The Rainmaker

November 21st, 1997


more trailers The Rainmaker

Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster in
8293-5 Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster in Mickey Rourke at event of The RainmakerFrancis Ford Coppola at event of The RainmakerMickey Rourke at event of The RainmakerDanny DeVito and Rhea Perlman at event of The Rainmaker

An idealistic young lawyer and his cynical partner take on a powerful law firm representing a corrupt insurance company.

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 6.9/10 (24,583 voted)

Critic's Score: 72/100

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Stars: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes

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?

Writers: John Grisham, Francis Ford Coppola

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 - Prince Thomas
Adrian Roberts - Butch
Roy Scheider - Wilfred Keeley

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

Release Date: 21 November 1997

Filming Locations: Alameda, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $40,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $10,626,507 (USA) (23 November 1997) (2317 Screens)

Gross: $45,856,732 (USA) (15 March 1998)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Grisham's favorite of all the films adapted from his books.

Continuity: The microphone stand when Wilfred Keeley is in the witness chair.

Deck Shiffler: You know what a Rainmaker is, kid? The bucks are gonna be falling from the sky.

User Review

John Grisham, Francis Ford Coppola The Rainmaker has to be good!

Rating: 7/10

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.