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The Hurricane (17-Sep-1999)

Director: Norman Jewison

Writers: Armyan Bernstein; Dan Gordon

From memoir: The 16th Round by Hurricane Carter

Based on a book: Lazarus and the Hurricane by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton

Music by: Christopher Young

Producers: Armyan Bernstein; John Ketcham; Norman Jewison

Keywords: Drama, Prison, Boxing, Bad Cops

[watch trailer]

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Clancy Brown
5-Jan-1959   Kurgan in Highlander
John Hannah
23-Apr-1962   Four Weddings and a Funeral
Dan Hedaya
24-Jul-1940   Bestubbled character actor, Blood Simple
Debbi Morgan
20-Sep-1956   Dr. Angela Hubbard All My Children
Vincent Pastore
14-Jul-1946   Big Pussy on The Sopranos
Tonye Patano
1961   Heylia James on Weeds
David Paymer
30-Aug-1954   Mr. Saturday Night
Liev Schreiber
4-Oct-1967   Actor, voiceover talent
Rod Steiger
14-Apr-1925 9-Jul-2002 In The Heat of the Night
Deborah Kara Unger
12-May-1963   Bangkok Hilton
Denzel Washington
28-Dec-1954   Training Day
Al Waxman
2-Mar-1935 18-Jan-2001 Lt. Samuels on Cagney and Lacey
Harris Yulin
5-Nov-1937   Roger Stanton on 24


Denzel Washington   ...   Rubin Carter
John Hannah   ...   Terry
Deborah Kara Unger   ...   Lisa
Liev Schreiber   ...   Sam
Vicellous Reon Shannon   ...   Lesra
David Paymer   ...   Myron Bedlock
Dan Hedaya   ...   Della Pesca
Harris Yulin   ...   Leon Friedman
Debbi Morgan   ...   Mae Thelma
Clancy Brown   ...   Lt. Jimmy Williams
Rod Steiger   ...   Judge Sarokin
Chuck Cooper   ...   Earl Martin
Badja Djola   ...   Mobutu
Vincent Pastore   ...   Alfred Bello
David Lansbury   ...   U.S. Court Prosecutor
Al Waxman   ...   Warden
Garland Whitt   ...   John Artis
Beatrice Winde   ...   Louise Cockersham
Bill Raymond   ...   Paterson Judge
Brenda Thomas Denmark   ...   Alma Martin
Marcia Bennett   ...   Jean Wahl
Mitchell Taylor, Jr.   ...   Young Rubin
Merwin Goldsmith   ...   Judge Larner
John A. MacKay   ...   Man at Falls
Donnique Privott   ...   Boy at Falls
Moynan King   ...   Tina Barbieri
Gary DeWitt Marshall   ...   Nite Spot Cabbie
John Christopher Jones   ...   Reporter at Bar
Gwendolyn Mulamba   ...   Nite Spot Woman
Richard M. Davidson   ...   Paterson Detective
George Odom   ...   Big Ed
Tonye Patano   ...   Woman at Prison
Fulvio Cecere   ...   Paterson Policeman
Phillip Jarrett   ...   Soldier #1 in U.S.O. Club
Rodney M. Jackson   ...   Soldier #2 in U.S.O. Club
Judi Embden   ...   Woman in U.S.O. Club
Terry Claybon   ...   Emile Griffith
Ben Bray   ...   Joey Giardello
Michael Justus   ...   Joey Cooper
Kenneth McGregor   ...   Detective at Hospital
Frank Proctor   ...   Pittsburgh Ring Announcer
Peter Wylie   ...   Pittsburgh Referee
David Gray   ...   Pittsburgh TV Announcer
Joe Matheson   ...   Philadelphia Ring Announcer
Bill Lake   ...   Philadelphia TV Announcer
Robin Ward   ...   Reading, PA TV Announcer
Harry Davis   ...   Reading, PA Referee
Pippa Pearthree   ...   Patty Valentine
Jean Daigle   ...   Detective
Robert Evans   ...   Detective at Lafayette Bar
Scott Gibson   ...   Reporter at Banquet
Ann Holloway   ...   Cashier
Bruce McFee   ...   Prison Guard
Conrad Bergschneider   ...   Prison Guard
Satori Shakoor   ...   Prison Guard
Zoran Radusinovic   ...   Prison Guard
Stephen Lee Wright   ...   Prison Guard
Michael Bodnar   ...   Prison Guard
Carson Manning   ...   Prison Guard
Debrah Ellen Waller   ...   Prison Guard
Richard Litt   ...   Prison Guard
Adam Large   ...   Prison Guard
Peter Graham   ...   Prisoner with Camera
George Masswohl   ...   Mechanic
Lawrence Sacco   ...   New Jersey Policeman
David Frisch   ...   New Jersey Policeman
Ralph Brown   ...   Federal Court Assistant Prosecutor
Dyron Holmes   ...   Reporter
Ryann Williams   ...   Elstan Martin
Bruce Vavrina   ...   St. Joseph's Doctor
Brenda Braxton   ...   Dancer with John Artis
Christopher Riordan   ...   Jury Foreman


Review by anonymous (posted on 19-Sep-2006)

