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The Rainmaker (1997)

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An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent insurance company.

Writers:

John Grisham (novel), Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,884 ( 360)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Rudy Baylor
Danny DeVito ... Deck Shifflet
Claire Danes ... Kelly Riker
Jon Voight ... Leo F. Drummond
Mary Kay Place ... Dot Black
Dean Stockwell ... Judge Harvey Hale
Teresa Wright ... Colleen 'Miss Birdie' Birdsong
Virginia Madsen ... Jackie Lemancyzk
Mickey Rourke ... Bruiser Stone
Andrew Shue ... Cliff Riker
Red West ... Buddy Black
Johnny Whitworth ... Donny Ray Black
Wayne Emmons Wayne Emmons ... Prince Thomas
Adrian Roberts ... Butch
Roy Scheider ... Wilfred Keeley
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Storyline

Rudy Baylor is a young attorney out to make a difference in the justice system. He is also the only hope of an elderly couple after their corrupt insurance company refuses to payout a claim that could save their child's life. In this judicial drama, Baylor rails against corporate lawyers, corrupt judges, and abusive husbands, all with the help of a fellow lawyer who hasn't even passed his bar exam. He is facing long odds in the courtroom - and this is only his first case. Written by Steve Richer <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Grisham's The Rainmaker See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,626,507, 23 November 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$45,856,732, 15 March 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of four films shot back-to-back-to-back-to-back by Matt Damon. The first was Good Will Hunting (1997), which opened in December 1997. The second was this film, which opened in November 1997, a few weeks before Good Will Hunting (1997), his Oscar winning film. Saving Private Ryan (1998) was released in July 1998. The last one was Rounders (1998), which was filming in late November and December 1997, when this film and Good Will Hunting (1997) were released theatrically. Rounders (1998) wasn't released until September 1998, just two months after Saving Private Ryan (1998) was released. See more »

Goofs

When Deck and Rudy are having dinner at the restaurant, the veggies on Deck's plate change from mostly broccoli to cauliflower and broccoli, then back to broccoli. See more »

Quotes

[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 ...
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Michael Mann (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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 chrisbrown6453See 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.


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