The River (1951)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  19 December 1951 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 3,848 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 55 critic

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

10 Best Action Heroes

We consulted IMDb's Highest-Rated Action-Family Films to came up with 10 scene-stealing action figures your kids can relate to, look up to, and be inspired by.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

Related News

New on Video: ‘The River’
| SoundOnSight
The Noteworthy: 29 April 2015

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 15 Dec 2012
a list of 22 titles
created 28 Nov 2013
a list of 35 titles
created 23 Mar 2014
a list of 30 titles
created 03 May 2014
a list of 34 titles
created 9 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The River" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The River (1951)

The River (1951) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The River.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In Peru in the eighteenth century. Camilla, the star of a theater company, hesitates between three men. The Viceroy gives her his magnificent golden coach. A young Spanish officer suggests ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Anna Magnani, Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli
French Cancan (1954)
Comedy | Musical | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Françoise Arnoul, María Félix
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love to a man at the inn, where they spend the day.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Jane Marken, Georges D'Arnoux
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man and a woman arrive in a cafe-hotel near the belgian frontier. The customers recognize the man from the police's description. His name is Amedee Lange, he murdered Batala in Paris. His... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: René Lefèvre, Florelle, Jules Berry
Day of Wrath (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The young wife of an aging priest falls in love with his son amidst the horror of a merciless witch hunt in 17th century Denmark.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Thorkild Roose, Lisbeth Movin, Sigrid Neiiendam
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet
La Chienne (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Cashier Maurice Legrand is married to Adele, a terror. By chance, he meets Lucienne, "Lulu", and makes her his mistress. He thinks he finally met love, but Lulu is nothing but a ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Georges Flamant, Janie Marèse
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Polish countess Elena falls in love to a Frensh radical party's candidate, a general, in pre world war I Paris, but another officer pines for her.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Jean Marais, Mel Ferrer
Ugetsu (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka


Complete credited cast:
Nora Swinburne ...
The Mother
The Father
Arthur Shields ...
Mr. John
Suprova Mukerjee ...
Thomas E. Breen ...
Capt. John
Patricia Walters ...
Radha ...
June Hillman ...
Narration (voice)


Three teenage girls are living in Bengal (India) near a big river : Harriet is the oldest child of a big family of English settlers. Valerie is the unique daughter of an American industrialist. Melanie has an American father and an Indian mother. One day, a man arrives. He will be the first love of the three girls. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bengal | american | india | love | river | See All (193) »


Beauty...Mystery...Delightful Humor...


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |



Release Date:

19 December 1951 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The River  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Esmond Knight, who plays the one-eyed Father, did actually lose his eye in the war, during the battle to sink the Bismark. He served on the Prince of Wales, and later starred as the Captain of the Prince of Wales in the film Sink the Bismarck! (1960). See more »


Harriet's arms change position when lighting Captain John's cigarette on the boat. See more »


Valerie: That's funny. Usually I hate men. I often think, do you know what, that I ought to be a nun.
Capt. John: Ha-ha-ha. All little kittens think that.
Valerie: Little kitten. I went to a party last Christmas and they thought I was 18.
Capt. John: What happens when they think you're 18?
Valerie: It was very silly. But, I liked it.
See more »


Featured in Celluloid Man (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A great film
18 April 2005 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

After a family tragedy, an adolescent girl blurts out angrily at the dinner table, "We just go on as if nothing has happened". "No", her mother responds, "we just go on". The River, Jean Renoir's first color film, is about going on -- the ebb and flow of life that mirrors the path of the sacred river Ganges that flows nearby. Filmed on location in India, The River is a sumptuously beautiful film that was called by Martin Scorsese ""one of the two most beautiful color films ever made" and one of his "most formative movie experiences." The film has been brought to life magnificently in a new Criterion DVD that contains an introduction by Jean Renoir, an interview with Scorsese, and a biography of author Rumer Godden, who grew up in India and whose work formed the basis for Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus (1947).

Set in India at the time of independence, its themes are universal: the feeling of being an outsider, of running away from unpleasant situations, and the hopelessly romantic stirring of adolescent love. While the film reflects the point of view of a British colonial family, it is respectful of the surrounding culture and pays homage to Hindu and Buddhist traditions through stories, documentary footage, and dance sequences. Harriet (Patricia Walters) is the adult narrator who looks back on her days as an adolescent. About thirteen in the film, she lives with her four sisters and brother Bogey in a colonial house in India that looks out upon the Ganges. Renoir's camera captures the energy and rhythm of life on the river: its peddlers, ships, markets, people coming and going, the crowds, everything in constant motion juxtaposed with the timeless tranquility of the river.

Harriet's father (Esmond Knight) who lost an eye during the war, runs a jute manufacturing plant while his pregnant wife (Nora Swinburne) takes care of the house, assisted by governess Nan (Suprova Mukerjee). When a young American named Captain John (Thomas E. Breen) comes to visit his cousin Mr. John (Arthur Shields) after losing his leg in the war, his dreams of being left alone are short lived. Harriet becomes infatuated with Captain John but has to contend with two other female admirers: her older friend Valerie (Adrienne Corri), a flaming redhead, and Mr. John's daughter Melanie (Radha Shri Ram), a young woman of mixed ethnicity who was born in India but reared in a British boarding school. The arrival of Captain John brings a clear signal that the girls must face the end of what has been an idyllic childhood.

All feel like outsiders: Melanie is caught between two cultures and questions whether she will ever fit into either, Harriet expresses her adolescent longings in idealistic poetry, Valerie is overwhelmed by her innocent desires, and Captain John is a deeply troubled man who only wants to live a normal life. Although the acting can be a bit wooden especially during peak dramatic moments, it does not detract from the film's authenticity. The River is definitely of its time and its attitudes towards women are dated, yet it is a work that transcends time and place to capture universal emotions. It is a great film that can be relished over and over again with increasing appreciation.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sadly, this is a terrible movie and you all know it . gtstanton
Why I am the only one who doesn't like this... sidekick86
Capt. John's letters devaughn_05
Melanie amukhop
Patricia Walters nebbs
What is it about this film? cinephile_12
Discuss The River (1951) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: