|Directed by||Norman Jewison|
|Based on||Lazarus and the Hurricane|
by Sam Chaiton
The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To 45472
by Rubin Carter
|Edited by||Stephen Rivkin|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (United States)|
Buena Vista International (International)
|Box office||$74 million|
The Hurricane is a 1999 American biographical sports drama film directed and produced by Norman Jewison. The film stars Denzel Washington as Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter, a former middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted for a triple murder in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey. The script was adapted by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon from Carter's 1974 autobiography The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To 45472 and the 1991 non-fiction work Lazarus and the Hurricane: The Freeing of Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter by Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton.
The film depicts Carter's arrest, his life in prison and how he was freed by the love and compassion of a teenager from Brooklyn named Lesra Martin and his Canadian foster family.The film received positive reviews and won several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor for Washington's performance. Washington was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
The film was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on December 29, 1999. It grossed $74 million against a budget of $50 million.
The film tells the story of middleweight boxer Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter, who was convicted of committing a triple murder in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey. His sentence was set aside after he had spent nearly 20 years in prison. The film concentrates on Rubin Carter's life between 1966 and 1985. It describes his fight against the conviction for triple murder and how he copes with nearly 20 years in prison.
A parallel plot follows Lesra Martin, an underprivileged Afro-American youth from Brooklyn, now living in Toronto. In the 1980s, the child becomes interested in Carter's life and circumstances after reading Carter's autobiography. He convinces his Canadian foster family to commit themselves to Carter's case. The story culminates with Carter's legal team's successful pleas to Judge H. Lee Sarokin of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
In 1966, Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter was a top-ranked middleweight boxer, expected by many fans to become the world's greatest boxing champion. When three victims, specifically the club's bartender and a male and a female customer, were shot to death in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey, Carter and his friend John Artis, driving home from another club in Paterson, were stopped and interrogated by the police.
Although the police asserted that Carter and Artis were innocent and thus, "were never suspects," a man named Alfred Bello, a suspect himself in the killings, claimed that Carter and Artis were present at the time of the murders. On the basis of Bello's testimony, Carter and Artis were convicted of the triple homicide in the club, and Carter was given three consecutive life sentences.
Throughout the trial, Carter proclaimed his innocence, claiming that his race, his boxing career and status and his work as a civil rights activist were the real reasons for his conviction. Eight years later, Bello and a co-suspect, Arthur Bradley, who also claimed that Carter was present at the scene of the crimes, renounced and recanted their testimony. However, Carter and Artis were convicted once again.
Afterwards, the plot goes back to Lesra Martin, who works with a trio of Canadian activists to push the State of New Jersey to reexamine Carter's case.
In 1985, a Federal District Court ruled that the prosecution in Carter's second trial committed "grave constitutional violations" and that his conviction was based on racism rather than facts. As a result, Carter was finally freed, and he summed up his story by saying, "Hate got me into this place, love got me out."
Norman Jewison got interested in a "Hurricane" Carter biopic in 1992.Armyan Bernstein purchased the filming rights through Beacon Pictures, and went on to write the first scripts while establishing a financing partnership with Irving Azoff. At first, Jewison felt the story was so extensive that it would fit better as a television miniseries. Once Denzel Washington signed to play the title character, he went through long boxing training, and worked closely with Rubin Carter. Washington said, "He went through pots and pots of coffee and packs of cigarettes. I'd drink a little coffee. It's interesting and challenging when the person is there, alive and in the room." Filming began in November 1998, with locations in both New Jersey – East Jersey State Prison in Trenton and the cities of Avenel and Paterson – and Toronto.
|The Hurricane Soundtrack|
| Soundtrack album by |
|Released||January 11, 2000|
|Genre||R&B, soul, hip hop, pop rock, jazz|
|1||"Hurricane"||The Roots featuring Black Thought, Common, Mos Def, Dice Raw, Flo Brown and the Jazzyfatnastees||Tariq Trotter, Tracey Moore, Mercedes Martinez, Karl Jenkins, Lonnie "Common" Lynn, Dante "Mos Def" Smith, Falana Brown, Scott Storch||5:39|
|2||"Little Brother"||Black Star||4:01|
|3||"Love Sets You Free"||Kelly Price and Aaron Hall||4:06|
|4||"I Don't Know"||The Jazzyfatnastees||3:19|
|6||"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"||Gil Scott-Heron||Heron||3:05|
|7||"One More Mountain (Free Again)"||K-Ci & JoJo||Diane Warren||3:41|
|8||"Hurricane"||Bob Dylan||Dylan, Jacques Levy||8:33|
|9||"Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)"||Ray Charles||Charles||2:55|
|10||"In The Basement part 1"||Etta James||Billy Davis, Raynard Miner, Carl Smith||2:22|
|11||"Still I Rise"||Melky Sedeck||4:15|
|12||"I Don't Know"||Ruth Brown||Brook Benton, Bobby Stevenson||2:53|
|13||"So Amazing"||Clark Anderson||Anderson, Summer Anderson||4:32|
|14||"The Suite"||Christopher Young||Young||7:18|
The Hurricane premiered on September 17, 1999, at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also was featured at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2000.
