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Redemption in the Rain

The night's too quiet, stretched out alone
I need the whip of thunder and the wind's dark moan
I'm not Abel, I'm just Cain
Open up the heavens, and make it rain.
Tom Waits, "Make It Rain"

A standard shot, usually done from above via a crane, that shows the character being gloriously and joyously rained on, obviously symbolic of a baptism and a new life/rebirth. Most noticeable in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, this trope has been aggressively adopted by TV and these days you can almost count on some character going through a life-changing event if it's overcast and a low pressure system is moving in.

This may or may not be caused by Happy Rain. Contrast with Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death and Cue the Sun.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one of the final scenes of Ranma 1/2, female Ranma stands in the rain, watching the flooded Jusenkyo, and contemplating how he stopped caring about a cure to the Gender Bender curse when Akane was in danger.
    • Of course the fact that the springs are flooded isn't revealed until after she says all this, leading Akane to wonder aloud whether Ranma is just trying to put a good face on all of this ...
  • Juri in Revolutionary Girl Utena is subject to one of these after Utena breaks the locket that has Shiori's picture inside.
  • Played with in Yostuba&! chapter 52. Koiwai has the appropriate stance, but it's because Yotsuba convinced him to put his umbrella down and enjoy the Happy Rain — of a typhoon.
  • Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist when after Nina dies, Ed sits out in the rain. He says it's only making him wet and cold.
    • And then gets even sadder when they start mentioning how Al and half of Ed's body can't even feel said rain. And then they were attacked by Scar.
      • Played straight with the final opening sequence to Brotherhood, however. The song is even titled "Rain."
  • Subverted in Shokojo Sera, in an episode titled "Redemption In The Middle Of The Storm" - Sara braves an autumn storm to get Lavinia's dress cleaned, only for Lavinia to falsely accuse her of ruining it in the first place. The further ill-treatment that this invites leads Sara to fall seriously ill.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, during TSR, after being recalled from his duty of protecting Kaname, Sousuke is shown to stand out in the rain thinking in deep contemplation. It's also around this time that he starts realizing how much he wants to remain by her side.
  • Subverted in Death Note. Light gets heavily rained on as he loses his mind has his transforming epiphany that killing lots of people is a very good thing to do.
  • Subverted in Tenshi Ni Narumon where it rains when Raphael confronts Mikael with his past. It marks Mikael's loss of mind and his start of darkness.
  • In Berserk, it begins to rain when Guts runs out in a fit of emotion and the weight of the events during the Eclipse finally begins to come down on him. After an encounter with the Skull Knight, Guts gives his famous Screw Destiny speech, which pretty much signifies THE turning point in Guts' life.
  • Played with then subverted with Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z after he's defeated by Android 18. He's in the rain recalling her mocking him, powers up, screams the rain clouds away with his ki then vows to surpass Super Saiyan to redeem himself in renewed confidence.

    Comicbooks 
  • In Breach, as the main character uses his powers to transform a possessed and mutated boy back into his original self (sealing his own fate as he does), the boy wakes up and notices it's raining.
  • In The Dark Knight Returns, a fifty-five-year-old Bruce Wayne appears as Batman for the first time in ten years, just as a thunderstorm breaks the intense heat wave that had been gripping Gotham City. "The rain on my chest is a baptismI'm born again."
  • Sin City does this at least once - Marv gets a great cleansing rain scene while he waxes philosophical about his killing spree and the final hit he's building up to do. Like the rest of the comic, done damn well, and plays out identically in The Movie.
  • Storm graced the cover of X-Men like this in the issue where she and Forge broke up. He proposed to her in the previous issue and she said she'd think about it. In the issue with the rainy cover, he took her answer the wrong way and left both the X-Men and Storm to be with Mystique. Storm's response as he slammed the door? "I was going to say...yes..."

    Fan Fiction 
  • Used at the end of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fanfic The First Tile where, after the Trill homeworld has had a brief and bloody civil uprising, it begins to rain in the capital city. One of the characters (a Joined Trill who was on the side of the rebels) comments that it may be just what's needed to heal their "sick, sad world."
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Checker Monarch's minion Helping Hoof, racked with guilt over helping Checker ruin Trixie's life, finally decides to pull a Heel-Face Turn while walking dejectedly in a rainstorm.

