The Cider House Rules (1999)



Critic Consensus: The Cider House Rules has wonderful performances, lovely visuals, and an old-fashioned feel.

The Cider House Rules Videos

The Cider House Rules Photos

Movie Info

John Irving scripted this screen adaptation of his 1985 novel. Set during World War II, The Cider House Rules concerns Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), an orphan who spent most of his childhood at the St. Cloud Orphanage in rural Maine, where he grew up under the strong but affectionate care of Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine). Larch has passed along his medical education to Homer, and the young man helps the doctor care for abandoned children and the newborn babies of unwed mothers; however, Homer refuses to assist Larch with the illegal abortions that he performs on the side; Homer has moral objections to abortion, while Larch believes in the rights of the individual and sees it as his duty to keep women in need away from dangerous incompetents. Wally Worthington (Paul Rudd), an air-force pilot, brings his girlfriend Candy (Charlize Theron) to St. Cloud for an abortion, and Homer decides to go with them when they leave, hoping to see the world; however, the three end up going no further than the state line, where Wally's mother (Kate Nelligan) runs an apple orchard and cider mill, and Candy's family traps lobsters. When Wally ships off to battle, Homer grows closer to Candy, and the two fall in love. But their idyllic life at the cider mill is interrupted when Rose Rose (Erykah Badu), a field worker at the orchard, becomes pregnant and her father, cider-house foreman Mr. Rose (Delroy Lindo), turns out to be the father of her unborn child. This news coupled with the death of Dr. Larch, forces Homer to take a long look at both his moral principles and his future. Rapper Heavy D appears in the supporting cast as Peaches. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
PG-13 (for mature thematic elements, sexuality, nudity, substance abuse and some violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

Watch it now


Michael Caine
as Dr. Wilbur Larch
Paul Rudd
as Wally
Erykah Badu
as Rose Rose
Kathy Baker
as Nurse Angela
Jane Alexander
as Nurse Edna
Kieran Culkin
as Buster
Heavy D
as Peaches
Paz de la Huerta
as Mary Agnes
J.K. Simmons
as Ray Kendall
Jimmy Flynn
as Vernon
Sean Andrew
as Copperfield
John Albano
as Steerforth
Clare Daly
as Clara
Colin Irving
as Major Winslow
Patrick J. Donnelly
as Adopting Father
Edie Schechter
as Adopting Mother
Kasey Berry
as 12-Year-Old Girl
Mary Bogue
as Big Dot
Norma Fine
as Mrs. Goodhall
Daniel Walsh
as Adopted Child
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Cider House Rules

Critic Reviews for The Cider House Rules

All Critics (111) | Top Critics (26)

Hallstrom's film could have used more dramatic muscle but is nonetheless a touching, old-fashioned charmer that ultimately satisfies.

Full Review… | May 29, 2008
Top Critic

Mr. Irving remains a disturbingly facile spinner of yarns in which the most sordid facts of life are glossed over into comfortably didactic homilies about the innate goodness of people. Yet, I was somehow moved...

Full Review… | April 26, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

Hallström's humanism is possibly a little low key and romantic given such tough themes as abortion and incest.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[It] is a fable that turns into a 1940s New England variation on Charles Dickens. It is also one dickens of an American movie.

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

Perceived as too soft by some and too weird and kinky by even more.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Misses Irving's main gifts, despite his own best scriptwriting intentions.

December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Cider House Rules

Beautifully done movie...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Cider House is worth watching more than once. About orphans, ether overdoses, first love, abortions and duty.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Engaging story of the complicated relationshop between a father and a son and the orphanage they run. While the very word "orphanage" conjures visions of such mawkish emotionalism that one is prepared to ignor the film outright, the screenplay (an adaptation of his novel) by Irving and a sure hand by director (Hallestrom) make this visit to Maine a very worthy expedition.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

The Cider House Rules Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Cider House Rules on our Movie forum!

News & Features