There are a lot of things wonderful about this film. Anyone who has seen this film without viewing the bonus features should watch it again in order to hear director Jewison explain scene deletion or selection decisions. This is like a tuition-free “master class” into the mindset of a clout-heavy big production director. Denzel Washington’s compelling, physically transformative performance (he trained for a year prior to beginning filming), validates Hollywood’s recognition of him as filmdom’s best actor. Seeing and hearing the actual Reuben Carter and the teenager who befriended him is a special treat, adding a documentary flavor. A great story of the weaknesses of the criminal justice system, but it also is a wonderful study on learning to live without bitterness. It has coarse language and adult themes with brief nudity—it’s a prison movie, for goodness sakes!—but with some helpful guidance, it is appropriate for youth over 13 years. Trivia: if you get a “Shawshank Redemption” déjà vu feeling during some prison scenes, having the same compassionate prison guard appear in both movies may be a contributing factor.

Review by Walter Frith (posted on 8-Jun-2007)

Norman Jewison's attachment to racial issues in film is hardly new for the great director. Before 'The Hurricane', he has tackled the issue with two of Hollywood's more under appreciated films, 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'A Soldier's Story' (which helped Denzel Washington gain major recognition). Neither film made the 1998 list of 100 greatest films as selected by the American Film Institute and the latter wasn't even a nominee in the final 400 nominees out of 40,000 American films from the first century of film 1896-1996. In fact, from 'The Cincinnati Kid' to 'Fiddler on the Roof' to 'Moonstruck', Jewison didn't get a film on the final 100 list and that's a travesty. As a fellow countryman from Canada, I admire Jewison's trek to get international recognition and he still may win an Oscar one day. But 'The Hurricane' won't earn him one. This is an absorbing but slow moving motion picture that only has one great performance from a cast that could have performed in top fashion but didn't. Many films have one great performance that save them from failure. Michael Douglas' Oscar winning performance in 1987's 'Wall Street' (the film received no other Oscar nominations) was the only thing that helped the film fight off charges that it was a sexist and chauvinistic portrayal of high rollers in the financial world. The film was also criticized for its nasty portrayal of bankers and stock traders as all being evil, weak minded or completely greedy. Jack Palance's Oscar win in the 1991 caper 'City Slickers' (the film received no other Oscar nominations) was more than a career award. In my opinion, Palance truly deserved to win but many thought it was a year in which the Oscar then should have gone to Anthony Hopkins in the supporting category for 'The Silence of the Lambs' (Hopkins WON in the lead best actor category for having less than half an hour on screen in a two hour film) and to Warren Beatty in 'Bugsy' in the leading actor category. And finally, Marisa Tomei's performance in 1992's 'My Cousin Vinny' earned her a best supporting actress Oscar and the film, again, received no other Oscar nominations. At the time of this review, Denzel Washington stands alone in this film as the only Oscar nominee. He is nominated in the best actor category for 'The Hurricane' and stands a good chance of winning. His courageous performance as a man standing almost alone against the system is one that reminded me of Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in 1993's 'In the Name of the Father' as a man wrongly sent to prison. In 'The Hurricane' Denzel Washington portrays Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter. In the late 1960's, he was on his way to a glorious and successful boxing career before it ended tragically at the satanic hands of racism. The film states that a New Jersey police officer name Det. Vincent Della Pesca (Dan Hedaya) helped frame Carter in a multiple murder case and sent him to prison for over 20 years before Carter had any real chance for his case to be heard with new evidence. Della Pesca had a run-in with Carter when Carter was a little boy as Carter was brought in for assault (actually self defense) at about the age of 10. It was as situation where the boy looked guilty but was very much innocent. Carter writes a book about his trials and tribulations and many years after his incarceration, Carter's book about his unjust prison sentence finds its way into the hands of Lesra Martin (Vicellous Reon Shannon), a young black teenager from Brooklyn, New York whose parents are alcoholics and Lesra is adopted by a group of young Canadian commune individuals from Toronto, Ontario, and is in part, raised by them in learning how to read and write and be sent off to college to pursue his dream of becoming an attorney. Lesra's passion is to meet Rubin Carter face to face in prison and tell him that he believes in his cause and offers to help fight his conviction with the help of his Canadian pals. Their investigation sheds new light on Carter's possible innocence and the information is presented before the law for serious consideration. Denzel Washington does it again. He plays a real life character as he did in his first Oscar nominated role as Steven Biko in 1987's 'Cry Freedom' and his only other Oscar nomination in a leading role to date is for 1992's 'Malcolm X'. Washington lets the layers of his acting ability do the talking like other actors such as Gene Hackman, Nicolas Cage and Tom Hanks who all use very little if no make-up and rely on good old fashioned academics to enhance a movie. As Rubin Carter, Washington has many points in the film where he flat out carries the film himself. 'The Hurricane' is long, drawn out and worth one viewing as far as I'm concerned but Denzel Washington does his job and the film only thrives when he's on screen and many would argue he's absent in this film a bit too much. Still worth a marginal recommendation, however, for Washington's amazing performance. Visit FILM FOLLOW-UP by Walter Frith

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