John Grisham's The Rainmaker

1997, Drama, 2h 15m

50 Reviews 25,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Invigorated by its talented cast and Francis Ford Coppola's strong direction, The Rainmaker is a satisfying legal drama -- and arguably the best of Hollywood's many John Grisham adaptations. Read critic reviews

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John Grisham's The Rainmaker Videos

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Movie Info

Struggling new attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) resorts to working for a shady lawyer (Mickey Rourke), where he meets paralegal Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito). When the insurance company of Dot Black (Mary Kay Place) refuses her dying son coverage, Baylor and Shifflet team up to fight the corrupt corporation, taking on its callous lawyer (Jon Voight). Meanwhile, Baylor becomes involved with Kelly Riker (Claire Danes), an abused wife, whose husband complicates matters when he confronts Baylor.

Cast & Crew

Matt Damon
Rudy Baylor
Claire Danes
Kelly Riker
Jon Voight
Leo F. Drummond
Mickey Rourke
Bruiser Stone
Danny DeVito
Deck Shifflet
Dean Stockwell
Judge Harvey Hale
Teresa Wright
Miss Birdie
Virginia Madsen
Jackie Lemanczyk
Andrew Shue
Cliff Riker
Red West
Buddy Black
Johnny Whitworth
Donny Ray Black
Wayne Emmons
Prince Thomas
Roy Scheider
Wilfred Keeley
Randy Travis
Billy Porter
Michael Girardin
Everett Lufkin
Randall King
Jack Underhall
Justin Ashforth
F. Franklin Donaldson
Elmer Bernstein
Original Music
John Toll
Cinematographer
Melissa Kent
Film Editor
Barry Malkin
Film Editor
Howard Cummings
Production Designer
Bob Shaw
Art Direction
Barbara Munch
Set Decoration
Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for John Grisham's The Rainmaker

Critic Reviews for John Grisham's The Rainmaker

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (9)

Audience Reviews for John Grisham's The Rainmaker

  • Nov 19, 2020
    The Rainmaker is one of the better courtroom dramas and easily the best John Grisham screen adaptations. The film is full of strong character actors to support Matt Damon who was still in his earlier career roles. The success of the film lies on the strength of Francis Ford Coppola's handling of the material. The film doesn't have that standard book adaptation vibe and it's the filmmaker who guilds this from beginning to end. It's a shame the film wasn't more successful as it's a great film and deserved all the recognition for that year. The film ensures each character has a moment to shine and Matt Damon handles the central role perfectly. The freshness of the task of handling a heavy role for a filmmaker who has made some of the greatest films ever made is a testament to the actors abilities. This is one film to watch and one of the highlights for its year of release. 17/11/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2019
    Famed director Francis Ford Coppola stays true to John Grisham's novel and delivers an effective legal drama with excellent performances from top to bottom.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Aug 20, 2013
    Very good, dramatic law film. Matt Damon is great as the protagonist, and Francis Ford Coppola does a phenomenal job of directing this film, as usual.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2012
    What in the world is a rainmaker? Seriously, I was just waiting for that big climactic sequence in which Matt Damon stands up, the music swells, and then he starts marching and bouncing around a fire, and then it would start pouring in the courtroom, and in the midst of all this chaos, a little girl stands up and says "And how can this be? For he is the Kizatz Haderach! Yeah, that's what we need; to make the ending to "Dune" more forced. Hey, it wouldn't be the cheesiest thing I've seen in a courtroom drama film; not since "To Kill a Mockingbird". Yes, I said it, and don't deny that you weren't thinking it around the time that girl started freaking out in the middle of her monologue to Atticus and then "ran" out into the crowd. If I was a judge, the moment she raised her voice, the gavel would come down, and by the time she ran out into the audience, I would bring down the gavel again, only this time, on her head. The courtroom is no place for drama, and that's why courtroom dramas are at their most boring when we're actually in the courtroom, unless, of course, you look at this film, where "every" scene, in or out of the courtroom, is equally boring. Francis Coppola is a highly respectable, very strong director that broke ground with his filmmaking sensibilities in the 1970s... and now that it's the '90s, he's just gotten a little bit dull. No, I'm kidding... he's always been a little dull, and that fact certainly goes unchanged here, for although the film is never tedious, it's consistently slow. That, combined with many rather messily-handled subplots, create lulls in engagement, which of course leads to convolution. Now, these are all flaws found in a deal of Coppola's films, even "The Godfather" films. However, no matter how slow or how convoluted films get, they're always comfortably-paced. Now, we're not looking at "Munich", where most every second of an overlong film isn't just palpable, but even slower, but the pacing is certainly off, and if you're going to have a slow, sometimes unengaging film that runs a palpable 136 minutes, then you better have the goods to back that up. Well, sure enough, through all this film's faults, it hits in enough places to not only help you through the film, but make it pretty darn enjoyable. We give a lot of credit to Coppola as a solid director, but it seems as though we don't give enough credit as a writer, because the guy's good, always adding a lot of snap and intrigue in the dialogue, and this dialogue is no different. The film hits way too many slow points, but it's not hard to make it through them, because there's so much sparkle and charm in the dialogue, but when drama comes into play, the snap in the dialogue is used to really slickly drive points across. However, no matter how snappy dialogue is, they're just words on paper and matter not if they don't have people delivering them snapily. Well, sure enough, the performers bring the charisma, from the always slickly charming Matt Damon, to, of course, everyone's favorite short, balding Jersey-Italian comedian, Mr. Danny DeVito. Still, through all of the charm and comic relief, this is still a drama, and it's not only the charm of the dialogue that changes to support the more serious moments, because the performers really know how to work that charisma. Few performances are terribly tremendous, but most everyone delivers subtle, strong perfromances that play their parts in this machine well. Matt Damon particularly stands out, portraying the Rudy Baylor character with a strong, but still rather subtle aura of humanity that deeply immerses you in his situation, making him a solid avatar for the audience, yet there is still a lot that's mysterious and unstable about this man faced with realities more harsh than he ever expected, and you're often on the edge of your seat, wondering when he will break, making him a generally strong lead. Overall, the film is as slow as your usual Francis Coppola film, only with a little more messy subplot handling and a slower pacing, but you're still kept by, if nothing else, the snappy dialogue that supports our performers' charm the breaks up some pretty solid drama that is also carried by the performers, particularly Matt Damon, who's strong performance as his own man, as well as an effective avatar for the audience helps in making "The Rainmaker" a genuinely enjoyable experience. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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