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 » Mel Gibson Sissy Spacek Run time: 124 minutes Rating: Pg13« less
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...
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."
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. "
Being a part of a movie
C. Darden | Church Hill, TN United States | 12/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie may not be the best Mel Gibson movie you will ever see, but to me it is special. I was and still am a part of the community where the movie was made. I live not five miles from where most of the movie was shot here in Hawkins County, and within 25 miles of the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee. If you enjoy movies of this time-frame, then you will enjoy it very much. I think that the acting was good and although not perfect, it makes for a good movie."
THE RIVER is not ON GOLDEN POND!
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 12/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After director Mark Rydell was nominated for his one Oscar in 1981 with ON GOLDEN POND he followed up with another "water drama",this time replacing Katherine Hephburn and Henry Fonda in an already successful Broadway play with Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson in a trite heartland drama by Robert Dillon.THE RIVER was not successful then, and time has not been on it's side to make it any more endearing or enduring.Spacek had already won her single Oscar for COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER and Gibson was still emerging from "Down Under" when THE RIVER was filmed.The problem with this film is that this story is so GRAPES OF WRATH, but not anywhere as good.A struggling farmer and his wife try to stave off the floods of the river and the floods of the capitalist who want to drown the valley farmland and make a dam that will generate enough water for everyone.( Not a bad idea.They did it where I live and people were given fair market value and we have lots of water!)Well, Tom Garvey (Gibson) is laughingly bullheaded and will not leave the land of his ancestors.Spacek is WAY more convincing as his wife Mae who stays behind to work the land while Tom becomes a "scab",crossing the picket line in order to get work.The plot is terribly predictable with the perfect happy ending with the appropriate triumphant swell of orchestra.The chemistry between Spacek and Gibson is non-existent! They are simply unbelievable as a struggling couple in love.Scott Glenn's interaction as Joe Wade, Mae's former boyfriend and the man who wants to buy up the land and flood the valley, is far more convincing.I had not seen this film since it first was in the theatres in 1984, and was surprised at just HOW bad Mel Gibson is in this film,and how corny the entire script is! The best thing about this film is the river,itself,which seemed to be it's natural self,unaffected and brilliant in it's acting!If you must see it, get a VHS tape for a penny!"