I currently live in Portland, Oregon, home of "it rains so much here that we stubbornly refuse to use umbrellas even though that doesn't make any sense shut up!" My former native cities of the last year include New York and Boston, both recovering from huge rainstorms that required emergency measures. April seems to be rainy everywhere, and while it can be a drag in real life, it makes for some great movie scenes. Here's a smattering of some great rainy scenes/films. (Spoilers indicated by an asterisk, but most of them aren't things you couldn't figure out yourself)
*The Public Enemy (1931) - In James Cagney's star-making turn, hardened gangster Tom Powers meets his end from a gunshot in a rainy street while wimpering "I ain't so tough." Incidentally, he would go down in literal flames in White Heat (1949).
Key Largo (1948) - The rain could almost be considered another character in this noir - it's what keeps the protagonists trapped inside a hotel with a crazed criminal and his goons, and keeps making menacing cameos through the windows or when the doors periodically blow open.
Gun Crazy (1950) - An obsession begins. Young Bart Tare stands out in the rain, lusting after the guns in a shop window. He impulsively breaks the window and steals one, but trips in the course of his getaway and sees his prize slide to the feet of the local sheriff. From there, reform school and then even worse, a woman...
The African Queen (1951) - It's a small moment, but a significant one. Katharine Hepburn's prim and proper missionary and Humphrey Bogart's rough and tumble captain are stuck together on his boat, and when it starts raining in the middle of the night Bogey tries for entry into Hepburn's makeshift tent. Appalled at his lack of propriety, she quickly shoos him out, but when she realizes how miserable the weather is she begrudgingly allows him in, starting on the path to getting over herself.
Singin in the Rain (1952) - The one and only. Rain is often used to indicate misery, intrigue or even passion, but rarely is it featured in scenes of unbridled joy. Gene Kelly is high on love, and he tap-dances through pouring rain with an umbrella as his partner in one of the great scenes in cinema history. The fact that he filmed the scene with a high fever makes it all the more impressive.
*Seven Samurai (1954) - How do you make one of cinema's most epic battles even more epic? Rain! It turns the village to slush as bandits (unsuccessfully, of course) attempt to do the same.
Elevator to the Gallows (1958) - At the core of Louis Malle's debut film is a heartbroken Jeanne Moreau wandering the streets of Paris in the rain, looking for her lover that never showed up after murdering her husband (he's stuck in an elevator, hence the title). Malle insisted she didn't wear makeup and consequently several labs refused to process the footage, but he persisted and the result is the very incarnation of bleak misery and heartbreak.
*Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Many films have a tearful and rain-soaked reunion of lovers at the end, but how many of those start as a search through the streets for a cat and end up featuring a wet and pissed-off cat smooshed into the final embrace?
Two for the Road (1967) - In this criminally underrated film, Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn play a couple reminiscing on their often joyous but often tumultuous marriage. In one of the happier memories, they are hitchhiking in Europe and get stranded in the rain, so they seek refuge in a giant concrete tube they find and fall asleep. When they wake up, they find themselves on the back of a truck (but without the "headed for a giant nefarious crushing machine!" cliche you would expect to find next).
*Blade Runner (1982) - Dying replicant Roy Batty becomes embroiled in a chase with Deckard in a downpour, but he ultimately can't outrun the pre-destined end of his life. He delivers a soliloquoy about his life, likening the events he's seen to "tears in the rain," a line that was unscripted but became one of the film's most memorable.
Jurassic Park (1993) - I wouldn't have guessed that rain could somehow make a T-Rex more menacing, but there you go.
Chasing Amy (1997) - A scene that you'd expect to be at the end of the movie, but here it proves to be only the beginning. Holden spills his love for his allegedly lesbian friend Alyssa in the pouring rain, in a scene that would probably be cheesy if it wasn't for Kevin Smith's characteristically great and down-to-earth dialogue.
The Ice Storm (1997) - The titular storm is rain before it's ice, and it serves as a catalyst near the end of the film that kills, reconciles, and teaches the self-absorbed characters what's actually important.
Pleasantville (1998) - A film that primarily takes place inside a 1950s sitcom, which is perfectly controlled universe until a brother and sister from the present arrive and cause all kinds of trouble. Sex, rebellion, and even color enter the black-and-white world, but a turning point is when Pleasantville gets its first rain. The teenagers react with delight, and the older generations respond with fear, panic and the notion that this is indicative of great evil. (I won't make the obvious political analogy for fear of the foaming-at-the-mouth comments it may incite.)
All About My Mother (1999) - A mother watches her teenage son get hit and killed by a taxi containing his favorite actress, whom he was chasing for an autograph. Apparently this scene is blatantly lifted from John Cassavetes' Opening Night both in style and plot (Pedro Almodovar said so himself), but where the latter uses that incident as a launching point to focus on the actress, AAMM focuses on the mother. Particularly heartbreaking since at the end of the scene the camera has the POV of the victim and spirals around his grieving and screaming mother.
Spider-Man (2002) - KIRSTEN DUNST'S BOOBS! KIRSTEN DUNST'S BOOBS! But seriously though, this scene was hot and original before it was iconic and oft-parodied. If you live under a rock and still don't know what I'm talking about, Peter Parker as Spider-Man rescues Mary Jane from some thugs and she treats him to a kiss in the rain while he's upside down. And because of the rain, you can kind of see her BOOBS.
And if you don't define rain strictly as water...
*Magnolia (1999) - It rains frogs. Even more insane than that is how not entirely insane it feels in what's otherwise a mostly realistic drama.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) - It rains everything from steaks to ice cream and of course, spaghetti and meatballs. This is rain I could get behind (imagine the savings on your food budget!)
Almost any movie with John Cusack, apparently - it seems pointless to isolate just one or two when this exists.
And a billion gazillion more - I apologize in advance for all the ones I forgot. What are your favorite rainy scenes?