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

574 customer reviews

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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

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

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 (574 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000P5FH3K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,354 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "John Grisham's The Rainmaker (Special Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Berquist on March 25, 2000
Format: DVD
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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 6, 2004
Format: DVD
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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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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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E Ellis on April 3, 2005
Format: DVD
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on March 31, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Adapted from a novel by John Grisham, The Rainmaker details the life of a young and poor lawyer, Rudy Baylor. Based in the South, Baylor takes on several cases: a young man battling leukemia (and the Great Benefits healthcare provider), an elderly wealthy woman revising her will, and a married woman suffering domestic violence. Donny Ray Black's case serves as the central storyline for The Rainmaker, though the movie follows Baylor and his interactions with all his clients and legal staff. Rudy Baylor serves as an exception to the legal system as a whole, and is portrayed as a man who is genuinely concerned for the well being of his clients.
The Rainmaker is a well directed and acted film. Its characters, plot, and situations make the video both educational and entertaining to watch. Matt Damon, who plays Rudy Baylor, is at his best. The supporting roles played by Danny Devito (Deck Schifflet) and Claire Danes (Kelly Riker) add to the moving storylines. The most fascinating aspect of the movie, however, is its exploration of the legal ethics. The audience is encouraged to form their own opinions of the principles within the legal system from The Rainmaker's plot.
Though Rudy Baylor becomes too involved with his cases, he teaches the viewers an important lesson about legal careers and life in general: that people respond to those who care. Baylor experiences both criticism and praise in his cases, and ultimately, he accomplishes several important tasks- overcoming the fraudulent Great Benefits health insurance company, freeing Riker from abuse within her marriage, and developing a trusting relationship with the older woman. The Rainmaker is both a worthwhile and thought-provoking film that explores the legal system and ethics while absorbing the interest of the film's audience.
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