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The River (1984) (Ws)
The River
1984
Actors: Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Shane Bailey, Becky Jo Lynch, Scott Glenn
Director: Mark Rydell
Genres: Drama
PG-13     1999     2hr 2min

An independent farm family must fight against the local power authorities when they plan to flood the couples land to make way for a hydroelectric project. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 09/28/2004 Starring:...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Shane Bailey, Becky Jo Lynch, Scott Glenn
Director: Mark Rydell
Creators: Vilmos Zsigmond, Sidney Levin, Edward Lewis, Robert Cortes, Julian Barry, Robert Dillon
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/23/1999
Original Release Date: 12/19/1984
Theatrical Release Date: 12/19/1984
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 2hr 2min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Sharon F. (bookworm01) from STATESBORO, GA
Reviewed on 9/13/2010...
I like "underdog" movies and this is one of the best!
Tammy P. from WINDYVILLE, MO
Reviewed on 11/4/2009...
Great movie!

Movie Reviews

"The River"
Ray Saif | Northwest Virginia | 08/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The art of farming is by far the oldest, most time-honored tradition. It is the ideal way to make an honest living, raise your family away from the madness of the city and gain self-satisfaction by doing something that really matters. "The River" effectivly portrays the plight experienced by many American farmers during the 1980's economical recession. Flooding, forclosure and overdue bills were just a part of life for those most discouraging and undeniably frightning of years. Farm-friendly legislation has been passed in recent years so farmers can apply for disaster relief, equipment loans and bankrupcy loans. The goal is to keep the Family Farm as part of American culture. "The River" was shot in Northwestern Tennessee near Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City and also in Birmingham, Alabama. A 400-acre parcel of land alongside the Holston River, in Tennessee was cleared and turned into a real working farm in just four weeks. The flood scenes were produced in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority using a dam upriver which was slated for repairs. The scenery in the movie is absolutly breathtaking. The mountains, fields and river all seem to blend into one big beautiful picture. "The River" was the third in a trio of farming-based movies that year. The other two are "Country", with Jessica Lange and "Places In the Heart" with Sally Field."
The River
Ray Saif | 08/15/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"A heart-land tragedy relived annually by the rain and consequential flooding of the family farmland by the adjacent river. Mels' character is sullen and cold. He is the quintessential traditional hardworking farmer. He loves his family and works almost pointlessly to keep them on their doomed property. It's difficult to watch him sulk and suffer inwardly. His character is extremely introverted and stubbornly independent. Sissy Spacek is great as the wife who tries to keep her family's head above water literally. She portrays a strong, willful and faithful person. This is a good rainy night movie. The kids are great actors and contribute a lot to the traditional values and family bonding.The onscreen chemistry between Spacek and Gibson underscores the uncomfortable aura of the marriage in the movie. There's something strange about the couple, something that just doesn't click; a feeling of looming doom regarding their relationship. Scott Glenn's character does not help the uneasy tension."
"Sooner or later there's gonna be too much rain."
Westley | Stuck in my head | 01/06/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Sissy Spacek received her fourth Oscar nomination for her role in 1984's "The River." She plays a farm wife, struggling to keep her family intact while her husband (Mel Gibson) tries to save their farm. The farm abuts a small river, which seems to flood every time it rains. The flooding ruins their crops and puts the family at constant peril of bankruptcy. Add to this mixture Scott Glenn, who plays a scheming developer; he wants to buy up all the land and have the government build a dam to flood the valley. Gibson and Spacek refuse to sell their land, and Gibson even takes work at a local mill to stave off creditors. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Gibson, he is replacing striking workers and gets branded a scab.

"The River" tackles a very worth topic - the farming crisis of the 1980s, when many small farmers lost their land for a variety of economic reasons. However, it also tries to address unions, scab workers, and several other social issues. By doing so, the message of the film ends up being a bit jumbled. There also are several unbelievable scenes; in particular, there are several scenes where a crowd reacts in unison, all set to swelling music.

Some viewers are likely to find Gibson's character overly stubborn and aloof. I didn't have a negative reaction to him; he's meant to represent, I think, the many quiet men who fight for their families. These kind of men, though, often are very emotionally expressive, which can make watching them onscreen rather frustrating. I found Scott Glenn's character more problematic. He is supposed to be the villain, but he starts off far too nice before taking a nasty (and abrupt) turn very late in the picture. Fortunately, Sissy Spacek's character is much more fully rounded, and she gives a very good performance. Her performance makes the movie (barely) worth a look.
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