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The Hurricane (1999)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  14 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 72,281 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 265 user | 65 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.



(book), (book), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Myron Bedlock
Leon Friedman
Judge Sarokin
Badja Djola ...
Al Waxman ...
U.S. Court Prosecutor


This film tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, an African-American man who rose above his troubled youth to become a top contender for the middle-weight boxing title. However, his dreams are shattered when he is accused of a triple murder, and is convicted to three natural-life terms. Despite becoming a cause celebre and his dogged efforts to prove his innocence through his autobiography, the years of fruitless efforts have left him discouraged. This changes when an African-American boy and his Canadian mentors read his book and are convinced of his innocence enough to work for his exoneration. However, what Hurricane and his friends learn is that this fight puts them against a racist establishment that profited from this travesty and have no intention of seeing it reversed. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on the inspirational true story of a champion. See more »


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lazarus and the Hurricane  »

Box Office


$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$337,000 (USA) (31 December 1999)


£579,291 (UK) (14 April 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some of the plot and character points fictionalized or ignored include:
  • Carter was actually convicted of three muggings and served four years in prison prior to his murder trial

  • Carter and Lisa Peters eventually married and later divorced

  • In reality, there was no Det. Della Pesca

  • Carter did not give a speech in the courtroom when his conviction was overturned and Lesra was not in attendance

  • Carter was actually released from prison for 4 years between his two trial convictions

  • Carter was dishonorably discharged from the military after four court-martials (after just 21 months' service)

  • There actually was no evidence found that proved Carter's innocence. The reason his conviction was overturned was because the prosecution mishandled much of the evidence it had that Carter did commit the murders. When all the evidence from the real case is looked at, it seems more than likely that Carter was guilty of the murders, but got off on a technicality during his second trial.

  • The Real Della Pesca, Vincent DeSimone, never met Carter before the Lafayette Grill incident. He also died in 1979, so he never met the Canadian couple, nor he attended the trial 1985.

See more »


In the first featherweight fight sequence, the radio sportscaster pronounces the Pennsylvania city name, "Reading," as "reeding" (long "e" sound), but it is correctly pronounced as "reding" (short "e" sound). See more »


[first lines]
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, this fine young fighter will be right here in Pittsburg on the boxing cog, this Monday night.
See more »


References Raging Bull (1980) See more »


Arabian Boogie
Written by Slim Gaillard, Paul Mills
Performed by Slim Gaillard
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User Reviews

Unexpectedly Great Movie
19 February 2001 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

I wasn't going to comment, but after reading some of the negative comments, I felt I must. I "waited for the video" for this movie because a movie about boxing didn't seem interesting. But that's just the thing. It's not about boxing. So if you're thinking you're going to see Raging Bull, you're not. There are a few boxing scenes, but they only serve to move the story along.

I have seen this movie more than once. The first time I was touched by the underlying theme of the movie, which was in my opinion, love conquering hate and injustice. Then I watched it again. I realized Denzel did a superb job. It WAS NOT a "typical Denzel role." He convincingly played Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, raised full of hate for and distrust of white people. When he goes to prison for the murder, he does an excellent performance showing the different personalities in his head, as well as showing how his inner spiritual journey transformed him. Any good movie shows the hero growing and changing. And Denzel again does this well towards the end of the movie, after befriending Lazarus and the Canadians. My favorite line which to me sums up the entire movie is when they're waiting to hear the judge's verdict and Rubin tells Lazarus, "Hate got me in here. But love's gonna bust me out."

I don't know much about the real Rubin Carter or the details of the case. What I found compelling about the movie was the fact that some people - be they white or black - can harbor such hatred for another person (I'm referring to Della Pesca's hatred toward Rubin). Another thing that got me was the friendship and love between Rubin and Lesra and the whole message of examining the higher principle of truth for which the law was meant to serve. It's just one of those movies that makes you think. Yeah, some of the writing is "just OK" in places, but the theme of the movie is wonderful and I think Denzel gave an Oscar worthy performance.

I gave this a 9 out of 10.

90 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Was he guilty? theendofzion
How many falsehoods in this film? kag2-1
Did The Police ever catch the real killer? mjh27
innocent or guilty? Sammmy02
Cater is guilty. lazur-2
Is this the best Denzel Washington movie? abhishes-572-40630
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