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Rider on the Rain (1970)

Le passager de la pluie (original title)
A US Army colonel in France tries to track down an escaped sex maniac.


René Clément


Sébastien Japrisot (original screenplay, adaptation and dialogue by)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Charles Bronson ... Col. Harry Dobbs
Marlène Jobert ... Mélancolie Mau
Gabriele Tinti ... Tony Mau
Jean Gaven ... Inspector Toussaint
Jean Piat Jean Piat ... M. Armand
Jill Ireland ... Nicole
Corinne Marchand ... Tania
Annie Cordy ... Juliette
Ellen Bahl Ellen Bahl ... Madeleine Legauff
Steve Eckardt Steve Eckardt ... U.S. officer
Jean-Daniel Ehrmann Jean-Daniel Ehrmann
Marika Green Marika Green ... Hostess at Tania's
Yves Massard Yves Massard ... (as Yves Massart)
Marc Mazza Marc Mazza ... The Passenger (Mac Guffin)
Marcel Pérès Marcel Pérès ... Station Master


A beautiful young woman in the South of France is raped by a mysterious masked assailant. She shoots him dead soon afterwards and dumps his corpse in the sea. Soon an American investigator turns up who seems to know what she has done. Written by Jonathon Dabell <barnabyrudge@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bronson At His Brutal Best! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »



France | Italy


French | English

Release Date:

21 January 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Rain See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The 1971 song by The Doors "Riders on the Storm" was reputedly influenced by this film. Jim Morrison allegedly was so taken in by the film and in particular its plot that he wrote the song as a result. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was shot twice, once with the cast speaking English and once with them speaking French, which the French version running just over two minutes longer despite having no additional scenes. The UK DVD released by Optimum includes both cuts of the film. See more »


Referenced in 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) See more »


Le passager de la pluie
(la chanson du film)
Lyrics by Sébastien Japrisot
Music by Francis Lai
Performed by Séverine
Bande original disque Somethin'Else
See more »

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User Reviews

Killer on the Road, Yeah!
2 August 2012 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

*Note: the review title in subject refers to a line from the classic song "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors. Allegedly, singer/songwriter icon Jim Morrison was a fan of this movie and it inspired him to write what is perhaps the most legendary song of the band. If this piece of trivia info is only even remotely truthful, it's enough reason to track down and watch the film!

As for the film itself, "Rider on the Rain" is an absorbing and uniquely mysterious thriller with a downright fabulous first half hour and very atypical but brilliant performance by Charles Bronson. Throughout most of the 60's, Bronson depicted supportive characters in big productions ("The Magnificent Seven", "The Great Escape", "The Dirty Dozen", "Once Upon a Time in the West") and from the mid-70's and onwards he became hopelessly typecast as a lonesome and silent action hero ("Death Wish", "The Mechanic", "Telefon"…). But what few people know is that Charles Bronson appeared in a number of vastly superior European (more specifically French and Italian) cult movies during the late 60's and early 70's, and in these films he actually illustrated intellectual, eloquent and occasionally even very sinister characters. "Rider on the Rain" truly has one of the moodiest intros ever filmed, as we witness how a tall and uncanny looking man gets off a bus in a French coastal town near Marseille. Whilst meandering in the pouring rain, he spots the feisty redhead Mellie and follows her home. He rapes the girl, but she manages to kill her assailant with a shotgun. As she has an egocentric mother and a mistrustful husband, Mellie chooses not to call the police and dump the body from a cliff into the sea. This goes well until the next weekend at the wedding of a friend; Mellie is approached by a handsome but mysteriously behaving American who asks her a lot of strange questions. This man, Mr. Dobbs, suspiciously seems to know a lot about the crime Mellie committed and brutally attempts to force her into confession.

"Rider on the Rain" actually spirals down TOO MUCH into Hitchcockian mystery/thriller territory. The first couple of encounters between Mellie (short for Melancholy, in fact) and Mr. Dobbs are truly intense and compelling because you assume that the pieces of the puzzle will gradually fit together later on. But then the emphasis stubbornly remains on secrecy and endless dialogs and we receive not the slightest bit of information in return. The film is quite long – just over two hours – and we literally have to be patient until the climax before getting any answers. Your curiosity stays, of course, and the acting performances from both Charlie Bronson and the foxy Marlène Jobert remain a joy to behold, but sadly the movie eventually is too talkative and overlong to be considered as an essential must-see in the thriller genre. This is already the second time I run into this issue with a René Clément film, actually. "The Deadly Trap" also revealed absolutely nothing of its plot until the final five minutes. Luckily enough, "Rider on the Rain" still has a fascinating concept, a strong opening and excellent performances, whereas "The Deadly Trap" was just an incoherent and pretentious mess from start to finish. Clement is often referred to as the French Hitchcock, but from what I've seen he tries to be too much of a Hitchcock copycat. I will urgently have to check out some of his older work, like "Forbidden Games" and "Purple Noon", as those are reputedly genuine masterpieces. And yet, this one still comes warmly recommended if only to see a totally different side of Charles Bronson.

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