The Rainmaker

The Rainmaker

Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) is a young lawyer who signs on with slimy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke), learns ambulance-chasing tactics from Bruiser’s leg man Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito), and is the only hope of an elderly couple whose insurance company will not pay for an operation that could save their son’s life. Rudy learns to hate corporate America as he falls in love with a battered young married woman.



Francis Ford Coppola is both scripter and director of this drama adapted from the John Grisham novel about broke, inexperienced Memphis law-school graduate Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), ready to take any job he can find. Signing on with slimy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke), he learns ambulance-chasing tactics from Bruiser’s leg man Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito) and meets battered teen Kelly Riker (Claire Danes), abused by her husband (Andrew Shue).

Baylor has his own clients — friendly Miss Birdie (Teresa Wright), who has a large estate to dispose of, and desperate Dot Black (Mary Kay Place), whose son Donnie Ray (Johnny Whitworth) has terminal leukemia. Medical intervention could have spared his life, but the Great Benefit Insurance Company denied coverage, preventing Donnie Ray from getting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Rudy finds a place to live in the apartment behind Miss Birdie’s house. Deck and Rudy split from Bruiser to start their small firm. When they take on the Blacks’ case, they go up against the insurance company’s high-priced law firm and are continually thwarted by slick lawyer Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight).

Rudy’s voiceover narration was scripted by Michael Herr. Filmed on location in Memphis.

Synopsis written by Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

IMDB user rating: 6.8/10
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for a strong beating and elements of domestic abuse.
Runtime: 135 min

  • Golden Globe Nomination (Jon Voight for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture)
  • Sierra Award (Matt Damon for Most Promising Actor)

New York Times Critic’s Pick

Matt Damon – Rudy Baylor
Claire Danes – Kelly Riker
Jon Voight – Leo F. Drummond
Mary Kay Place – Dot Black
Mickey Rourke – Bruiser Stone
Danny DeVito – Deck Schifflet
Dean Stockwell – Judge Harvey Hale
Teresa Wright – Miss Birdie
Virginia Madsen – Jackie Lemancyzk
Andrew Shue – Cliff Riker
Red West – Buddy Black
Johnny Whitworth – Donny Ray Black
Wayne Emmons – Prince Thomas
Adrian Roberts – Butch
Roy Scheider – Wilfred Keeley
Randy Travis – Billy Porter
Michael Girardin – Everett Lufkin
Randall King – Jack Underhall
Justin Ashforth – F. Franklin Donaldson
Michael Keys Hall – B. Bobby Shaw
Danny Glover – Judge Tyrone Kipler (uncredited)


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