Two-time Oscar(r) nominee* Nick Nolte is like a champion achieving cinematic immortality [in this] knockout adventure destined to become a classic (Washington Post). Co-staring Tuesday Weld (Falling Down) and Michael Mor... more »iarty (TV's Law & Order ), this 'savage, paranoid thriller (Newsweek) is acted brilliantly and cast perfectly [and] one of the year's best (The New York Times)! Fresh from the bloody battlefields of Vietnam, Ray Hicks (Nolte) does hisfriend Converse a favor, smuggling a stash of heroin back to the States. But when Ray goes to deliver the drugs, he and Converse's wife, Marge (Weld), are ambushed and barely escape with their lives!Suddenly on the run from two ruthless thugs and a murderous cop, the unlikely pair must find a way to get along and survive a perilous double-cross in this gripping nightmare adventure (New West) that quickly becomes a harrowing journey into hell (Newsweek). *1997: Actor, Affliction; 1991: Actor, The Prince of Tides« less
"I, a very lazy person, have been impelled to write about "Who'll Stop the Rain" because of the review below which refers to the movie as one of the "ten worst films of all time". The review not only pans the movie, it refers to the CCR song by the same title as "not particularly good". "Who'll Stop the Rain" (the movie) is an extraordinarily intense and disturbing (i.e., *good*) movie about an attempted drug deal that turns spectacularly bad. The main characters (Weld & Nolte) are stunningly portrayed, which is one of the reasons I have watched the film repeatedly over the years-- but only one of the reasons. The film is dark, weird (remember the sixties?), unpredictable, and riveting. But it is more than just another action flick; it is a literary tragedy (in the Shakespearean sense). There are no "good" characters in the movie; they range from ethical shades of grey to black. The hero (Nolte, in the best role of his career) is doomed from the beginning due largely to intrinsic flaws and bad decisions on his part, but he wields nontheless a valiant, futile battle against the turpitude and chaos. The finest moment of the movie is the hallucinatory nightmare that erupts on the side of a mountain (in California?) near the end of the movie. I believe that this scene is the defining moment of the movie. It is entirely accurate to say that "Who'll Stop the Rain" is a "Vietnam-war movie"-- the war implicitly provides the moral and cultural driving forces behind the events and characters-- and yet the movie takes place almost entirely in the U.S. It is the apocalyptic battle scene at the end which finally draws the two worlds-- the hell of Vietnam and the psychedelic confusion of the sixties-- together into one consummating, symbolic horror scene. What I am writing here may sound like blathering fandom, but watch the movie and you'll see what I mean. This movie is a (minor?) masterpiece. (And by the way, the song "Who'll Stop the Rain" is one of CCR's best songs ... jeez.)"
Ray Hicks Lives!
Thomas F. Redmond | Cleveland, OH | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Converse: "They say this place is where you find out who you really are." Hicks: "What a bummer for the gooks."
I have to confess: I saw the movie "Who'll Stop the Rain," before I read the Robert Stone's, "The Dog Soldiers", the novel on which the screenplay is based. While I thought the book developed the characters and made them a little more understandable, I thought that overall, the movie was better storytelling.
First, Nick Nolte as Ray Hicks: Nolte does an outstanding job of interpreting Stone's vision of a modern American Samurai on a journey into hell. A former Marine with the discipline of a dedicated warrior, Hicks' motives and reasons for his own existence are mercenary in the extreme. I can't imagine anyone other than Nick Nolte playng this part.
Tueday Welde as Marge does not quite fit Stone's original version of the wayward schoolteacher who works as a ticket girl in the front of a seedy porno theater on the outskirts of San Francisco's tenderloin district. Welde comes across as a little less buxon and whorelike. In the book, Marge has few redeemable qualities and no spiritual values. Even though her part isn't as coarse, Welde still gives a pretty good interpretation of the character.
"Who'll Stop the Rain" closely follows the novel it was based on, but the screenplay diverges in several places: When converse contacts Hicks in Vietnam; When Hicks brings the packages to port in Oakland; When Hicks and Marge catch up to Eddie Peace; When Hicks and Marge reach the compound of Those Who Are. The screenwriters also saw fit to drop a minor character, Dieter, whose role in the novel version was as Ray Hick's mentor.
Fortunately, Stone also worked on the screenplay, so a lot of the great dialogue was still left in place with some minor alterations. "Who'll Stop the Rain" moves faster, cuts to the chase, and is very lean storytelling. There's not a lot of superfluous stuff, just a sequence of events that brings each of the characters into a quagmire of his or her own making - very much like "The Dog Soldiers".
Of course, both the movie and the novel are about a world going to hell over war and drugs. Both the movie and the book make a case that even though heroin is dangerous and lethal (Hicks calls it "the king of highs"), war is probably the ultimate drug.
The film hints at it, but "The Dog Soldiers" is more explanative about the origins of Hicks through his recollections before he dies. As he fades away, Hicks visualizes his past, which gives the reader an idea of how this character could have evolved into being.
If you want to know what Stone had in mind when he created Ray Hicks, read "The Dog Soldiers". If you want to see this vision enacted in a though-provoking, suspensful action movie, see "Who'll Stop the Rain." "
A different "Vietnam" film
John McDonald | Tokyo Japan | 06/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie in Tokyo, Japan and it was rightly titled "Dog Soldiers" obviously because for Japanese moviegoers the title "Who'll stop..." didn't make much sense. I was so excited after seeing this movie I took another friend to see it the following weekend. I don't know why people pan it, it's one of Nolte's best films. The film really captures the era; 60's, Vietnam, drugs, music, etc. I've been waiting for it to come out on DVD...finally!"
Rob Sisk | St.Francis,WI USA | 04/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Flawed? Definitely. No movie that attempts so much could be anything else.But in the midst of chaos and carnage are some gentle moments,which are even more startling because these carachters are,with the exception of Nick Nolte,not self-aware. He is a good guy who does a favor for a buddy and lives to regret it. Tuesday Weld ,at first glance, is fragile to the point of annoying, but there is more to her than we immediately see. The only weakness in the film is during the climax, which seems like a coked-up producers idea of a great finale-in any other movie it would be great, but these people deserve more than a POW finish, and happily,they are allowed one after all the fireworks. That the lead actors are all so messed up is the greatness of this film,because all are capable of being so much more, and , when pushed, become so much more than we, the audience, thought they could be. Searing. More pain than should be experienced. No really-watch the movie."
Who'll Stop the Rain
Dave Massie | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a terrific movie. I watch it every couple of years or so and find something new in it each time. Nolte, Weld, and Moriarity are wonderful. The story is a relentless exploration of how the war in Viet Nam affected us. One of the best movies I have ever seen."