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Dolores Claiborne (1995)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  24 March 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 26,747 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 162 user | 52 critic | 19 from

A big-city reporter travels to the small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman that she works for as a maid.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Cooper ...
Weldon Allen ...
Tom Gallant ...
Kelly Burnett ...


Dolores Claiborne works as a maid for a wealthy woman in remote Maine. When she is indicted for the elderly woman's murder, Dolores' daughter Selena returns from New York, where she has become a big-shot reporter. In the course of working out the details of what has happened, as well as some shady questions from the past and Selina's troubled childhood, many difficult truths are revealed about their family's domestic strife. This is cleverly portrayed with present reality shot in cool blue tones blending seamlessly into flashbacks shot in vivid color. As small town justice relentlessly grinds forward, surprises lie in store for the viewers.... Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes, an accident can be an unhappy woman's best friend See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and domestic abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dolores  »

Box Office


$24,361,867 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While filming the scene on the ferry between Dolores and Selena, Jennifer Jason Leigh became seasick. A student from the local high school was pulled out of class to act as a stand-in. See more »


As Dolores and Selena are leaving the police department, they walk across the street and get in the car. As Selena opens the door, the telescoping crane can be seen reflected in the car window. See more »


Dolores Claiborne: We're gonna sit down and have ourselves a drink! And after we're done - after *I'm* done, you can run upstairs and take whichever one of them little pills makes you feel the best.
See more »


Featured in Fresh Off the Boat: The Shunning (2015) See more »


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Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

What Is Past Is Prologue...
23 May 2004 | by (Ithaca, NY) – See all my reviews

Few Stephen King works of fiction translate well to the screen. Horror elements are best left described rather than shown - so that the darkest recesses of our own imaginations can fill in the details. The horror visions of others may or may not affect us the same way - more often than not, they fall short of true terror.

But DOLORES CLAIBORNE is the exception - a masterful condensation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. More compact and deeply psychological than the novel, the film focuses almost exclusively on telling the story (in both present-day AND multiple flashback story lines) of Dolores Claiborne and her daughter, Selena.

Charged with murdering her wealthy but crippled employer, Dolores (Kathy Bates) is reunited with her estranged daughter, Selena (Jennifer Jason-Leigh). Sullen, brilliant, but deeply disturbed by a past that still obviously haunts her, Selena returns to the lonely and isolated Maine fishing village to help her mother face the legal and familial issues raised by the murder accusation.

We learn that Dolores had previously been suspected of killing her abusive and alcoholic husband. The same detective who had been unable to press the case 17 years earlier is now assigned to the new investigation. And as his work proceeds, secrets from the past reveal themselves, through brilliant use of flashbacks.

The acting by all concerned is first rate, with Bates giving probably her finest non-Oscar-nominated performance. Jason-Leigh is spot-on as the psychologically damaged and cynical Selena - more a victim than even she knows. Christopher Plummer is excellent as the detective.

Taylor Hackford's direction is absolutely brilliant - as is the use of color saturation and creative scene blending and transition to move seamlessly between present and past.

This is an outstanding film - well worth the Oscar nominations it received (as well as those it did not!). HIghest rating!

43 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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