The film narrates the life of middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, concentrating on the period between 1966 and 1985. It describes his fight against the conviction for triple murder and how he copes with nearly twenty years in prison. 
In a parallel plot, an underprivileged youth from Brooklyn, Lesra Martin, (Vicellous Reon Shannon) becomes interested in Carter's life and destiny after reading Carter's autobiography, and convinces his Canadian friends to engage themselves in the case. The story culminates with Carter team's successful pleas to Judge H. Lee Sarokin of the United States District Courts.

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