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John Grisham's The Rainmaker (Special Collector's Edition) (1997)

Matt Damon , Danny DeVito , Francis Ford Coppola  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (512 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes, Jon Voight, Mary Kay Place
  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Francis Ford Coppola, John Grisham, Michael Herr
  • Producers: Fred Fuchs, Gary Marcus, Georgia Kacandes, Michael Douglas
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (512 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P5FH3K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,411 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "John Grisham's The Rainmaker (Special Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Watch The Rainmaker with Francis Ford Coppola
  • Francis Ford Coppola directs John Grisham's The Rainmaker
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Beggining
  • Alternate Ending
  • The Rainmaker Screen Tests

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Francis Ford Coppola directs and scripts an exciting, star-packed adaptation of John Grisham's novel about an idealistic young attorney who takes on the case of a lifetime. Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) plays Rudy Baylor, a rookie lawyer in over his head on a high-profile case. Opposing him: an army of seasoned legal sharks (led by Jon Voight). On Rudy's side: Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), a feisty "paralawyer" who specializes in flunking the bar exam. Rudy's chances are slim to none- until he uncovers a trail of corruption that might lead to the one thing that could win his case: the truth.

When viewed from a cranky perspective, this by-the-book David vs. Goliath story doesn't offer any surprises, and it's a bit sad to watch director Francis Coppola (who also adapted John Grisham's bestseller) squandering his once-glorious talent on such conventional Hollywood fare. In a more charitable light, however, there's great pleasure to be found in Coppola's intelligent, no-nonsense handling of a plot that's every bit as involving as it is formulaic. Coppola also knows how to bring out the best in a stellar cast, and this is the movie (released in November 1997, just a few weeks before Good Will Hunting) that signaled Matt Damon's arrival as a major-league star. Damon plays Rudy Baylor, a young rookie lawyer in Memphis (location of many Grisham stories) who takes on a powerful insurance company (led by a sharklike lawyer played by Jon Voight) by representing the family of a boy who was denied potentially life-saving treatment for leukemia. Rudy also comes to the rescue of an abused wife (Claire Danes) and learns the tricks of the legal trade from a seasoned paralegal (Danny DeVito), who sees Rudy as his ticket out of the sleazeball practice run by a shady lawyer (Mickey Rourke). There's no mystery about where this plot is going, but Coppola takes us there in high style with a sharp script, and Damon strikes just the right note of naivete and strategic intelligence. When Goliath inevitably falls, this courtroom David wins fair and square. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is Damon's show. March 25, 2000
Matt Damon was a relative unknown when he was tapped to play the hero of "The Rainmaker", based on a novel by John Grisham & directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was a twist of fate that launched Damon's career and definitely lifted this movie. (Ironically, Matthew McConaughey got his start the same way- being an unknown cast in a movie based on a Grisham novel.)
The plot is a classic David-vs-Goliath story- fresh out of law school Matt Damon sues an insurance company for denying treatment to a family with cancer. Ultimately Damon triumphs- the righteous cause succees and the system works. Damon is a major talent, as evidenced by his performance in this film. He's shy, unsure of himself, but basically a good person committed to doing what's right.
I wasn't too impressed by the rest of the cast- Claire Danes is a talented actress but fails to shine here. Danny DeVito is okay as Damon's law partner, and Jon Voight comes across as a none-too-interesting arrogant villain. The rest of the cast? Nobody stands out- this is Damon's show.
What impressed me about "The Rainmaker" was its hard, unflinching portrayal of the legal profession. A lawyer's life is not glamorous and does not necessarily guarantee a huge paycheck. Those quick to criticize lawyers ought to take some law courses before they open their mouths- the road to becoming a lawyer is rough and a considerable commitment of both your time and financial resources. Despite his law degree, Damon's financial picture at the beginning of the film is decidedly precarious.
Watch "The Rainmaker" along with "A Civil Action" and "Erin Brockovich" to get a pretty good idea about the way the law works & how courts give the little people an avenue to even up with big shots like corporations and insurance companies. Watch this movie in particular to see a terrific performance from Matt Damon.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GRISHAM'S LAW July 6, 2004
THE RAINMAKER is a by the numbers adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller. Director Francis Ford Coppola explores no new grounds in this film, but elicits competent and professional performances from a stellar cast. Matt Damon who plays Rudy burst onto the scene in this movie, released just before his Oscar winning screenplay and starring role in GOOD WILL HUNTING. Damon captures the youthful impetuosity and naivete of a just bar-approved lawyer who finds himself involved in a case against a big insurance company. His assistant is played by a restrained Danny DeVito. Their boss is played by an unusually understated Mickey Rourke, who shows up on screen looking halfway decent for a change. His clients are wonderfully played by Mary Kay Place and Johnny Whitworth. Jon Voight delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Damon's devilishly cold opponent; Roy Scheider has a brief scene as the CEO of the insurance company; Randy Travis has a thirty second scene as an irate juror; Virginia Madsen is wonderful in a small role as the claims adjustor who was fired; Claire Danes is appropriately cast as the abused wife who turns to Damon for help. Oscar winner Teresa Wright turns up in a lovely role as an elderly lady who wants to leave her money to a tv evangelist.
THE RAINMAKER is perhaps a little too long (it clocks in well over two hours), and offers little in the way of suspense. It is competent, involving and ultimately satisfying, however. Matt Damon proved the hoopla about to come was deserved.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I will not dwell on the details of this John Grisham story that puts the insurance industry on trial. The purpose of my comments are to let Amazon viewers know that Paramount has set July 24, 2007 for release of this wonderful movie as an anamorphic Special Collectors Edition. For those of you contemplating buying this DVD, wait until July for a nicer version without those black bars. I hope this is of help to my fellow Amazon viewers.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming. Satisfying. Vindicating. Heroic, April 3, 2005
I wasn't expecting much when I dropped this 1998 movie into the DVD player...

