'Who's On First?' and Reacting to Charlie's Presence in His Room at Wallbrook

In Hotel, Sitting on Bed Watching TV During Sex

Diner Waitress Sally Dibbs

246 Spilled Toothpicks in Diner

At the Airport: "Qantas Never Crashed"

Watching The People's Court and Taking Notes in a Farmhouse

Descending Escalator into Las Vegas Casino

Winning at Blackjack

A Dance Lesson in Las Vegas

Lessons on Dancing and Kissing with Susanna

Watching "Who's On First?"

Consultation with Lawyer and Dr. Bruner Regarding Raymond's Future

Charlie: "No more questions"

Touching Heads Together


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