The Hurricane (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hurricane (1999)

The Hurricane (1999)

The Hurricane



Critic Consensus: Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story.

The Hurricane Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In 1966, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a top-ranked middleweight boxer whom many fight fans expected to become world champion. When three people were shot to death in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey, Carter and his friend John Artis, driving home from another club in Paterson, were stopped and questioned by police. Although the police asserted that Carter and Artis "were never suspects," a man named Alfred Bello, himself a suspect in the killings, claimed that Carter and Artis were present at the time of the murders. On the basis of Bello's testimony, Carter and Artis were convicted of murder, and Carter was given three consecutive life sentences. Throughout the trial, Carter proclaimed his innocence, saying that his African-American race and work as a civil rights activist were the real reasons for his conviction. In 1974, Bello and Arthur Bradley, who also claimed that Carter was present at the scene of the crimes, recanted their testimony, but Carter and Artis were reconvicted. In the early 1980s, Brooklyn teenager Lesra Martin worked with a trio of Canadian activists to push the State of New Jersey to reinvestigate Carter's case; in 1985, a Federal District Court ruled that the prosecution in Carter's second trial committed "grave constitutional violations" and that his conviction was based on racism rather than facts. Carter was finally freed, and he summed up his story by saying, "Hate got me into this place, love got me out." The Hurricane is based on Carter's incredible true story and stars Denzel Washington as Carter, Vicellous Shannon as Lesra Martin, and John Hannah, Liev Schreiber and Deborah Unger as the Canadian activists. Veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison directed. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (for language and some violence)
Genre: Drama, Sports & Fitness, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Armyan Bernstein, Dan Gordon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 11, 2000
Universal Pictures - Official Site


Denzel Washington
as Rubin Carter
John Hannah
as Terry Swinton
Deborah Kara Unger
as Lisa Peters
Liev Schreiber
as Sam Chaiton
David Paymer
as Myron Bedlock
Dan Hedaya
as Det. Della Pesca
Harris Yulin
as Leon Friedman
Debbi Morgan
as Mae Thelma
Clancy Brown
as Lt. Jimmy Williams
Rod Steiger
as Judge Sarokin
Garland Whitt
as John Artis
Vincent Pastore
as Alfred Bello
Al Waxman
as Warden
David Lansbury
as U.S. Court Prosecuto...
Chuck Cooper
as Earl Martin
Marcia Bennett
as Jean Wahl
Beatrice Winde
as Louise Cockersham
William Raymond
as Paterson Judge
Merwin Goldsmith
as Judge Larner
John A. MacKay
as Man at Falls
Donnique Privott
as Boy at the Falls
Moynan King
as Tina Barbieri
Gary DeWitt Marshall
as Nite Spot Cabbie
John Christopher Jon...
as Reporter at Bar
Gwendolyn Mulamba
as Nite Spot Woman
Richard Davidson
as Paterson Detective
Tonye Patano
as Woman at Prison
Fulvio Cecere
as Paterson Policeman
Phillip Jarrett
as Soldier No. 1 in U.S...
Rodney "Bear" Jackso...
as Soldier No. 2 in U.S...
Judi Embden
as Woman in U.S.O. Club
Terry Claybon
as Emile Griffith
Ben Bray
as Joey Giordello
Michael Justus
as Joey Cooper
Kenneth McGregor
as Detective at Hospita...
Frank Proctor
as Pittsburgh Ring Anno...
Peter Wylie
as Pittsburgh Referee
David Gray
as Pittsburgh TV Announ...
Joe Matheson
as Philadelphia Ring An...
Bill Lake
as Philadelphia TV Anno...
Robin Ward
as Reading, PA TV Annou...
Harry Davis
as Reading, PA Referee
Pippa Pearthree
as Patty Valentine
Jean Daigle
as Detective
Robert Lindsay Evans
as Detective at Layfaye...
Scott Gibson
as Reporter at Banquet
Ann Holloway
as Cashier
Jim Bearden
as Lieutenant
Bruce McFee
as Prison Guard
Satori Shakoor
as Prison Guard
Zoran Radusinovic
as Prison Guard
Stephen Lee Wright
as Prison Guard
Michael Bodnar
as Prison Guard
Carson Manning
as Prison Guard
Richard Litt
as Prison Guard
Adam Large
as Prison Guard
Douglas E. Hughes
as Prison Guard
Peter Graham
as Prisoner With Camera
Lawrence Sacco
as New Jersey Policeman
David Frisch
as New Jersey Policeman
Ralph Brown
as Federal Court Assist...
Dyron Holmes
as Reporter
Ryan Williams
as Elstan Martin
Bruce Vavrina
as St. Joseph's Doctor
Brenda Braxton
as Dancer with John Art...
Christopher Riordan
as Jury Foreman
Bill Raymond
as Paterson Judge
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hurricane

