Brian De Palma's Hollywood sanitization of Tom Wolfe's scabrous satire stars Tom Hanks as Sherman McCoy, the "master of the universe," a shallow Wall Street investor who makes millions while enjoying the good life and the sexual favors of Maria Ruskin (Melanie Griffith), a Southern belle golddigger. Sherman and Maria are driving back to Maria's apartment from the airport when Maria takes a wrong turn on the expressway and the two find themselves in the South Bronx. She sees a black youth approaching Sherman's car and Maria, frightened, guns the engine, running over the teenager and killing him. The two drive away and decide not to report the accident to the police. Meanwhile, indigent alcoholic journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis), anxious for a story to make good with his editor, comes upon the hit-and-run tale through local black community activist, Reverend Bacon (John Hancock). Bacon plans to use the hit-and-run case as a rallying point for the black community, while Fallow recognizes the press coverage inherent in prosecuting the callow Sherman. As Sherman is brought to his knees, the New York community fragments into different factions who use the case to suit their own cynical political purposes. Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge White (Morgan Freeman) and the remorseful Fallow.
by Paul Brenner synopsis