    Film 
  • Very well done in The Shawshank Redemption, the Trope Codifier, after the main character breaks out of jail by slowly digging a tunnel over twenty years. Also, notably, its usage of the trope was not gratuitous or overly symbolic. First, the rain is not merely a background event but an important point in his escape plan, it's a way of thanking it. Second, the man crawled through 500 yard of sewer pipe to escape, so one can argue he's doing it (at least partially) for practical purposes.
    • "Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side." - symbolically and literately.
  • Done in Dragonheart, when Bowen, a former knight who had given up on knightly virtues, renews his knightly vows before a statue of King Arthur in Camelot, in the pouring rain.
  • Roy Batty, when he saves Deckard's life at the end of Blade Runner — then dies.
  • The climax of Breakfast at Tiffany's is Holly and Paul accepting each other and searching for Cat in the rain.
  • The climax of Lady in the Water occurs in the rain. Earlier in the film, this gets lampshaded by the cynical movie critic:
    Harry Farber: Why does everyone like to stand around and talk in the rain in movies?
    Cleveland Heep: Um... well maybe it's a metaphor for purification; starting new.
    Harry Farber: No, it's not!
  • The scene where the escaped convicts burst out of the sewer in Raising Arizona. The point is further driven by the fact that both Gail and Evelle emerge from the muddy sewer screaming like newborns; what makes it funny is that they won't stop screaming until the scene changes.
  • The movie The Truman Show uses this, with the added twist that the rain gets added intentionally by the show's producers. It's also parodied; a moment which would otherwise be perfect is ruined when it begins raining on Truman... and only Truman.
  • John Cusack has portrayed a redemption in the rain in many of his films, usually while wearing a trenchcoat. First portrayed in Say Anything. More examples in This Youtube Video
  • Subverted in Road to Perdition, in that every major death scene in the film is accompanied by the presence of water (a bath, rain, etc.) Of course, this just might be a case of Redemption Equals Death as in the genuinely awesome silent scene where Michael tommy-guns down Rooney and his bodyguards in the rain, complete with Rooney's last words, "I'm glad it's you."
  • Inverted in the Tim Burton version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; this type of shot is used, but it's to show the beginning of the title character's descent into revenge-driven madness.
  • Pleasantville pays homage to the Shawshank Redemption scene. This was unintentional, it was only after the movie was released that the scene was pointed out to the director as being extremely similar to the one in Shawshank Redemption and he retroactively decided it was paying homage to the movie.
  • Cloud in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has one in Aerith's Geostigma-healing rain, after defeating Sephiroth. Horribly twisted the next moment though, as Loz and Yazoo take this moment to shoot him.
  • In A Few Good Men, Lt. Kaffee has to go out into the pouring rain to convince Cmdr. Galloway to help him finish his case. It's a redemption for his previous drunk tirade, it shows how much he truly cares for Galloway, and it sobers him up for the movie's climax.
  • Evey in V for Vendetta. After she finds out that V was the one keeping her imprisoned and tortured, V takes her up to his roof, where she stands out in the rain.
    Evey: God is in the rain.
  • Towards the ending of Holes, as the detention camp is being closed and the main character has broken the curse on his family and the curse on the camp that makes it never rain there.
  • When the leads reconcile and kiss in A Cinderella Story.
  • Alex Proyas' The Crow does that a lot, especially moving when Eric crawls out of the grave and returns to the cemetery in the end of the film, all the time accompanied by heavy rain. In fact, there's so much rain in the film that it originated one of its most important lines: "It can't rain all the time".
    • Also inverted. At the end when things have finally been put right and Eric is at peace, it stops raining.
  • The scene in Thor where Thor tries to recover Mjolnir from SHIELD is a great example: he thinks he's going to be redeemed by getting his hammer back and returning to his former glory, but the trope is subverted when he fails and he falls into a Heroic BSOD. However, his path to ultimate redemption begins with this failure, so in that sense the trope is actually invoked.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Radio: In the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the day after the mariner's curse is lifted, a tremendous rainstorm appears, and the mariner stands in it, gulping down the water, so happy he believes he died and is in paradise. Note that he had also been about a week without any fresh water, so this also sort of symbolizes the idea that God/nature had forgiven him and was going to help him again.
  • In Gabriel García Márquez' book One Hundred Years of Solitude, the sick town is healed by several years of rain. It still dies at the end, but at least have a brief time of peace before that.
  • Subverted in The Runelords, where Borenson stands for a time out in the rain after slaughtering the Dedicates in Castle Sylvarresta only to find that their blood has dried and stuck too much to be washed away so easily.
  • Played with: In Nick Cave's And The Ass Saw The Angel, the sick town is made worse by several years of extremely dirty, greasy rain that kills all the sugar crops.
  • A variation in the Heirs of Ash trilogy: Zed starts showing signs of renewed faith in the Frostfell while it's snowing.
  • Another variation from The Mill on the Floss sees estranged siblings Maggie and Tom Tulliver reconciling during a flood which devastates their community when the eponymous river bursts its banks. Then they both drown.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied on the SNL Digital Short "Wish It Would Rain" where an arrogant singer tries to create a music video where his lover leaves him and wishes that rain would come to wash away his tears and redeem his spirit. When he gets pissed on by a guy on the roof of a building (played by Jason Sudeikis), he curses out The Weather Channel and regrets not getting a rain machine for the video.
  • In the first season of Angel, Faith falls apart in Angel's arms as it storms in ''Five By Five". The scene was quite powerful. According to DVD commentary, though, they were simply forced to film in the rain. But even if the rain in "Five by Five" was coincidental, the producers were clearly aware of the power of this trope.
