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The Rainmaker (1951) 1956 NR CC

4.7 out of 5 stars (93) IMDb 7.1/10

Under the spell of a wandering charlatan named Starbuck, a lonely ranch girl blossoms into full womanhood.

Starring:
Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn
Runtime:
2 hours, 1 minute

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Product Details

Genres Western, Romance
Director Joseph Anthony
Starring Burt Lancaster, Katharine Hepburn
Supporting actors Wendell Corey, Lloyd Bridges, Earl Holliman, Cameron Prud'Homme, Wallace Ford, Yvonne Lime, Michael Bachus, Dottie Bee Baker, Kenneth Becker, John Benson, Joe Brown, Stan Jones, Walter Merrill, Frank Mills, James Stone, Dan White
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) is a charlatan selling multi-flavored hopes of fulfilled dreams. Take your pick: early-warning tornado devices or cumulous nimbus over drought stricken cattle. It requires more than animated gestures and wild stories to satisfy the matrimonial desires of aging Lizzie Curry (Katherine Hepburn). Their paths cross in the Southwest as THE RAINMAKER promises thunder to the Curry family of hopefuls and hopeless.

At 49 - just six years older than Lancaster, Hepburn appears old enough to be mother to her theatrical siblings - a mistaken assumption expressed by daffy brother Jim (Earl Holliman) when he remarks how wonderful it would be for her to conceive a child so he could have a little brother. Nevertheless, the vigorous passion of this Old Maid desiring change without changing well compliments the undesputed Star - buck. From the moment he enters a scene, Lancaster steals the show with prolific lines of what Hepburn shamelessly labels "bunk."

The smile that overcomes me when the film begins is frequently interrupted by tears of joy and thunderous outbursts of laughter. I love it when a DVD investment pays off this well. Put your faith in THE RAINMAKER.

Movie quote: "Rain is rain, brother. It comes from the sky. It's a wetness known as water - 'aqua pura.' Mammals drink it. Fish swim in it. Little boys wade in it. And the birds flap their wings and sing like sunrise. Water! I recommend it."
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Format: DVD
I first saw this film when I was 10, and fell instantly in love with Burt Lancaster. His enthusiasm, amazing smile and sheer energy make this story a joy to watch. Katherine Hepburn always struck me as a little too old for the part, but she is so good that you can't imagine anyone else playing Lizzie. When I saw Burt Lancaster later in Elmer Gantry, I was stuck by the likeness to his character Starbuck in The Rainmaker; Starbuck is a sweeter, less manipulative charater than Gantry. The Rainmaker is set in a western town suffering from a drought; into the town comes Starbuck, a seller of hope in the form of a promise to make it rain. He meets Lizzie, an "old maid" who longs for a man to love her, and the promise of children and security this brings. This is a very sweet story; while I could not understand Lizzie's final choice when I was younger, now I can see what she wanted and why she made the decision she did. This is a charming film, and it is lovely to see it looking to clear and bright on DVD.
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By gy knott on September 10, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Everytime this movie came on T.V. I watched. Then I decided I might as well get it for myself. I am thrilled I did. The look, the sound - all are great. Very pleased.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Behold "The Rainmaker" with Katherine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. As in a fairy tale, a magician (or snake-oil salesman) arrives in a town beset by drought and encounters a family suffering from an emotional drought. He restores vitality all around by asserting that hope and vitality are the true nature and condition of life.

"The Rainmaker" is another "stagey" film. Oddly, a Western with automobiles and telephones, it also has Starbuck--a fast-talking con-man who travels from town to town sensing what the populace needs like a dowser searching for water, escaping the law before they realize he hasn't delivered it. He encounters a town that was "The most prosperous around (until the drought hit.") Sizing up the situation, he quickly a finds a family suffering from an emotional drought. The Father's spiritual leadership has been supplanted by his eldest son's heartless commom-sense practicality that is crushing his rambunctious kid-brother and his "plain" spinster-sister.

Starbuck's arrival disrupts the family and creates an uproar. Kid brother and plain sister revolt, father re-asserts his moral authority, the deputy sherrif (sister's reluctant suitor) breaks the confines of his emotional cocoon (another drought image?) vitality is inevitably returned to the people and their plagued world, and Starbuck himself finds that thing within himself that he's always been looking for. A Helluva 24 hours on a ranch in the early 1900's.

It plays like an opera: dramatic, funny, poigniant, and wise. And it's a Greek tragedy: pestilence and plague, the decline of a monarch, rebelion amongst the family, a young soldier forced to take a bold stand--and, of course, Starbuck-- a wizard, a god, a force of nature reminding the world and its inhabitants where and who they are.
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Format: DVD
Well, the different countries of the World had produced different products. Spain made much universal dreams. One is Don Quijote. Many people thinks Don Quijote is a madman.
But I think no. We see this movie: in a ranch Southwest of the USA, it doesn't rain many times ago. Lizzie Curry is single woman played by Katharine Hepburn who isn't physically attractive and passes his life in cooking and caring of the house for his father and two brothers. A life mostly vegetative and a raw survival.
But this is the case, for me, the real madman is his brother Noah Curry. This a very realistic man until the extreme he's brutal, because naked truth can be so, and does from life a desert without any illusion, killing any desire. Noah is good, but he's blind for life, his reality and truth being deadly and sterile.
Then, appears Starbucks, AKA Tornado Johnson, played by Burt Lancaster, a con man, but not a evil one but mostly a dreamer unable to recognize daily reality, but with the marvelous ability to induce hope in the life of others. One is Lizzie. Many people is capable to do daily work, but few to produce hope.
Summing up, a good movie that shows life is a very delicate balance, but worthless without hope. There are in life many thieves of hope.
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