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The Rain People (1969)

Robert Duvall, Shirley Knight James Caan , Francis Ford Coppola  |  R |  DVD-R  What's this?
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Duvall, Shirley Knight James Caan
  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BMQN1U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,376 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Rain People" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Unsure of herself, two months pregnant and feeling trapped, Natalie Ravenna leaves her sleeping husband a note and drives away from her Long Island home one rainy morning to find herself. Natalie is the heroine of Francis Ford Coppola's intensely moving The Rain People. Ahead of its time from both filmmaking and feminist points of view, the film took Coppola and his eight-vehicle crew through 18 sattes, lending this poignant tale a realistic rootless tone.

On board were three actors who brought a searing truth to the project: Shirley Knight as Natalie and future stars of The Godfather James Caan and Robert Duvall as the lonely men who bring tenderness and tragedy Natalie's way. What they and Coppola brought our way is a movie that still touches us a generation later.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked early Coppola effort December 18, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
A brilliant character study of a pregnant woman who runs out on her husband and hits the road with no destination in mind. Years ahead of its time with its feminist viewpoint, this early Coppola film is sadly one of his least viewed. Shirley Knight is excellent as the troubled woman and James Caan is perfect as killer, a brain damaged ex-football player who Knight ends up befriending. The Rain People is a good example of 70's cinema when characters mattered more than special effects or action-packed plots.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of Chicks and People June 29, 2009
Format:DVD-R
Three years before THE GODFATHER (1972) was released, director Francis Ford Coppola and actors James Caan and Robert Duvall worked together on THE RAIN PEOPLE. Scripted by Coppola, this movie combines feminism with elements of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella, OF MICE AND MEN.

According to Jimmy 'Killer' Kilgannon, "rain people" are normal-sized folks who are made of raindrops; when they cry themselves out, the rain people disappear.

SYNOPSIS--
Natalie Ravenna (Knight) is pregnant and panicked. Feeling trapped, Nat flees her Long Island marriage to Vinny (Modica--voice only) and hits the road to points unknown. She picks up an attractive young crewcut-topped hitchhiker. 'Killer' Kilgannon (Caan) played varsity football until a severe head injury left him brain-disabled. Killer remained at the college, raking leaves for them until he was given $1000 and told to go away.

Feeling sympathy for this sweet but simple-minded fellow, Natalie offers a ride to West Virginia, where Killer believes his ex-girlfriend's dad has a drive-in theater job waiting for him. When they arrive unannounced, Ellen (Crews) tells her father not to hire Killer and she rudely demands that he and Nat leave.

Natalie abandons Killer in Chattanooga, but has second thoughts. Continuing west, they stop at a small Nebraska town, where Nat finds a utility job for Killer at a reptile zoo. His new employer, Mr. Alfred (Aldredge) convinces the young man to hand over all his cash for safekeeping. Natalie fears Alfred will cheat Killer out of that savings but is more concerned about escaping alone.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unjustly Forgotten Classic February 25, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This movie isn't without its faults -- find me one that isn't -- but as one of the earliest movies about a woman taking her life into her own hands, it stands as one of the all-time greats. Compare this to the much better known "Thelma and Louise," in which two women, merely bored, take off on their own and wreak a path of destruction for no other purpose than to prove they can. By contrast, Shirley Knight's character is suffering real and believable angst for a concrete purpose, and actually does something about it. Even minor characters are three-dimensional, and it's interesting to see James Caan and Robert Duvall before they settle into the predictable stock roles that continue to dominate their careers. Watch the credits closely -- this was one of George Lucas' first movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Early Masterwork From Coppola August 4, 2009
Format:DVD-R
If Francis Ford Coppola is to get back into the game it would do him no harm in returning to small films like this and "The Conversation" as a point of reference. This film seers itself into your consciousness more than a million "One From the Hearts" ever will. The film concerns itself with a young Long Island housewife(Shirley Knight) who feels trapped in her marriage and takes it on the lam to sort things out. She's two months pregnant and is confused as to whether to carry it to term. Along the way she picks up a handsome ex-college football player(James Caan) and soon it becomes apparent that he is more than a little slow on the intake. Despite her half-hearted efforts to ditch him she cannot extricate herself from him, probably a combination of his neediness and her nascent maternal instincts. In Nebraska, she hooks up with an apparently nice highway patrolman(Robert Duvall) and it's her encounter with him that brings the story to a memorably tragic conclusion. If one is to describe "The Rain People" it would be to say it is humanistic. The characters are flawed but Coppola paints them as inticate human beings. Two things stand out here for me. The heartbreaking telephone conversations between Knight and the husband she left behind. The fact that one is a disembodied voice adds power to these encounters. Caan's performance is one for the ages. His Jimmy is not a cliched depiction of a mentally challenged person but one of great nuance. His work here stands alongside his Sonny in "The Godfather". This film may not be well known but that doesn't obscure it's greatness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coppola's rarely-seen masterpiece. July 13, 2009
Format:DVD-R
THE RAIN PEOPLE (1969)