    • The original script called for a rain machine in the battle scene, but this was dropped for cost reasons - and then the skies cooperated with the producers anyway. (Filming of the Buffy episode "Superstar" - which aired on the same night in 2000 - overlapped shooting for "Five by Five," which is why much of the Buffy episode also takes place during a torrential downpour that struck Los Angeles at the time.)
    • Also, Darla redeems herself by staking herself to allow Connor to be born. This happens in an alley as it is storming.
    • Later, after Faith breaks out of prison to help pacify Angelus, she has a minor breakdown in the shower.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "This Year's Girl" that marks the start of this particular arc for Faith, she wakes from her coma after dreaming of being chased by Buffy, falling into an open grave, having Buffy jump in after her, and then climbing out, triumphantly, in a full "Shawshank" pose, with the rain coming down on her.
    • Inverted in "Innocence", where Angel's 'curse' is lifted while he is out in the rain.
    • "Amends" has an odd variation; redemption in the snow. Angel is prepared to let the rising sun turn him into ash despite a desperate Buffy's efforts to talk him down, until a sudden snowstorm (in southern California!) blocks the sunrise. This freak storm is seen rightly as a sign from Someone Higher Up that Angel had a purpose on this earth after all.
  • ER used a rainstorm (and a flooded river) throughout the episode "Hell And High Water" which began the process of Doug Ross' redemption. The scene where he bursts out of the river (holding the rescued child in his arms, rain flooding down, illuminated by the light from a chopper) owes a lot aesthetically to the scene from Shawshank.
  • The West Wing:
    • At the end of the second season, President Bartlet stands out in the rain as he regains his drive and purpose, before facing the press and announcing that yes, he will run for reelection despite the legal and public battles over his concealment of his MS. This all happens over Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms." We are also told that this storm is from a large hurricane, which has hit Washington out of season in a manner unprecedented in a century of recorded storm-watching. In a slight twist on this trope, the President is very Catholic and had just cursed out God, in Latin, in the National Cathedral, for what he felt was divine Disproportionate Retribution to said concealment (his secretary and Cool Big Sis was killed by a drunk driver), so the baptism and rebirth imagery is not an accident even in-universe.
    • The general idea of the trope is parodied in the fourth season, when Will Bailey - who has spent the episode hoping for a forecasted downpour to discourage late voters from going to the polls and thus prevent them upsetting the narrow victory his (dead) candidate is getting - basically stands in the middle of the street and orders the sky to start raining. Much to his surprise, it does so.
      Elsie: "What else can you do?
      Will: "I didn't know I could do that..."
  • In its ninth season premiere, Survivor achieved the impressive feat of having Redemption In The Rain on a reality show, as the rain begins pouring down just as a tribe member completes climbing a greased pole to retrieve the sacred rock. Even better, after a streak of losses, the tribe speculated they hadn't been treating the rock respectfully and placed it back on the top of a pole... and the rain began pouring down again. They won the next challenge.
  • LOST featured a sudden rainfall in the pilot episode, just after the crash. While everyone ran for cover, Locke sat in the rain and smiled joyously. This usage of the trope was unique in that we didn't find out till two episodes later why Locke was so happy (prior to the crash, he'd been paralyzed).
  • In the first season finale of How I Met Your Mother, Ted is trying to stop Robin from going on a camping trip with her obnoxious co-worker (and subsequently sleeping with him because she's starting to fall for him) by making it rain. After spending all day performing a Rain Dance on his roof with no success, he finally breaks down into shouting at the universe. Cue thunderclap. The next scene has him joyously standing underneath Robin's window in a downpour, and they finally get together.
  • In Dollhouse, Adelle has a "redemption in the shower" scene, although it's not clear that she's becoming a new woman until the end of the episode.
  • Smallville:
    • Eternal: An unusual version - liquid kryptonite rains on Davis on his request, apparently killing him.
  • Supernatural has a twist on this for Gabriel. When he's caught in a ring of holy fire, he reveals that Sam and Dean are Lucifer and Michael's vessel, respectively and that the reason he's always tortured them so much was because he always knew, but he didn't want it to happen. As Sam and Dean are leaving with Castiel, Dean switches on the sprinklers and tells him not to say that Dean never did anything for him. The scene ends with Gabriel looking from the sprinkler to the Winchesters, looking unsettled. The next time Gabriel shows up, he helps them, getting killed in the process.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand In episode 5: Spartacus redeems himself in the arena in after he kills Theokoles. Immediately afterward, it begins raining. The rain breaks the heat wave and drought that had been gripping the city. He is thereafter repeatedly referred to as "The Bringer of Rain."
  • Castle: In "Always", part of an epiphany that Kate Beckett undergoes after a series of life-crises over the course of the episode involves her brooding alone at a swingset in the middle of a torrential downpour at night. This eventually leads to her going to Castle, and upgrading their relationship from Will They or Won't They? to They Do.
  • In the miniseries Wives and Daughters, Molly Gibson and her love get together when it's pouring rain. They assure each other about their mutual love and she promises to marry him, but they cannot go together and hug or kiss each other because there is infection of scarlet fever in his estate. No Big Damn Kiss, no Headbutt of Love, so the tension is palpable, but it's a very satisfying almost-finale and a great romantic scene. Nice resolution, because Elizabeth Gaskell's novel was left unfinished (though her publisher knew they were meant to become a couple).