There is a lot to commend itself. Matt Damon gives a convincing performance of a wet-behind-the-ears lawyer who finds himself with a big case on his hands just as he passes the bar exam! Danny Devito is slimy, shady, sarcastic, and sleazy (in other words, perfect Devito) as Damon's partner.

The main story involves a poor family whose son is denied needed medical treatment for leukemia. The sleazy Big Insurance Company has denied his claim and betting that they will not press the matter. They bet wrong! Our hero, guided by some unlikely supporters and a sympathetic judge (Dixon from Alias), come to the rescue.

The pieces fit together quite nicely. Justice is served, bad guys are taken down, and Matt Damon establishes himself as an unlikely, unwilling hero and endears himself to the pretty girl in the process.

Nothing wrong with this story or this film. Very delightful and satisfying in every respect.
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53 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Fair Disc December 1, 1998
By A Customer
The Rainmaker 2.35:1/Dolby Digital 5.1 Paramount Pictures
The first adaptation of a John Grisham tale that I've really enjoyed, "The Rainmaker", directed by Francis Ford Coppola, looks at the life of a poor young Southern lawer, Rudy Baylor(Matt Damon, in a great performance) as he battles against an insurance company and it's staff of lawers(led by Jon Voight).
Baylor is battling for Donny Ray Black, a young man who's insurance claims have been turned down time and time again; Kelly Riker(Claire Danes), who lives in continuing fear of her abusive husband and Miss Birdie, an older woman who simply wants to keep her money from her greedy offspring.
This is really the best of the Grisham adaptations and I'm fairly positive it's the hand of director Coppola that has it rising above the rest; the film is crowd-pleasing sure, but it's also very smart and very well acted, with a lot of rich dialogue and some very interesting and entertaining characters. Danny Devito, as Damon's aid, has a lot of fun in a great performance; like in "LA Confidential", we're seeing Devito as his absolute peak lately. He's been picking bigger and especially, much better roles lately. Matt Damon's first major performance in this film is also very well done, yet another in his line of subtle, wonderful performances along with "Courage Under Fire" and "Good Will Hunting." Much like Damon's last film "Rounders", I also thought his narration in this film was well done and well written(by Michael Herr)
Overall, it's an excellent film, well directed, acted and written. It's a well-told tale by Ford Coppola and it's highly entertaining. "The Rainmaker" was one of my picks for the top 10 films of 1997.
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