The Rainbow (1989)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, Romance  |  26 May 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 905 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 16 critic

A young woman deals in her own personal way with the trials of adolescence and young adulthood in early 1900s England.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Gable ...
Dudley Sutton ...
Judith Paris ...
Kenneth Colley ...
Mr. Brunt (as Ken Colley)
Glenda McKay ...
Mark Owen ...
Jim Richards
Ralph Nossek ...
Molly Russell ...
Molly Brangwen


Ken Russell's loose adaptation of the last part of D.H. Lawrence's "The Rainbow" sees impulsive young Ursula coming of age in pastoral England around the time of the Boer War. At school, she is introduced to lovemaking by a bisexual physical education instructress. While experiencing disillusionment in her first career attempt (teaching), she has an affair with a young Army officer, who wants to marry her. Unable to accept a future of domesticity, she breaks with him, and eventually leaves home in search of her destiny. Written by Anonymous

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Action | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

26 May 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El arco iris  »

Box Office


$444,055 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fifth and final of five collaborations of actress Glenda Jackson and director Ken Russell. The films are The Boy Friend (1971), The Music Lovers (1970), Salome's Last Dance (1988), The Rainbow (1989), and Women in Love (1969), the latter two both being filmed adaptations of novels by D.H. Lawrence. See more »


Version of The Rainbow (1988) See more »


The Lancers
Arranged by 'Keith Wilkinson (III)
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User Reviews

While it is no Women in Love, The Rainbow is a better film than it is given credit for
12 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ken Russell was an interesting and very unique director with a style unlike any other. This said, he was always and still is an acquired taste with a lot of his later work containing excesses that will fascinate some and repulse others. The Rainbow is not Russell at his best and it is not in the same ball park as the brilliant Women in Love, but it is still well worth watching.

The Rainbow does get very rambling sometimes- in all fairness it's true for the book as well- with a couple of overly-talky parts and instances of lagging pacing, while the first third is on occasions awkwardly staged and the ending is rather abrupt. Russell gives some of his most controlled and restrained directing here, which is a plus, and like he did with Women in Love twenty years earlier he does show a respect for the book and D.H. Lawrence's writing while not trivialising the meaning. Compared to the book and for D.H. Lawrence, while Russell is to be admired for his restraint, the film can feel a little tame. What made Women in Love so brilliant was not just its respect for the source material but also the attention to characterisation and mood and the mood and emotional impact for each scene, The Rainbow has the themes and the characterisation but it does at times feel a little tame- Women in Love did a much better job showing what made Lawrence's work controversial and daring for his time- and not as powerful as it could have been.

Coming onto the many good things about The Rainbow, it is a very well-made film with gorgeous countryside scenery and luscious photography that positively soars. Carl Meyer's score is heartfelt, hypnotic and unashamedly sentimental(in a good way), cannot begin to describe how much the theme music resonates with me, and the use of the likes of Bach and Strauss is equally fitting. The dialogue mostly provokes a lot of thought and flows naturally, and while some of the storytelling is a little bland and tame with a bit of rambling, it still maintains interest and contains some nice dark and passionate(the love scenes) moments and makes an effort to give depth and personality to the characters. The cast are excellent, Sammi Davis does hold her own against her more experienced supporting cast and brings a lot of spirit and feistiness to Ursula if a little too eager to please at times. Amanda Donohoe brings sultry sexiness to her role, Christopher Gable brings authoritative dignity to William and Paul McGann brings charm and intensity. Special mention also should go to Glenda Jackson, her role is a relatively small one but Jackson is so poignant in it the role is a very memorable one at the same time.

Overall, better than it's given credit for and a decent film, but missing something and falls short compared to Women in Love(if there is a film that shows Russell at his best it's that one). 7/10 Bethany Cox

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