The Rainmaker (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rainmaker1997

The Rainmaker (1997)



Critic 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.

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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.

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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
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Critic Reviews for The Rainmaker

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (16)

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

March 5, 2018 | Full Review…
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.

June 9, 2008

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

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Coppola adapted the novel himself, and he's done a good job of paring it down.

June 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.

February 14, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The intelligence and subtlety of The Rainmaker took me by surprise.

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

Audience Reviews for The Rainmaker

A surprisingly poor fairy tale about a young, broke lawyer (Damon) who by luck of the draw happens to become the lead lawyer in a case against a wealthy insurance company that failed to cover a low-income family's son after it was determined the type of leukemia he had required a bone marrow transplant. I was surprised this was directed by Coppola, one of the best directors all-time. What we have here is a common set-up (the young, naive lawyer vs. the big, bad insurance company), a needless subplot (Danes and Damon's affair, which amounts to nothing as far as to how the main story unfolds, not to mention a glaring plot hole near the end), and a very emotion-less ending for such an emotional story. Damon is very good, and the supporting cast couldn't be better (DeVito is a delight), but sadly it's wasted on a story that is really hard to believe.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


I have hardly ever seen a movie that is as good as the novel it is based upon, so I wasn't expecting this movie to be better than the novel. The story isn't as interesting in this movie, but the cast is great, the entertainment value is excellent, and veteran Director Francis Ford Coppola is behind the camera here. Coppola has directed movies like the epic mob masterpiece The Godfather and plenty of other great movies. This was released a couple of weeks before Matt Damon's huge hit Good Will Hunting, so this is one of his first big roles in a movie. Danny De Vito does a great job in adding plenty of humor to the movie, and Jon Voight adds a lot of dramatic effect to his character. The story follows a young lawyer who is representing the family of a boy with leukemia who could have had proper treatment, but couldn't because of a seedy insurance company. The movie pretty much follows the book, but the problem is that the book had a few great sub plots that seem absent from the movie, and one scene that happens in the middle of the movie happens in the end of the book. The scene is very intense, but it seems more like it belonged at the end of the movie, rather than the middle. This is worth watching, it is one of the best Grisham films, and there are plenty of great qualities in it.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


Interesting legal drama.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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