A big city reporter travels to a small town where her mother has been arrested for the murder of an elderly woman for whom she worked as a housekeeper.

Director:

Taylor Hackford

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathy Bates ... Dolores Claiborne
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Selena St. George
Judy Parfitt ... Vera Donovan
Christopher Plummer ... Detective John Mackey
David Strathairn ... Joe St. George
Eric Bogosian ... Peter
John C. Reilly ... Constable Frank Stamshaw
Ellen Muth ... Young Selena
Bob Gunton ... Mr. Pease
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
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Storyline

Instead of heading to Arizona for her next big story in what has been her illustrious career in her relatively young life, New York based investigative journalist Selena St. George heads to her hometown on a small island just off the coast of Jonesport, Maine upon receiving a fax from an anonymous sender that her mother, Dolores Claiborne, is the only suspect in what looks to be the murder of her wealthy employer of twenty-three years, Vera Donovan. Dolores, who reassumed her maiden name following the death of Selena's father, Joe St. George, started working as one of Vera's domestics upon her moving permanently into what used to be the Donovans' summer house after Jack Donovan's passing, Dolores ultimately moving into the Donovan house full time as her caregiver when Vera required 'round the clock care. Dolores' employment, which was solely to save money for Selena's education, was despite miserly and overly particular Vera only paying a pittance. Selena has been estranged from ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 90298 delivered on 28 July 1995. See more »

Goofs

The eclipse is dated early in the movie as occurring in 1975. However, according to the NASA Sunsearch database records, there were no solar eclipses (total or annular) on Earth in all of 1975. Additionally, from 1961 to 1980 there were no total eclipses visible in the filming locations. The closest was visible only in the Pacific Northwest in February of 1979. See more »

Quotes

Dolores Claiborne: It was just a bad patch.
Selena St. George: I had a fucking nervous breakdown, mother!
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Connections

Referenced in Secret Window (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen
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User Reviews

 
Excellent, underrated, Bates is brilliant
24 March 2005 | by fwmurnauSee all my reviews

Somehow this gripping, brilliantly-acted thriller was overlooked and underrated when it was first released in 1995, but it's probably the best movie ever made from a Stephen King story.

Kathy Bates has never been better. Her acting is so strong, deep, and subtle, it's outrageous that she wasn't even nominated for the Academy Award. I think it's because the film was released early in the year and was out of theatres already when the nominations were made. She's better here than about ten Oscar-winning actors I can think of, put together -- a one-woman textbook of how to act for the screen.

Bates won an Oscar for MISERY, but she's better here, because the story and the character are more interesting, complex and challenging. With flawless technique, and great depth of feeling, she delivers one of the finest screen performances of the 1990s.

Okay, the denouement's a bit strained, and there's a sprinkling of stilted, hokey lines (Stephen King was never good at writing believable dialogue, and his addition of forced scatology and cussing doesn't make it any less stilted.) But overall the complicated story, which flashes back and forth over a period of twenty years, is extremely well-told. The constant shifting from past to present is never confusing -- an achievement in itself!

This film never found its audience, somehow, and even some critics missed how good it was. I notice Maltin's book now raves over the film, giving it 3 1/2 stars, the same rating he gives to THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. The violence here is more psychological than bloody, but DOLORES is every bit as good a thriller as LAMBS, and Bates, quite frankly, can act circles around Jodie Foster.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dolores Claiborne See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,721,920, 26 March 1995

Gross USA:

$24,361,867

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,361,867
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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