Tom Cruise’s Car From One Of His Best Movies Is Up For Auction

By Nathan Kamal | 4 months ago

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The car owned by Tom Cruise in the film Rain Man is currently up for auction. Though Cruise has had approximately 200 hit films since Rain Man, it is generally considered a turning point for the actor’s career and one of his high watermarks. The car in question is a 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible and featured heavily in the 1988 movie. It is a key element in the plot of the film, which stars Cruise and Dustin Hoffman as two brothers slowly coming to understand each other after a family death. The real-life vehicle is being at auction in Scottsdale, Arizona along with a number of other celebrity owned vehicles. 

Rain Man stars Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbitt, a shallow, selectively amoral collectibles dealer. During a risky business transaction concerning a number of Lamborghinis, he gets word that his wealthy, estranged father has died and left the bulk of his estate to an unknown party. That person turns out to be his older brother Raymond Babbitt, who he has been completely unaware of. Charlie essentially kidnaps his siblings from a mental institution and holds him ransom for a share of the inheritance.

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Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man (1988)

At this point, the film becomes a road trip movie about the two brothers learning more about each other while driving from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in the aforementioned Buick Roadmaster. It also becomes apparent that Raymond is on the autistic spectrum and displays mathematical savantism, most famously counting a spilled box of matches in seconds. By the end of the movie, Charlie has learned that family means more than money and the two form a relationship. Heartwarming stuff. 

At the time of the film’s release in 1988, Tom Cruise was primarily known for roles like Top Gun, The Color of Money and Cocktail. He had achieved A-list status with characters that all fit an archetype of a talented but arrogant hotshot who eventually learns to be a little more humble (though is still the best). Rain Man still features him as essentially that character, but with more humanity. It was the beginning of a period of his career in which he tried some experimental roles, until the Mission: Impossible franchise (that still continues to this day with delays) came knocking.

For his part, Dustin Hoffman was acclaimed for his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt, eventually winning the Academy Award for Best Actor. In more recent years, the film has been re-evaluated by the autistic community. Although it still receives acknowledgment for increasing awareness of autism to the general public, it also perpetuated a number of negative stereotypes that persist to this day. 

During the filming of Rain Man, there were actually two Buick Roadmasters used. After production wrapped, Dustin Hoffman purchased one and has owned it since. Director Barry Levinson purchased the other. Estimates for the auction of the vehicle set its current worth at approximately $250,000, though celebrity owned vehicles frequently sell for high prices. While Tom Cruise is not involved in any known 1980s film vehicle auctions, he is currently planning to have a film set built in orbit so he can shoot movies in zero gravity. That seems pretty good too.