IMDb > River of No Return (1954)
River of No Return
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River of No Return (1954) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 42 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
River of No Return -- Matt Calder, who lives on a remote farm with his young son Mark, helps two unexpected visitors who lose control of their raft on the nearby river. Harry Weston is a gambler by profession and he is racing to the nearest town to register a mining claim he has won in a poker game.
River of No Return -- Trailer for this classic directed by Otto Preminger
River of No Return -- Clip: Gold
River of No Return -- Clip: Song in the Saloon


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6.7/10   7,060 votes »
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Down 68% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Frank Fenton (screenplay)
Louis Lantz (story)
View company contact information for River of No Return on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 April 1954 (USA) See more »
Reckless, Roaring, Adventure of the Great Northwest Gold Rush Days! See more »
The title river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Nice Undercurrents See more (69 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Mitchum ... Matt Calder

Marilyn Monroe ... Kay Weston

Rory Calhoun ... Harry Weston

Tommy Rettig ... Mark Calder
Murvyn Vye ... Dave Colby
Douglas Spencer ... Sam Benson
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Aldrich ... Prospector (uncredited)
Claire Andre ... Surrey Driver (uncredited)
Hal Baylor ... Young Punk (uncredited)

Don Beddoe ... Ben (uncredited)
Ralph Bucko ... Council City Barfly (uncredited)
Roy Bucko ... Prospector (uncredited)

Larry Chance ... Young Punk (uncredited)
John Cliff ... Leering Man (uncredited)
Edmund Cobb ... Barber (uncredited)
Cecil Combs ... Prospector (uncredited)

John Doucette ... Man in Saloon (uncredited)
Tex Driscoll ... Prospector (uncredited)
Geneva Gray ... Dance Hall Girl (uncredited)
Al Haskell ... Wagon Driver (uncredited)
Ed Hinton ... Gambler (uncredited)
Michael Jeffers ... Prospector (uncredited)
Dick Johnstone ... Prospector (uncredited)
Mitchell Kowall ... (uncredited)
Richard LaMarr ... Prospector (uncredited)
Anthony Lawrence ... Young Punk (uncredited)
Jarma Lewis ... Saloon Dancer (uncredited)
Jack Low ... Prospector (uncredited)
Hank Mann ... Council City Townsman (uncredited)
Jack Mather ... Card Table Dealer (uncredited)
Ann McCrea ... Dance Hall Girl (uncredited)
Harry Monty ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Fay Morley ... Dancer (uncredited)
Charles Morton ... Prospector (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... Prospector (uncredited)

Barbara Nichols ... Blonde Dancer (uncredited)
Anton Northpole ... Prospector (uncredited)
George Patay ... Council City Barfly (uncredited)

Jack Perrin ... Prospector (uncredited)
Robert Robinson ... Prospector (uncredited)
John Roy ... Prospector (uncredited)
Danny Sands ... Prospector (uncredited)
Ralph Sanford ... Bartender (uncredited)
Harry Seymour ... Pianist (uncredited)
Arthur Shields ... Minister at Tent City (uncredited)
Cap Somers ... Council City Barfly (uncredited)
George Sowards ... Council City Barfly (uncredited)
Jack Tornek ... Prospector (uncredited)
John Veitch ... Young Punk (uncredited)
Bob Whitney ... Council City Barfly (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Prospector (uncredited)

Will Wright ... Trader (uncredited)

Directed by
Otto Preminger 
Jean Negulesco (uncredited)
Writing credits
Frank Fenton (screenplay)

Louis Lantz (story)