Shirley Knight, James Caan, and Robert Duvall are all brilliant in Coppola's existential masterpiece.

Filmed for under a million dollars at the time, Coppola's European aesthetics pervade the desolate highways and shattered psyches of the American West in a film that the director has unabashedly claimed to be one of his personal favorites.

There's no way that a film of this scope would get financial backing in an epoch that is driven wholly by box office receipts, and this film, like many others from that period, revolutionised the quality of American cinema, raising the bar for many, many years to come.

This period of the late sixties and early-to-mid seventies represents the artistic height of American cinema, and THE RAIN PEOPLE - a minor film crafted by one of America's finest directors - deservedly sits amongst the EASY RIDER's and the TAXI DRIVER's; film's that encapsulate the decline of the counterculture revolution, and the forthcoming anxieties that were spawned from post-Vietnam America.

Before Coppola signed on to make THE GODFATHER, he had said that all he wanted to do was write and direct original screenplays. THE CONVERSATION was born out of this pretense, and look at how significant that film is in Coppola's oeuvre.

THE RAIN PEOPLE is of the same high-standard, and now that it's available for the first time on DVD, audiences can finally get a glimpse of a purely 'independent' Coppola, and how he perceived himself artistically before THE GODFATHER hurricane hit only a few years later.

5/5
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Love Shirley Knight...just not this film
I wanted to like this movie, but it never got off the ground.
Published 9 days ago by Lisa T
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Not as good as I supposes thaïs mouviez to be.
Published 2 months ago by Helena Novak
2.0 out of 5 stars Practice makes perfect
Looking at "The Rain People" you would never believe that the people who made this film ultimately would go on to fame and fortune. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dr. James Gardner
2.0 out of 5 stars Rained out people
I had seen this when it was released and thought I'd get it to see it again (not available on Netflix - now I know why). Read more
Published 22 months ago by Pamm Mosey
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
1969 was the year of the road film, no small part due to Easy Rider. Rain People is one of the best of these. Read more
Published on September 8, 2009 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD!!Great Early Coppola film!!
I'm glad to see this early Coppola Film on DVD.Now hopefully,they would add a special feature"The Making of The Rain People",that would make a great addition!
Published on June 1, 2007 by West Virginia Wonder
4.0 out of 5 stars Overdue for a proper DVD release...
If this title should EVER see the light of day on DVD, it should include as one of its supplemental materials the

hour-long 16mm documentary, "Filmmaker" shot by George... Read more
Published on September 27, 2006 by Kris C. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating portrayal of freedom and responsibility
Shirley Knight plays a young Long Island housewife who finds herself pregnant and unsure she wants the child. She bolts out the door and hits the road in a station wagon. Read more
Published on December 23, 2005 by Bomojaz
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