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Jimmy Hoffa (1992)

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James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa was the title character of the 1992 movie Hoffa.

In the early 1930s Jimmy was a Teamsters union organizer who was working to organize the various trucking firms and laundries around Detroit, Michigan. As such he met a young truck driver named Robert "Bobby" Ciaro. Riding over an hour in his cab Hoffa tried to convince him of the need to join the Teamsters. A few days later Hoffa showed up at Bobby's workplace and accidentally got him fired. Bobby tried to seek revenge but was convinced at gunpoint to back away by Hoffa's partner Billy Flynn.

Flynn and Hoffa needed a driver for a job, namely to blow up a laundry that was not cooperate with Hoffa's unionization efforts and hired Bobby for the job. The two men blew up the laundry but Flynn was fatally burned in the process. At the hospital Bobby backed up Hoffa when the police questioned them. Hoffa and Bobby watched as Flynn was given last rights and died. Bobby soon became Hoffa's right hand man.

When a Teamsters strike of Kreger Trucking interfered with mob interests a couple Mafia soldiers were sent to bring Hoffa to a sit down. Bobby's fluency in Italian was very useful, and served as Hoffa's translator. At the meeting Hoffa was able to convince the Mafia to join with him, and as a result the Teamsters were successful in the strike. Hoffa let fellow Teamster Red Bennet take the credit for the victory. Hoffa began a 40 year alliance with the mafia, especially Carlo "Dally" D'Allesandro.

Next was a strike against the RTA. Hoffa sat for many weeks in fruitless negotiations. He resisted calls from his superiors in the union to make what he thought was a bad deal with RTA. Hoffa lost his temper at one point and put his phone through a plate glass window, and then led a march on their headquarters. The march was an ambush planned by RTA which devolved into a riot which resulted in the deaths of a number of Teamsters. Hoffa came away humbled by the experience but resolved to continue his work.

Hoffa continued to gain power and influence in the union. Hoffa's name became a powerful tool for his allies - they were able to get what they wanted or needed just by showing people a card signed by him. In the meantime he started a remodel on his kitchen, noting that the reason it was so expensive was that he was doing it himself. During a hunting session with Dally the two men lined up a pension fund that would provide money to the mob to build out Las Vegas.

Soon Hoffa was coming to the attention of very highly placed people in the United States Government. In particular he came to the attention of a young Robert Kennedy, who made it his mission to end the corruption of the mafia in organized labor. Hoffa would tangle with Kennedy for the remainder of his life. Hoffa came to hate Kennedy and would refer to him in graphic and obscene terms.

Hoffa achieved his dream when he became the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He promptly fired a number of officials to bring in his own people and ensure loyalty amongst the staff. Hoffa's people were willing to cover for him and refused to cooperate with the government. Eventually the government was able to get Hoffa's young associate Pete Connelly to talk. Hoffa was convicted of several serious crimes with Bobby and sent to prison for several years. Hoffa ally Frank "Fitz" Fitzsimmons was tapped to lead the Teamsters while Hoffa was in prison. Despite his imprisonment the rank and file still loved Jimmy and many of them gathered to honor him as he was being driven to a Pennsylvania prison to serve his sentence.


OldHoffa

Hoffa shortly before his death.

When his prison sentence was commuted after the Teamsters endorsed Nixon, Hoffa was furious to learn that one of the conditions of his release was that he could not participate in union activities in 10 years. He blamed his former ally Fitz for what happened and began a campaign against Fitz, which resulted in the death of a driver when someone wired Fitz's car to explode.

By now the mob was starting to tire of Hoffa, finding Fitz much easier to control. Also Jimmy's hot temper was leading to an uncomfortable amount of media exposure for the mob. When Jimmy had Bobby tell Dally that he was about to go to the media if he couldn't get back in charge of the Teamsters, Dally decided Jimmy had to be dealt with.

Jimmy and Bobby were asked to meet Dally at the Machus Red Fox Diner in a rural area near Detroit. Delaying them for several hours a hit man arrived in guise of a trucker with a broken down truck. When this hitman confirmed his target was sitting in a car near the restaurant this hit man shot Jimmy Hoffa several times, killing him. Bobby was also killed and his body put in the car with Hoffa's corpse. The car they were in was put in the back of a semi, which drove off into the Michigan countryside.

Trivia

  • Jimmy Hoffa was played by Jack Nicholson, who had also played the Joker in the 1989 film Batman and Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in the movie version of A Few Good Men. Nicholson considered Hoffa to be one of his favorite roles.
  • Nicholson strongly resembled Hoffa, to the point that Hoffa's son was brought to tears over how much Nicholson looked like his missing father after makeup was done. Nicholson needed very little makeup to look like Hoffa - mainly some false teeth and a fake nose.
  • Nicholson's daughter also appeared in Hoffa as the young nun in the hospital who informed Hoffa and Bobby that Flynn was dying.
  • Nearly all of the dialog between Hoffa and Kennedy in the Senate hearing was taken verbatim from the transcripts of the actual Senate hearing.
  • As Hoffa was never found after going to the Machus Red Fox Diner and it's unknown what actually happened to him this movie presents one of the more likely scenarios to have happened with the real Hoffa.

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