The River (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

The River (1984)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The River Photos

Movie Info

This socially conscious family farm drama from director Mark Rydell was his follow up to the Oscar-winning On Golden Pond (1981). Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek star as Tom and Mae Garvey, struggling Tennessee farmers constantly one step away from foreclosing. Their farm sits next to a river that both nourishes their land and constantly threatens to overflow its banks and destroy their crops. The Garveys sell some of their equipment for obscenely low prices at a foreclosure auction, at which some of their neighbors are forced to give up everything they own. The stoic Tom takes a job as a scab at a mill where the union workers are striking. Meanwhile, Mae has a platonic flirtation with local bank manager Joe (Scott Glenn), who saves her life when she's trapped under a heavy piece of farm equipment. Tom's homecoming is cut short by a flood, but the raging waters allow him to become a hero to his family again. The River was the third in a trio of dramas depicting the plight of the American family farmer released that same year. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Mel Gibson
as Tom Garvey
Sissy Spacek
as Mae Garvey
Scott Glenn
as John Wade
Shane Bailey
as Lewis Garvey
Becky Jo Lynch
as Beth Garvey
Don Hood
as Sen. Neiswinder
Billy Green Bush
as Harve Stanley
James Tolkan
as Howard Simpson
Bob W. Douglas
as Hal Richardson
Andy Stahl
as Dave Birkin
Larry D. Farrell
as Rod Tessley
Lisa Sloan
as Judy Birkin
Larry D. Ferrell
as Rod Tessley
Susie Toomey
as Sally Tessley
Kelly Toomey
as Lisa Tessley
Desmond Couch
as Wilderfoot
Jim Antonio
as Dan Gaumer
Amy Rydell
as Betty Gaumer
David Hart
as Harley
Ira M. Quillen II
as TV Weatherman
Matt Bearson
as Employee
Elizabeth Lane
as Secretary
Gary Gershaw
as Drifter
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Critic Reviews for The River

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (11)

The River is nothing more than a conventional, albeit pretty, melodrama.

April 17, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson suffer admirably as the farm couple, but their roles have no real dimension.

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

[The River] has a meticulously detailed physical production and, from time to time, is acted with passion by its cast. Yet its ideas are so profoundly muddled that the film must run mainly on sentimentality.

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

[The River has] a rousing conclusion, and while the story may be melodramatic, the picture could hardly be more realistic.

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

The Hallmark glow is appropriate, for this River is no Depression documentary; it is a fantasy of domestic integrity, where the spirit of Walker Evans surrenders to the sentiment of Walt Disney.

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

Are there more farmer movies now than farmers?

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The River

Not one of Sissy's best moments. I guess she had to put up with being married to Mel Gibson and see her farm wash away. It would leave a lasting mark on anyone. I feel no more sympathy for the American farmer after viewing this one.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A movie that shows you not to judge Sissy Spacek by her performance in Carrie.

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Sissy is good as always, Mel over earnest.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The River Quotes

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