Joseph Ruben Biography

Joseph Ruben photo

Born: May 10, 1950


Date of Birth: May 10, 1950

Born in Briarcliff Manor, New York, Joseph Ruben studied theater and film at the University of Michigan, then went on to earn a master's degree at Brandeis University. His feature film directing debut was a thriller called The Sister-in-Law (1974), starring John Savage. Next up for Ruben was the light-hearted teen romp The Pom Pom Girls (1976), starring Robert Carradine. Continuing in the teen genre, Ruben took on the adventure film Joyride (1977), again starring Carradine, along with Desi Arnaz Jr. and Melanie Griffith.

Our Winning Season (1978) told the story of a track star bound for college (played by Scott Jacoby). Dennis Quaid also starred in the film, which received critical accolades. Ruben took his first and only break from film to direct for the TV series Breaking Away, based on the hit movie about a young bicyclist.

Ruben changed genres to direct Gorp (1980), working again with Quaid. About a madcap bunch of waiters, the film didn't make much of an impression on critics or the movie going public. It was Dreamscape (1984) that began to bring to Ruben the acclaim he'd pursued for so long. Starring Quaid as a man who can enter people's dreams, the film won the Golden Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, setting off a hat trick of awards - his next film, The Stepfather (1987), won the Critics Award at the Cognac Festival du Film Policier and True Believer (1989) won the Grand Prix, also at the Cognac Festival.

Ruben's Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), starring Julia Roberts, was his first mainstream success, grossing over $101 million in the US alone and $173 million worldwide. The Good Son (1993) starring Elijah Wood and Macauley Culkin, didn't do as well at the box office, but it made a tidy profit and gave Wood, already a film veteran at the age of 12, a chance to show off his acting chops.

Unfortunately, Money Train (1995), starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, was a loser both with critics and at the box office, not even earning back half of its costs. Return to Paradise (1998), starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, suffered the same fate, grossing a measly $8.3 million at the box office.

The Forgotten (2004) stars Julianne Moore as a grieving mother who seeks out the truth when she's told that her recently deceased son never existed.


The Forgotten(2004)
Return to Paradise(1998)
Money Train (1995)
The Good Son (1993)
Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
True Believer (1989)
The Stepfather (1987)
Dreamscape (1984)
Gorp (1980)
Our Winning Season (1978)
Joyride (1977)
The Pom Pom Girls (1976)
The Sister-in-Law (1974)

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