    Music 
  • The Depeche Mode song "But Not Tonight" paints a portrait in words of just such a scenario.
  • Tom Waits' songs occasionally make use of this, as in "Make It Rain" (quoted at the top), and "Little Drop of Poison":
    I always feel much cleaner
    After it rains.
  • The Who's Rock Opera "Quadrophenia" concludes with the stirring "Love, Reign o'er Me", wherein the the schizophrenic main character finds redemption in the rain after having his illusions about the Mod lifestyle of the 60s broken down.
  • Falling of the Rain by Billy Joel subverts it. The rain represents life's struggle (and eventually mortality) in the song, and those who do not mind standing in the rain are saved.
  • Keith Urban's "Raining on Sunday" is about the re-connecting and re-birth of a romantic relationship.

    Theater 
  • In Les Misérables, as Marius cradles Eponine when she's dying on the battlefield, it begins to rain. This prompts the Tear Jerker duet "Little Fall of Rain":
    Don't you fret, Monsieur Marius
    I don't feel any pain
    A little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now
    You're here - that's all I need to know
    And you will keep me safe
    And you will keep me close
    And rain will make the flowers grow...
  • William Shakespeare: the scene on the Blasted Heath where King Lear contemplates his descent into homelessness and insanity during a thunderstorm, with only his faithful Fool for company.

