The Hurricane

January 14th, 2000


The Hurricane

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Still of Denzel Washington in The HurricaneStill of Denzel Washington and Vicellous Reon Shannon in The HurricaneDenzel Washington on the set with director Norman JewisonLisa & LesraDenzel Washington on the set with director Norman JewisonDenzel Washington stars as Rubin Carter

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 7.4/10 (41,156 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Norman Jewison

Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger

This film tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, an African-American man who rose above his troubled youth to become a top contender for the middle-weight boxing title. However, his dreams are shattered when he is accused of a triple murder, and is convicted to three natural-life terms. Despite becoming a cause celebre and his dogged efforts to prove his innocence through his autobiography, the years of fruitless efforts have left him discouraged. This changes when an African-American boy and his Canadian mentors read his book and are convinced of his innocence enough to work for his exoneration. However, what Hurricane and his friends learn is that this fight puts them against a racist establishment that profited from this travesty and have no intention of seeing it reversed.

Writers: Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, Sam Chaiton

Denzel Washington - Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter
Vicellous Reon Shannon - Lesra Martin
Deborah Kara Unger - Lisa Peters
Liev Schreiber - Sam Chaiton
John Hannah - Terry Swinton
Dan Hedaya - Det. Sgt. Della Pesca
Debbi Morgan - Mae Thelma Carter
Clancy Brown - Lt. Jimmy Williams
David Paymer - Myron Bedlock
Harris Yulin - Leon Friedman
Rod Steiger - Judge Sarokin
Badja Djola - Mobutu
Vincent Pastore - Alfred Bello
Al Waxman - Warden at Rahway Penitentiary
David Lansbury - U.S. Court Prosecutor

Taglines: His greatest fight was for justice.


Official Website: Metropolitan Filmexport | RCV (Netherlands) |

Release Date: 14 January 2000

Filming Locations: East Jersey State Prison, Rahway, New Jersey, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $337,000 (USA) (2 January 2000) (11 Screens)

Gross: $50,668,906 (USA) (16 April 2000)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The real Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter is only 5'8" and 155 pounds, being about 4 inches shorter and nearly 40 pounds lighter than Denzel Washington (even when the actor slimmed down to play Hurricane). In actuality, Washington (and the actors who play his opponents in the ring) classify as heavyweights.

Continuity: When Rubin first goes to jail he is told that he can't keep his watch or wear his own clothes. Later, while he's in jail, he's obviously wearing his watch.

[first lines]
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, this fine young fighter will be right here in Pittsburg on the boxing cog, this Monday night.

User Review

Unexpectedly Great Movie

Rating: 9/10

I wasn't going to comment, but after reading some of the negative comments, I felt I must. I "waited for the video" for this movie because a movie about boxing didn't seem interesting. But that's just the thing. It's not about boxing. So if you're thinking you're going to see Raging Bull, you're not. There are a few boxing scenes, but they only serve to move the story along.

I have seen this movie more than once. The first time I was touched by the underlying theme of the movie, which was in my opinion, love conquering hate and injustice. Then I watched it again. I realized Denzel did a superb job. It WAS NOT a "typical Denzel role." He convincingly played Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, raised full of hate for and distrust of white people. When he goes to prison for the murder, he does an excellent performance showing the different personalities in his head, as well as showing how his inner spiritual journey transformed him. Any good movie shows the hero growing and changing. And Denzel again does this well towards the end of the movie, after befriending Lazarus and the Canadians. My favorite line which to me sums up the entire movie is when they're waiting to hear the judge's verdict and Rubin tells Lazarus, "Hate got me in here. But love's gonna bust me out."

I don't know much about the real Rubin Carter or the details of the case. What I found compelling about the movie was the fact that some people - be they white or black - can harbor such hatred for another person (I'm referring to Della Pesca's hatred toward Rubin). Another thing that got me was the friendship and love between Rubin and Lesra and the whole message of examining the higher principle of truth for which the law was meant to serve. It's just one of those movies that makes you think. Yeah, some of the writing is "just OK" in places, but the theme of the movie is wonderful and I think Denzel gave an Oscar worthy performance.

I gave this a 9 out of 10.


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