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Dolores Claiborne (1995)

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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.


Taylor Hackford


Stephen King (book), Tony Gilroy (screenplay)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathy Bates ... Dolores Claiborne
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Selena St. George
Judy Parfitt ... Vera Donovan
Christopher Plummer ... Det. John Mackey
David Strathairn ... Joe St. George
Eric Bogosian ... Peter
John C. Reilly ... Const. Frank Stamshaw
Ellen Muth ... Young Selena
Bob Gunton ... Mr. Pease
Roy Cooper Roy Cooper ... Magistrate
Wayne Robson ... Sammy Marchant
Ruth Marshall ... Secretary
Weldon Allen Weldon Allen ... Bartender
Tom Gallant Tom Gallant ... Searcher
Kelly Burnett Kelly Burnett ... Jack Donovan


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 Selena'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 <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They were separated by a death...and reunited by a murder. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dolores See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,721,920, 26 March 1995

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The ferry at the end of the movie is called the "Joshua Slocum", named for the first person to circumnavigate the globe alone. See more »


In the beginning of the movie, when Kathy Bates returns to her home, she swipes off pieces of glass on the outside of a window. Apparently the window was thrown in by an object from outside. Glass pieces would have been on the inside of the house. See more »


Dolores Claiborne: [to Selena, who is frantically taking pills] How is that going to help?
Selena St. George: Because in ten minutes, I'm gonna be fine.
Dolores Claiborne: Selena...
See more »


Referenced in Miracles and Mystery: Creating 'The Green Mile' (2006) See more »


Night in the Afternoon
Written by Hendrik Muerkens
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dolores Claiborne: Outstanding!
21 August 2018 | by PlatypuschowSee all my reviews

And the last horse crosses the finishing line! It's actually taken me until now to watch Dolores Claiborne but better late than never.

This is the very final Stephen King adaptation for me and that saddens me as I tend to very much enjoy them.

Starring Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and the excellent Christopher Plummer this thriller blew me away to an extent I simply didn't expect.

Set in New England (As all Stephen King tales tend to be) it tells the story of a woman arrested for the murder of the woman she worked for. Her arrest has lured her estranged daughter back home all the way from New York and results in family secrets being dragged kicking and screaming into the light

Alike most King works the movie heavily relies on flashbacks and it works wonders here. Over the course of over two hours the truth is gradually chipped away at until the highly impressive finale and series of twists.

Kathy Bates & Christopher Plummer are on form as always and take this already masterful tale and truly make the characters their own.

Also starring John C Reilly who would go onto do mostly comedy this is a near perfectly crafted little tale that begs the simple question "Why don't they make movies like this anymore?"

Essential viewing.

The Good:

Cast knock it out of the park

Beautifully written

Very well directed

Stunning location

The Bad:

Nothing springs to mind

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

Stephen King needs to write more books so they can adapt them into more movies before I start getting withdrawal symptoms

21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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