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The River Rat (1984)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 614 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 1 critic

After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.

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(as Tom Rickman)

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Title: The River Rat (1984)

The River Rat (1984) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Doc Cole
Shawn Smith ...
Wexel
Nancy Lea Owen ...
Vadie
Norman Bennett ...
Sheriff Cal
Tony Frank ...
Poley
...
Joyce
Roger Copeland ...
Young Billy
Tommy Burlison ...
Whitey
Tamara Hartley ...
Young Joyce
Louise Anderson ...
Wexel's Aunt
Melissa Hart ...
Peggy
Mary Harper ...
Old Woman
James Hurt ...
Motorist
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Storyline

After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film

Taglines:

He paid for his crime . . . now he must pay for his freedom!

Genres:

Adventure | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La barca del infierno  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's title "The River Rat" refers to the name of the boat that father Tommy Lee Jones and daughter Martha Plimpton build. See more »

Goofs

Wexel puts his branch into the fire twice. See more »

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User Reviews

Nice relationship drama
10 December 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Jonsy is a pre-teen girl who lives by the Mississippi river with her grandmother. When her father Billy is released early from prison she tries to become close to him. However when Doc emerges from Billy's past looking for the money he stole things become more urgent.

This is essentially the story of a father and daughter trying to bond after never being together. The story may take a more sinister turn as Doc takes them on a river journey to find the stolen money, but it's still a family drama for the most part. The family drama is well observed with good characters - only the boy Wexel comes across as a slight Southern stereotype. However Doc's introduction doesn't take away from this side, rather it adds a darker level involving murder, revenge and eventual redemption. But over all this it works as a nice, non-sentimental relationship drama.

The film is the one that gave Martha Plimpton to the world and, while that may not be a good thing, she is good here - a child actress that isn't annoying. Also a pre-fame Tommy Lee Jones gives a strong performance as Billy who is slowly won over by fatherly concern for his daughter. Also giving a good show is Brian Dennehy (long before he started specialising in TV movies about crooked cops), here his bad guy slowly develops a tragic feel about him - just as his poison ivy wounds develop more to entrap him.

The film is a clever relationship drama with a grisly edge to it. It's worth watching for it's simplicity and for it's good performances. Don't expect a masterpiece but it's a refreshing little drama.


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