Produced by
Stanley Rubin .... producer
Original Music by
Cyril J. Mockridge 
Leigh Harline (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Joseph LaShelle (director of photography) (as Joseph La Shelle)
Film Editing by
Louis R. Loeffler  (as Louis Loeffler)
Art Direction by
Addison Hehr 
Lyle R. Wheeler  (as Lyle Wheeler)
Set Decoration by
Chester Bayhi (set decorations)
Walter M. Scott (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Travilla (costumes designed by)
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
Allan Snyder .... makeup artist: Miss Monroe (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Paul Helmick .... assistant director
Donald C. Klune .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Bernard Freericks .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
Harry Froboess .... stunts (uncredited)
Dan Heather .... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Herron .... stunts (uncredited)
Robert F. Hoy .... stunts (uncredited)
Roy Jenson .... stunt double (uncredited)
Harry Monty .... stunt double: Tommy Rettig (uncredited)
Bob Morgan .... stunts (uncredited)
Helen Thurston .... stunt double: Marilyn Monroe (uncredited)
Tim Wallace .... stunt double: Robert Mitchum (uncredited)
Fred Zendar .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Le Maire .... wardrobe director
Sam Benson .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Orven Schanzer .... first assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Ken Darby .... songs: lyrics
Ken Darby .... vocal director
Lionel Newman .... musical director
Lionel Newman .... songs: music
Edward B. Powell .... orchestration
Other crew
Jack Cole .... choreography
Leonard Doss .... Technicolor color consultant
Ralph Helfer .... animal supervisor: Nature's Haven (uncredited)
George Patey .... stand-in: Rory Calhoun (uncredited)
Tim Wallace .... stand-in: Robert Mitchum (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Bausch & Lomb  CinemaScope lenses by
  • Canadian Government  the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation thanks for its cooperation in the production of this motion picture (as the Canadian Government)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
91 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Canada:G (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | UK:U (original rating) (passed with cuts) | UK:PG (video rating) (1987) (2002) | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #16625, General Audience) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Both Otto Preminger and Marilyn Monroe were forced to do the film against their will, due to contractual obligations. They both expressed their frustration over the script which they considered below par. However, the film was a box office hit upon its release and remains a popular classic western.See more »
Revealing mistakes: The chords Kay plays on the guitar do not match the chords necessary for that particular song.See more »
Kay Weston:I supposed you never made a mistake.See more »
Movie Connections:
I'm Gonna File My ClaimSee more »


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23 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
Nice Undercurrents, 18 July 2001
Author: telegonus from brighton, ma

An unexceptional story beautifully directed by Otto Premiger, whose handling of this routine material makes it work as well in its way as the best of Anthony Mann. A stolen rifle figures prominently in this western, as does an Indian attack, the budding romance between a puritanical homesteader with a past and a saloon singer in trouble, and of course the eponymous and oftentimes violent river they raft down. The northwest scenery is breathtaking. Preminger gives a nice drive to his narrative without stressing any one element for too long. For a while it's a farmer-son story, then a badman story, then there's a journey down the river, then a romance, then an Indian attack. Scenes play out dramatically rather than melodramatically despite the genre limitations of the script, and this shows Preminger's steady hand. He doesn't mind making his movie a bit of a travelogue or nature film if the mood strikes him, and therefore the picture has a nice diversity, and many lovely things to look at. Chief among its many scenic attractions is Marilyn Monroe in the female lead. I can't say that this is her best performance but it's one of her best non-musical or comedy roles that isn't too serious, which is to say it's not at all like How To Marry a Millionaire, Bus Stop, The Prince and the Showgirl or The Seven Year Itch in that there's no air of a heavyweight property with lots of money and talent behind it, which works in the movie's favor, as it is a pleasant surprise. This is perhaps Miss Monroe's only 'throwaway' role of her starring career, and she makes the best of it by playing her part naturally and with none of the ironic, self-referential self-deprecation one often finds in her major starring vehicles. Robert Mitchum is excellent in the male lead, as is Tommy Rettig as his son, who more than holds his own with these two adult heavyweights. The songs Monroe sings are all pretty good and well-delivered and add to the story in each case, which is unusual. One cares for these people, who behave credibly despite the mechanical plot devices, and the movie ends on a touching visually and musically orchestrated grace note, as if something of profound importance had just transpired.

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