When Charlie Babbitt's (Tom Cruise) father dies he is left only with his prized rose bushes and a vintage '49 Buick. Charlie, a self-centred young hustler uncovers a shocking secret: he has an institutionalised autistic brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) who has been left the lion's share of the inheritance. Determined to extort his 'fair share' of the family fortune, Charlie abducts his older sibling and holds him hostage.
Looking after Raymond is not as easy as Charlie thought it would be though. From his refusal to drive on major highways to his obsession with watching popular TV gameshows, Raymond first pushes hot-headed Charlie to the limits of his patienceand then pulls him completely out of his self-centred world. But what began as an unsentimental journey for the Babbitt brothers becomes a remarkable story which connects these vastly different people in this poignant and powerful look at the unlimited potential of the human spirit.