    Videogames 
  • Video games don't do this one that often, but Final Fantasy VII - or more pointedly, the Compilation - seems to be in love with it. It starts raining in the original game right after Squicky Mad Scientist Hojo has been defeated, in Advent Children after Sephiroth's defeat, and Kadaj's Pietà Plagiarism death scene - complete with Cloud doing a 'cleansed hero' closed eyes pose - and twice in Crisis Core it rains on Zack as he is forced to mercy-kill his mentor Angeal and rains on Cloud and Zack as the latter dies in the ending. That last one was in the original game, too. Rain, rain, go away...or just until the next poignant death scene.
    • Advent Children at least plays with it a little. Sure, Cloud closing his eyes and striking that pose make for a cliched scene, but it also allows the bad guys to sneak up and unexpectedly shoot him in the back.
    • The original game has the scene with Cloud and Zack on the cliff in the rain, though it's a bit of an Easter Egg (or perhaps Guide Dang It).
  • Featured in Super Street Fighter IV, as Thunder Hawk finally finds his lost girlfriend Julia during a downpour. In a Tear Jerker subversion, poor Julia has become an Empty Shell due to the horrible abuse and brainwashing from Shadaloo. (Though she may be able to get better.)
  • Used and lampshaded in Peasant's Quest.
    Here goes nothin', Kid Icarus
    {Rather Dashing shoots an arrow and hits the Kerrek}
    ARROWED!! Nice shot. You smote the Kerrek! He lay there stinking.
    A light rain heralds the washing free of the Kerrek's grip on the land. You're feeling pretty good, though, so the artless symbolism doesn't bug you.
  • Spec Ops: The Line evokes this imagery during the loading screen of the Epilogue of the game. Captain Walker is standing out in the middle of a heavy downpour with his arms outstretched, welcoming the satisfaction of the cleansing water in the barren desert. Fittingly he has blood on his skin that the rain is washing off of his body, symbolically cleansing him of all of his guilt over what happened in Dubai. The Epilogue itself has no dramatic rain scene but it does offer him a chance to attain a redemption of sorts.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Heaven's Feel route of Fate/stay night a winter rainstorm brings this for both Shirou and Sakura. Shirou casts aside his ideal so he can save Sakura, abandoning a path that would have turned him into an emotionless monster. Sakura discovers that despite years of abuse and her self-loathing belief she is unworthy of being loved, Shirou still loves her.

    Webcomics 
  • Zimmy in Gunnerkrigg Court: Based on the Power Station chapter, chances are that (natural, not artificial) rain washes away the illusions in her uncontrollable Mental World.
  • In It's Walky! Joyce and Walky get their own redemption in the rain, complete with a dramatic monologue that repeats throughout the finale.
  • In Everyday Heroes, it's raining on the day Jane is released from prison. She walks away from her villainous family, her criminal career, and her entire past ... and never looks back.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Celebrity Deathmatch, when Oliver Stone arranges for one of these shots after he beats Martin Scorcese... only to have the camera slip off the crane and kill him.
  • When Simba climbs Pride Rock at the end of The Lion King, it begins to rain. A clear case of the rain being "purifying" and symbolizing new life, as the sequence includes a gazelle's skull being dislodged and washed away.
  • The Daria episode "Boxing Daria" features the title character storming out of her house to see her boyfriend after her parents admit that they split up for a night after arguing about her. On the way it starts raining, causing a multi-car pileup which she narrowly avoids and forcing her to head into a nearby diner, where she calls Jane and has a touching conversation that leads her to go back home and finish hearing her parents out.
  • Parodied in Robot Chicken. Batman travels through a sewer and emerges extremely filthy and exhausted. He stands in the rain and roars... only for the rain to suddenly stop.


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