Two weeks prior to its opening in North America, a premiere for The Hurricane was held at the Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles. Many of the depicted people were in attendance. When asked about being portrayed by Denzel Washington, Rubin Carter replied that “I didn’t know I was that good-looking." The film was praised by Lesra Martin, who described it as "a stupendous depiction of accurate events", and John Artis, Carter's friend who was convicted with him, said he “was in awe to see what unfolded and not have to feel the pressure I felt at the time.” An objection was held by H. Lee Sarokin, the federal judge who freed Carter, saying that unlike his portrayal by Rod Steiger “I’m a lower-key guy.”
The film opened in North American limited release on December 29, 1999. The first week's gross was $384,640 (11 screens) and the total receipts for the run were $50,668,906. In its widest release the film was featured in 2,148 theaters. It closed the week of April 14, 2000. The motion picture was in circulation sixteen weeks.
The film has an 83% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 113 reviews. The consensus reads: "Thanks in large part to one of Denzel Washington's most powerful on-screen performances, The Hurricane is a moving, inspirational sports drama, even if it takes few risks in telling its story."Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, liked the film and the acting, and wrote, "This is one of Denzel Washington's great performances, on a par with his work in Malcolm X.... Washington as Hurricane Carter is spare, focused, filled with anger and pride.... This is strong stuff, and I was amazed, after feeling some impatience in the earlier reaches of the film, to find myself so deeply absorbed in its second and third acts, until at the end I was blinking at tears. What affects me emotionally at the movies is never sadness, but goodness." Metacritic gave the score a film of 74 based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Regarding the "fictionalized" aspects of the film, Ebert discussed why that is often the case in films: "Several people have told me dubiously that they heard the movie was 'fictionalized'. Well, of course it was. Those who seek the truth about a man from the film of his life might as well seek it from his loving grandmother. Most biopics, like most grandmothers, see the good in a man and demonize his enemies. They pass silently over his imprudent romances. In dramatizing his victories, they simplify them. And they provide the best roles to the most interesting characters. If they didn't, we wouldn't pay to see them." He added, "The Hurricane is not a documentary but a parable, in which two lives are saved by the power of the written word."
Film critic Stephen Holden, writing for The New York Times, had mixed views of the film but did like the acting. He wrote, "In telling the story of Mr. Carter's protracted and ultimately successful fight for freedom and justice, The Hurricane rides to glory on an astonishing performance by Denzel Washington.... That is to say, Mr. Washington leans into an otherwise schlocky movie and slams it out of the ballpark. If his Hurricane is an inspiring portrait of nobility, it is because the actor never conceals the demons of fury and despair gnawing beneath his character's forcefully articulate surface."
Holden was forthright about the veracity of the film, writing, "The film is so eager to stir us up that it thinks little of bending the facts for dramatic effect. Among its most egregious distortions is its depiction of Mr. Carter's 1964 middleweight title match with Joey Giardello. The movie (which has fine, naturalistic boxing sequences) inaccurately portrays the fight as lost by Carter solely because of the judges' racism. The taking of such license, of course, adds an extra jolt of drama. But when these and other distortions and exaggerations are added up, it's worth wondering if that self-congratulatory glow the movie leaves us with has been gotten far too easily and at what cost."
Jewison considers The Hurricane his best work.
Former middleweight World Champion Joey Giardello sued the film's producers for libel over the depiction of his fight with Carter as a "racist fix." "This is a joke, [he told the New York Daily News ] he never hit me that much in 15 rounds. Virtually every boxing expert then and now will tell you I won the fight." Referee Robert Polis who scored the fight 72–66 in Giardello's favor stated: "They portrayed Joey Giardello as an incompetent fighter. I thought it was ludicrous." Even Carter himself agreed that Giardello was the rightful victor.
Eventually, the case was settled out of court, with the producers paying the retired champion damages and with Jewison agreeing to make a statement on the DVD version that "Giardello no doubt was a great fighter."
Some critics spoke about inaccuracies in the story telling. Radio host Larry Elder outlined some inaccuracies and discussed some of Carter's previous criminal acts.Irish Times reporter George Kimball discussed the media backlash about historical inaccuracies and the possibility that they cost the film an Oscar nomination. Paul Mulshine, a columnist for The Star-Ledger, discussed the film's inaccuracies about Carter's earlier incarceration, pointing out that the film gave the impression that Carter had been incarcerated for fighting back against being molested, while his incareration was for mugging people as an adult. Mulshine also raised issues about the depiction of the Giardello fight. Alex von Tunzelmann wrote a review for The Guardian giving the film a D- for accuracy, citing issues including depictions of Carter's military service, prior criminal record and the Giardello fight. It went on to point out other errors, such as the reasons for Carter's divorce.
Sidney L. Poitier is a Bahamian-American retired actor, film director, activist, and ambassador. In 1964, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor becoming the first black male and Bahamian actor to win the award. Upon the death of Kirk Douglas in 2020, Poitier became one of the last surviving major stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, and the oldest living and earliest surviving Best Actor Oscar-winner. From 1997 to 2007, Poitier served as Bahamian Ambassador to Japan.
Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is an American actor, director, and producer. Known for his performances on the screen and stage, he has been described as an actor who reconfigured "the concept of classic movie stardom", associating with characters defined by their grace, dignity, humanity, and inner strength. He has frequently collaborated with directors Spike Lee, Antoine Fuqua, and Tony Scott. He has earned various awards including two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Tony Award. In 2016, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, The New York Times ranked him as the greatest actor of the twenty-first century.
Norman Frederick Jewison is a Canadian retired film director, producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Canadian Film Centre. He has directed numerous feature films and has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director three times in three separate decades for In the Heat of the Night (1967), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Moonstruck (1987). Other highlights of his directing career include The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), Rollerball (1975), F.I.S.T. (1978), ...And Justice for All (1979), A Soldier's Story (1984), Agnes of God (1985), Other People's Money (1991), The Hurricane (1999), and The Statement (2003).
Emile Alphonse Griffith was a professional boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who became a World Champion in the welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight classes. His best known contest was a 1962 title match with Benny Paret. At the weigh in, Paret infuriated Griffith, a bisexual man, by touching his buttocks and making a homophobic slur. Griffith won the bout by knockout; Paret never recovered consciousness and died in the hospital 10 days later.
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was an American-Canadian middleweight boxer, wrongfully convicted of murder and later released following a petition of habeas corpus after serving almost 20 years in prison.
Carmine Orlando Tilelli was an American boxer who was the world middleweight champion from 1963 to 1965, and was better known by his professional pseudonym of Joey Giardello.
Malcolm X is a 1992 American epic biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee, the film stars Denzel Washington in the title role, as well as Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., and Delroy Lindo. Lee has a supporting role, while Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and future South African president Nelson Mandela make cameo appearances. It is the second of four film collaborations between Washington and Lee.
Dick Tiger was a Nigerian-born professional boxer who held the World Middleweight and World Light Heavyweight Championships.
During the 1960s, boxing, like mostly everything else around the world, went through changing times. Notable was the emergence of a young boxer named Cassius Clay, who would, in his own words shock the world, declare himself against war, and change his name to Muhammad Ali. .Boxers make about 1,100 a year in the 1960’s.
East Jersey State Prison (EJSP) is a maximum-security prison operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections in Avenel, Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. It was established in 1896 as Rahway State Prison, and was the first reformatory in New Jersey, officially opening in 1901. It houses approximately 1,500 men as of 2013.
Lean on Me is a 1989 American biographical drama film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. It is based on the story of Joe Louis Clark, a real life inner city high school principal in Paterson, New Jersey, whose school is in danger of being placed into receivership of the New Jersey state government unless students improve their test scores on the New Jersey Minimum Basic Skills Test. This film's title refers to the 1972 Bill Withers song of the same name, which is used in the film. Parts of the film, including the elementary school scenes, were filmed in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
Lesra Martin is an American-Canadian lawyer, motivational speaker and writer. He is perhaps best known for helping to bring about the release of former boxer Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter.
"Hurricane" is a protest song by Bob Dylan co-written with Jacques Levy and released on the 1976 album Desire. The song is about the imprisonment of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. It compiles acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trial and conviction.
Harry Scott was a British boxer and contender in the middleweight division during the 1960s.
The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. It is based on an article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the spring 1997 issue of American Legacy.
Devil in a Blue Dress is a 1995 American neo-noir mystery thriller film written and directed by Carl Franklin and photographed by Tak Fujimoto. The film is based on Walter Mosley's novel of the same name and features Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, and Don Cheadle.
Recount is a 2008 political drama television film about Florida's vote recount during the 2000 United States presidential election. Written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, the television film stars Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Laura Dern, John Hurt, Denis Leary, Bruce McGill, and Tom Wilkinson. It premiered on HBO on May 25, 2008. The television film won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for Roach, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for Dern.
George Benton was an American boxer and boxing trainer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eldridge Hawkins is an American lawyer and Democratic Party politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1972 to 1978. During that time he served as the Chairman of The NJ State General Assembly Judiciary, Law, Public Safety and Defense Committee. In that capacity he authored The NJ Legislature's NJ Code of Criminal Justice known as Title 2C. During his tenure he also sponsored NJ's Affirmative Action Law.
Denzel Washington is an American actor who made his feature film debut in Carbon Copy (1981). In 1982, Washington made his first appearance in the medical drama St. Elsewhere as Dr. Philip Chandler. The role proved to be the breakthrough in his career. He starred as Private First Class Melvin Peterson in the drama A Soldier's Story (1984). The film was an adaptation of the Off-Broadway play A Soldier's Play (1981–1983) in which Washington had earlier portrayed the same character. In 1987, he played Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist in the Richard Attenborough-directed drama Cry Freedom, for which he received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later, Washington won the award for playing Trip, a former slave-turned-soldier in Civil War film Glory (1989). In 1990, he played the title character in the play The Tragedy of Richard III, and starred in Spike Lee's comedy-drama Mo' Better Blues. Washington received the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival, for playing the eponymous civil rights activist in Lee's Malcolm X (1992).
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Hurricane (1999 film)|