Critic Reviews for The Hurricane

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (31)

Facile and unpersuasive.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie's dogged humorlessness, and its sixties-style cant, don't do justice to all the political crosscurrents in this story.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

A reminder that there's still a lot to be said for the good old-fashioned inspirational Hollywood movie.

Full Review… | April 25, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Give director Norman Jewison credit for two things: 1) He made the movie; 2) He let Washington run away with it.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Stirring but schmaltzy.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Denzel dazzles in biopic of imprisoned boxer.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Hurricane

Powerful story

Spencer Macklin
Spencer Macklin

Super Reviewer

Norman Jewison's The Hurricane is a pulse pounding drama about middle weight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who was wrongly imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. Denzel Washington stars in the lead role, and he gives a stunning performance, and it ranks among his strongest of his career. This is a film that boasts a strong story with equally great acting. Norman Jewison crafts a worthwhile film that is a near flawless biopic. Like I previously stated, Washington delivers here, and he carries the film. He is the perfect choice to play Rubin Carter. The film has its flaws, as it tends to get a bit too dramatic, luckily it does manage to tone it down to make this film a well crafted Drama. The story is compelling and entertaining from start to finish. What I love the most about Denzel Washington is how he delivers a performance. He is a fine actor who is very talented, and he yet Again brings a stunning performance. With his powerful performance as Rubin Carter, he elevates the film's strength to overcome its flaws. This is a great film that is worth seeing if you love Washington's work. The film is powerful and poignant. Aside the plot, which is well layered, the film does carry an important message and it will certainly carry on with viewers. The message is that if society does you a wrong, in this case, a wrongful murder conviction, then it's worth fighting for if you strongly believe that person is innocent, and in the case of The Hurricane, it shows how crooked the system is and how right can prevail. Norman Jewison has made a fine drama that tells a very good story and is elevated by a wonderful cast of terrific talented. If you're looking for one of Denzel Washington's finest roles, you will be more than satisfied with The Hurricane.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

"While this picture is based upon a true story, some characters have been composited or invented, and a number of incidents fictionalized."

Now that's the disclaimer at the very outset of the movie. So take your pick for who's to be blamed for those having problems with fictionalization of true events here. Whatever manipulations and distortions are carried out are probably done taking into account the well-being of the movie makers and its viewers in 'general'. Overall, I was fine with it although I felt that they should have been a bit more specific about certain things when the movie ended. The movie wasn't appropriately edited and could have used some more trimming. Over dramatization was another problem that irritated me. But all in all, it's a watchable fare with regular performances.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

The Hurricane Quotes

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter: I'll always be the Hurricane and the Hurricane is beautiful.
– Submitted by Johnny W (3 years ago)
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter: I will bend time to my own clock. When the prison is awake, I will sleep. When they sleep, I will wake. I will live neither in their cell, nor in my own heart, only in my mind and my spirit.
– Submitted by Ryan B (3 years ago)
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter: You're in my seat, country.
– Submitted by Jacob C (3 years ago)
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter: [to Lesra] Hate put me in prison. Love's gonna bust me out.
– Submitted by Sam B (4 years ago)

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