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Black Rain (1989)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  22 September 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 36,950 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 60 critic

Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he's extradited to Japan.


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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yûsaku Matsuda ...
Shigeru Kôyama ...
Ohashi (as Shigeru Koyama)
Guts Ishimatsu ...
Yûya Uchida ...
Tomisaburô Wakayama ...
Miyuki Ono ...
Frankie (as Luis Guzman)
The Kid (as John A. Costelloe)


Two New York cops get involved in a gang war between members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia. They arrest one of their killers and are ordered to escort him back to Japan. In Japan, however, he manages to escape. As they try to track him down, they get deeper and deeper into the Japanese Mafia scene and they have to learn that they can only win by playing the game the Japanese way. Written by Harald Mayr <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Osaka, Japan. A cop on the edge. A conspiracy on the rise. A killer on the loose. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 September 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lluvia negra  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$45,645,204 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Black Rain" is also an alternate title of the 1970s Peter Weir Australian film The Last Wave (1977), which was renamed "Black Rain" for distribution in the USA. Of course, the two films have nothing in common. See more »


During the mud fight at the end, when the bikes crash, the camera is splashed with drops of mud and one drop is seen briefly traveling down the surface of the lens. See more »


Joyce: Because you could get me killed. You see, there's a war going on here, and they don't take prisoners.
Nick Conklin: What are you talking about?
Joyce: It's between Sato and an old crime boss named Sugai.
Nick Conklin: Who else knows about this war?
Joyce: Counting you and me?
Joyce: Eleven million.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits begin with a Japanese kanji, which can be translated as "complete" or "end" and is sometimes used at the end of Japanese films. See more »


Referenced in Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990) See more »


Recorded by Mary Evans
From the album "Traditional Folk Dances of Japan"
Courtesy of TRF Production Music Libraries
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A clash-of-cultures story.
16 January 2005 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Ridley Scott tends to give his films a very potent visual energy (see "Alien" and "Blade Runner" for further evidence), and here he takes a story that's been around since films began and dresses it up with his customary pictorial trimmings. Black Rain is another fish-out-of-water yarn in which a cop leaves his usual patch to track down a criminal in an unfamiliar place (see also Brannigan, French Connection II, No Mercy, Beverly Hills Cop, etc. for other versions of what is virtually the same story). The unoriginality of it all is a bit disappointing in all honesty, but Black Rain compensates for its over-familiarity by excelling in other areas.

Reckless New York cop Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas - looking more like his father Kirk than ever) and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) catch a Japanese gangster named Sato (Yasuka Matsuda) in their city. They are assigned to escort Sato back to Japan and hand him over to the Japanese police. However, almost immediately upon their arrival Sato escapes with the aid of some of his underworld friends, cunningly disguised as cops. Nick and Charlie are left with egg on their face, and endeavour to help the Japanese police to recapture their man. They join Japanese cop Masahiro (Ken Takakura), but police methods in Japan prove very different to what the Americans are accustomed to, and soon differences in approach boil over into frustration and violence.

Scott paints the night-time streets of Osaka as some kind of neon-lit, nightmarish maze. It becomes easy to relate to Nick and Charlie's bewilderment, and the viewer is left glad NOT to be sharing their experiences in the seedy, dangerous environment of this seemingly hostile city. There are some attempts to explore the different codes of honour by which the American and Japanese law enforcers measure their success. Also, the film establishes and sustains an edgy atmosphere (one scene, in which a key character is lured into a trap and beheaded, is especially tense).

Black Rain is a mix of effective and not-so-effective elements. The visuals, the atmosphere and the cultural alienation of the main character are very interesting, while the plotting and dialogue are disappointingly familiar. It's definitely a film worth catching, though it probably won't be remembered as fondly fifty years from now as some of the director's other films.

35 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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