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The Rainmaker (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  21 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 42,859 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 137 user | 90 critic | 19 from

An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent Insurance company.


(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kelly Riker
Wayne Emmons ...


Rudy Baylor is a jobless young attorney. However, he is also the only hope of an elderly couple whose insurance company will not pay for an operation that could save their son's life. In this judicial drama, Rudy learns to hate corporate America as he falls in love with a battered young married woman. Will he be up to the task? Written by Steve Richer <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They were totally unqualified to try the case of a lifetime... but every underdog has his day.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a strong beating and elements of domestic abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Grisham's The Rainmaker  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,626,507 (USA) (21 November 1997)


£823,492 (UK) (8 May 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As filming went on, Matt Damon continued to gain most of the weight that he had lost purposely for his role in Courage Under Fire. See more »


When Everett Lufkin is on the witness stand, the letter he's handed by Rudy Baylor repeatedly disappears and reappears between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Rudy Baylor: My father hated lawyers all his life. He wasn't a great guy, my old man. He drank and beat up my mother; he beat me up too. So you might think I became a lawyer just to piss him off. But you'd be wrong. I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I read about the Civil Rights lawyers in the 50s and 60s, and the amazing uses they found for the law. They did what a lot of people thought was the impossible. They gave lawyers a good name. And so I went to law school. And it did piss my father ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a credit for "Poet in Residence". See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.197 (2013) See more »


Baby Scratch My Back
Written by James Moore
Performed by James Moore (as Slim Harpo)
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

John Grisham, Francis Ford Coppola The Rainmaker has to be good!
17 June 2002 | by (Fresno, CA USA) – See all my reviews

A story about an aspiring young lawyer who tries to break down an insurance company, Matt Damon plays Rudy Baylor, a Memphis St. Law School graduate who can't seem to find a job anywhere, until he meets "Bruiser" Stone (Mickey Rourke). Stone is an ambulance chaser, who does whatever it takes, legal or not, to win a case. Rudy, as most law students are when they graduate, wants to take the high road, do everything by the book, and win. What he finds is that sometimes you need to get down and dirty to help your client. In this case, his client is a young boy, dying of leukemia.

Seems the insurance company won't pay for a bone marrow transplant that would save his life. Rudy sets out to help the young man and his family, in what turns out to be one of the biggest cases Tennessee has ever seen. Along with his partner Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), Rudy sets out to try and prove to the world that the insurance company is nothing more than a big time scam artist. Along the way Rudy meets (and falls in love with) a young woman (Clare Danes) who gets beat up regularly by her husband. This part of the story seemed somewhat strange to me. I couldn't figure out what it was there to do. Was it to give Rudy a love interest? Was it just to give the movie another case so the entire film wasn't centered on the insurance trial? I feel it gave the movie some heart, and showed that Rudy would fight for what he believed in, both in court and in life. But I think the movie could have been done without it.

I enjoyed the trial scenes and all the grunt work that went behind it (being a future lawyer myself (I hope)). And the cast was wonderful. Each person added a little more to the movie, and each gave a great performance. Danny Glover as the (2nd) judge gave a little humor to the movie, but also made you feel good about Rudy's chances in court. He was going to play fair, but hew as also going to give Rudy the benefit of the doubt. Jon Voight played the insurance company's lead lawyer, and he played his character to it's swarmy best. He is what people think lawyers are like, out only for money; win at all costs, no soul (I know attorneys like that). And he was convincing. And of course DeVito and Damon carried the film.

I had my doubts about Damon playing a lawyer, but the more I watched, the more I realized that he looked like people I see at work everyday. He had the same fear in his eyes that we all do, but also that dog-eat-dog determination to prove to the world that he could do the job. The Rainmaker was more about the performances than the story. And the performances won me over. Give it a shot, it's worth it.

61 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why no Bluray? sashko_stefanov
Ok movie, awful soundtrack wd_40
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Why isn't Danny Glover mentioned in the cast? rossanna-1
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Ending donny619
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