The Rainmaker

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.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,363
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Movie Info

A broke, inexperienced law-school grad takes on a huge Insurance company to fight for a woman whose son has terminal leukemia. The insurance company won't pay for the life-saving operation, so it is up to lawyer Rudy to fight for the boy's life.

Cast

Matt Damon
as Rudy Baylor
Claire Danes
as Kelly Riker
Danny DeVito
as Deck Schifflet
Jon Voight
as Leo F. Drummond
Mary Kay Place
as Dot Black
Mickey Rourke
as Bruiser Stone
Dean Stockwell
as Judge Harvey Hale
Teresa Wright
as Miss Birdie
Virginia Madsen
as Jackie Lemancyzk
Andrew Shue
as Cliff Riker
Red West
as Buddy Black
Roy Scheider
as Wilfred Keeley
Randy Travis
as Billy Porter
Danny Glover
as Judge Tyrone Kipler
Johnny Whitworth
as Donny Ray Black
Wayne Emmons
as Prince Thomas
Michael Girardin
as Everett Lufkin
Randall King
as Jack Underhall
Justin Ashforth
as F. Franklin Donaldson
Michael Keys Hall
as B. Bobby Shaw
Michael Herr
as Narration
James Cunningham
as J. Michael Floquet
Frank Clem
as Mr. Van Landel
Alan Woolf
as Kermit Aldy
Sonny Shroyer
as Delbert Birdsong
Pamela Tice Chapman
as Vera Birdsong
Trula M. Marcus
as Jewelry Saleswoman
Tony Dingman
as Bruiser's Driver
Tom Kagy
as Homicide Detective
John Yancey
as Homicide Detective
Chris Gray
as Jury Foreman
Johnetta Shearer
as Courtroom Clerk
Tammy Wendel
as Court Reporter
Nate Bynum
as Mr. McKenzie
James W. Redmond
as CNN Reporter
Billy Ray Reynolds
as Murder Scene Bystander
Mary Lester
as Murder Scene Bystander
Deborah Frazier
as St. Peter's Receptionist
Vernon Newman
as Great Benefit Salesman
Lynn Carthane
as Newscaster
Rodney Peck
as Rehab Center Desk Clerk
Bill Lunn
as Himself
Terrance Stewart
as Boy with Broken Arm
Bridget Brunner
as Bruiser's Receptionist
Mike Cody
as Tinley Britt Lawyer
Donald Polden
as Legal Commentator
Eloise Dukes
as Court Clerk
Katherine Morrow
as Deposition Court Reporter
Alex Harvey
as Bar Exam Proctor
Melissa Hurst
as Waitress at Bar
View All

News & Interviews for The Rainmaker

Critic Reviews for The Rainmaker

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (8)

  • A wonderfully quirky cast under Francis Ford Coppola's direction makes this one of the more enjoyable Grisham movies.

    Mar 5, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Coppola has never been particularly known for his comic touch, but here he seems bent on leavening the melodrama with as many laughs as possible, and they are generally honest and well-earned.

    Jun 9, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • This competent, anonymous legal drama (scripted by Michael Herr) is the best John Grisham adaptation yet.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Coppola adapted the novel himself, and he's done a good job of paring it down.

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Coppola has infused The Rainmaker with enough humor, character, honest emotion and storytelling style to make it one of the year's most entertaining movies.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The intelligence and subtlety of The Rainmaker took me by surprise.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Rainmaker

  • 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
  • Sep 08, 2009
    It was a very powerful movie with a great message. The acting was great. It was funny, too!
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer

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