Who'll Stop the Rain
|Who'll Stop the Rain|
Theatrical release poster by Tom Jung
|Directed by||Karel Reisz|
|Produced by||Herb Jaffe|
|Written by||Robert Stone|
|Music by||Laurence Rosenthal|
|Cinematography||Richard H. Kline|
|Edited by||John Bloom|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Who'll Stop The Rain is a 1978 psychological drama film released by United Artists starring Nick Nolte. It was directed by Karel Reisz and produced by Herb Jaffe and Gabriel Katzka with Sheldon Schrager and Roger Spottiswoode as executive producers. The screenplay was by Judith Rascoe and Robert Stone from Stone's novel Dog Soldiers. The music score was by Laurence Rosenthal and the cinematography by Richard H. Kline.
- Nick Nolte - Ray Hicks
- Tuesday Weld - Marge Converse
- Michael Moriarty - John Converse
- Anthony Zerbe - Antheil
- Richard Masur - Danskin
- Ray Sharkey - Smitty
- Gail Strickland - Charmian
- Charles Haid - Eddie Peace
- David Opatoshu - Bender
- Joaquín Martínez - Angel (as Joaquin Martinez)
- James Cranna - Gerald
- Timothy Blake - Jody
- Shelby Balik - Janey
- Jean Howell - Edna
- José Carlos Ruiz - Galindez (as Jose Carlos Ruiz)
Background and production
The film is based on Robert Stone's novel Dog Soldiers, which had been winner of the National Book Award (US) for fiction in 1975. For its original US theatrical release it was re-titled Who'll Stop the Rain, after the song by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which features prominently (along with several other popular CCR tracks) on the film's soundtrack. The film was released as Dog Soldiers for release in several foreign territories. Some copies of the DVD of Who'll Stop the Rain actually contain prints titled Dog Soldiers.
Stone based the character of Ray Hicks (Nolte) on Beat writer Neal Cassady, with whom Stone became acquainted through novelist Ken Kesey, a classmate of Stone's in graduate school at Stanford University.
Hicks' death scene on the railroad tracks at the film's conclusion was directly based on Cassady's death along a railroad track outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 1968. Also, the hippie commune setting, where lights and stereo speakers placed throughout the woods are utilized in Hicks' escape plan, was partially based on Kesey's home in La Honda, California, where Kesey and his friends — known as the Merry Pranksters — famously wired the surrounding woods with lights and sound equipment to enhance their experiments with LSD. Though technically not a commune, Kesey's home was a frequent site for large parties attended by a mixture of literary luminaries such as poet Allen Ginsberg and journalist Hunter S. Thompson, music figures (including Jerry Garcia, whose group The Grateful Dead later became the house band for Kesey's famous Acid Tests), and outlaws, especially members of the infamous Hells Angels motorcycle club. These parties are described intimately in works by Ginsberg and Thompson and in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Mention of Ken Kesey, his Merry Pranksters, and Neal Cassady are also discussed in detail in Martin Torgoff's book Can't Find My Way Home.
John Converse (Moriarty), a disillusioned war correspondent, approaches Ray Hicks (Nolte), a merchant marine sailor and acquaintance of Converse from back in the US, for help in smuggling a large quantity of heroin from Vietnam to San Francisco, where he will exchange the drugs for payment with Converse's wife Marge (Weld), who has become addicted to Dilaudid. When Hicks discovers that he is being followed by thugs connected either to Converse or his suppliers, he goes on the run with Marge and the heroin, and is eventually pursued by the corrupt DEA agent (Zerbe) who initially set the deal in motion. As Marge is separated from her supply of prescription drugs, she experiences withdrawal, and Hicks decides to help her wean off her dilaudid addiction by using the heroin. Hicks also attempts to find another buyer for the heroin before his pursuers can catch up to him.
- Nominee Palme d'Or Cannes Film Festival (Karel Reisz)
- Nominee Best Actor National Society of Film Critics (Nick Nolte)
- Nominee Best Adapted Drama Writers Guild of America (Judith Rascoe, Robert Stone)
The Saigon scenes were actually also filmed on a set in Mexico. There was a casting advertisement in Mexico City for people of any Asian background to represent the Vietnamese.
- Del Reeves - "Philadelphia Fillies"
- Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
- Don McLean - "American Pie"
- Slim Whitman - "I'll Step Down"
- Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Hey Tonight"
- Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Who'll Stop the Rain"
- Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Proud Mary
- The Spencer Davis Group - "Gimme Some Lovin'"
- Hank Snow - "Golden Rocket"