The 1988 drama Rain Man is a classic film about a character named Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) who learns that his estranged father has died and left millions of dollars to Raymond Babbitt, Charlie’s brother (played by Dustin Hoffman). Previously unaware of Raymond’s existence, the avaricious Charlie discovers that Raymond is an autistic savant with incredible memory and decides to exploit Raymond by taking him to Las Vegas to win money to cover his debt in a card counting scheme.
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Screenwriter Barry Morrow was inspired to write the screenplay to Rain Man after meeting the late American megasavant Kim Peek at a 1984 conference to support people with mental disabilities. Unlike Hoffman’s character, Peek did not have autism but rather a rare genetic syndrome known as FGS which affects intelligence and behavior. Like Hoffman’s character, though, Peek had extraordinary memory. Peek could read a book in an hour with the ability to recall nearly everything he read, with some accounts claiming that he had read and memorized as many as 12,000 boooks.
Rain Man debuted on December 16, 1988 and ended up becoming the highest grossing U.S. film of 1988. The film also won four Oscars for Best Picture; Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Best Director; and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hoffman). After Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow accepted the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Morrow gave Peek his Oscar statuette to bring with him to public appearances. Peek did so for the next 21 years, earning the trophy a new nickname, “World’s best-loved Oscar.” An estimated 400,000 people have hugged the Oscar and it was later donated to the Utah Film Center to honor Peek’s memory.
Las Vegas, Nevada Filming Locations
Rain Man was one of the first major films to be shot at the iconic Caesars Palace. The Emperors Suite in the Forum Tower is where the Babbitt brothers spent the night after winning big at the blackjack tables. To this day, the Emperors Suite is still referred to as the “Rain Man Suite.”
According to the book Shot On This Site: A Traveler’s Guide to the Places and Locations Used to Film Famous Movies and Television Shows by William A. Gordon, other scenes were also filmed at Cuzzen’s (a men’s clothing store) and Cleopatra’s Salon, both of which were also located inside Caesars Palace.
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