IMDb > The River (1984)
The River
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The River (1984) More at IMDbPro »

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The River -- Sissy Spacek, Mel Gibson and Scott Glenn star in this moving tribute to love, faith, determination and the vanishing America of the independent farm family.  Tom and Mae Garvey (Gibson and Spacek) are struggling to keep their homestead safe from the local power authority who wants to flood their land. When Mae's former beau, John Wade (Glenn), turns out to be in charge of the plan to acquire the property, tensions run high, climaxing in a devastating confrontation on the flooded river banks.


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Up 14% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert Dillon (story)
Robert Dillon (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The River on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 December 1984 (USA) See more »
He showed her his strength, his courage, his incredible will. She showed him her love. [Theatrical Australia] See more »
Farming family battles severe storms, a bank threatening to reposses their farm, and other hard times in a battle to save and hold on to their farm. See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Maltin's summary is off base See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Mel Gibson ... Tom Garvey

Sissy Spacek ... Mae Garvey
Shane Bailey ... Lewis Garvey
Becky Jo Lynch ... Beth Garvey

Scott Glenn ... Joe Wade
Don Hood ... Senator Neiswinder

Billy Green Bush ... Harve Stanley

James Tolkan ... Howard Simpson
Bob W. Douglas ... Hal Richardson

Andy Stahl ... Dave Birkin
Lisa Sloan ... Judy Birkin
Larry D. Ferrell ... Rod Tessley
Susie Toomey ... Sally Tessley
Kelly Toomey ... Lisa Tessley

Frank Hoyt Taylor ... Zemke (as Frank Taylor)
Ivan Green ... Smoot
Desmond Couch ... Wilderfoot
Charles G. Riddle ... Youngdall

Jim Antonio ... Dan Gaumer

Samuel Scott Osborne ... Billy Gaumer
Amy Rydell ... Betty Gaumer
David Hart ... Harley
Barry Primus ... Roy
Mark Erickson ... Baines

Jack Starrett ... Swick

Charles Robinson ... Truck
Dean Whitworth ... Doctor
Chuck Hanson ... Fat Man (as Charles S. Hanson)
Ira M. Quillen II ... TV Weatherman
Matt Bearson ... First Employee
Timothy Shadden ... Second Employee
Elizabeth Lane ... Secretary
Gary Gershaw ... Drifter

Directed by
Mark Rydell 
Writing credits
Robert Dillon (story)

Robert Dillon (screenplay) and
Julian Barry (screenplay)

Produced by
Robert Cortes .... producer
Edward Lewis .... producer
Original Music by
John Williams 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond 
Film Editing by
Sidney Levin 
Casting by
Lynn Stalmaster 
Production Design by
Charles Rosen 
Art Direction by
Norman Newberry 
Set Decoration by
Jane Bogart 
Costume Design by
Joe I. Tompkins 
Makeup Department
Pete Altobelli .... assistant makeup artist
Lynn Del Kail .... hair stylist
Brenda Todd .... makeup artist
Production Management
Terry Carr .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Matt Bearson .... dga trainee
Christopher Wilkinson .... second unit director (as Chris Wilkinson)
Robert Yannetti .... second assistant director
Tena Psyche Yatroussis .... second assistant director
Jerry Ziesmer .... first assistant director
Art Department
Jimmy Day .... carpenter foreman
Tim Donelan .... swing gang
David F. Klassen .... set designer
Donald Krafft .... lead man
Sherman Labby .... production illustrator
William Maldonado .... construction coordinator
Mitch Mitchell .... greensman
Leonard Monfredo .... painter foreman
Nick Navarro .... set designer (as Nicanor Navarro)
Bob Nohles .... carpenter foreman
William Ladd Skinner .... set designer
John Slatsky .... drapery
Sonny Van Hecke .... assistant property master
Robert J. Visciglia Sr. .... property master
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
Peg McClellan .... illustrator (uncredited)
James Passanante .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Lee Alexander .... sound recordist: second unit
Nick Alphin .... sound re-recording mixer
Ed Bannon .... foley recordist
Duke Brown .... sound apprentice
Neil Burrow .... sound editor
Joseph Geisinger .... cable person
Hector C. Gika .... sound assistant
Stephen Katz .... sound recordist: second unit
Greg Orloff .... foley recordist
Richard Portman .... supervising re-recording mixer
Rod Rogers .... sound assistant
David M. Ronne .... production sound mixer
Kay Rose .... supervising sound editor
Jerry Rosenthal .... sound editor
Joan Rowe .... foley artist
T.E. Sadler .... foley recordist (as Tim Sadler)
Victoria Rose Sampson .... sound editor
Jack Schrader .... sound editor
John B. Schuyler .... boom operator
Larry Singer .... adr editor
Stephanie D. Singer .... sound apprentice
Chester Slomka .... sound editor
Robert Thirlwell .... sound re-recording mixer
John Roesch .... foley artist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Guy Faria .... special effects
Thomas Love .... special effects
Stan Parks .... special effects supervisor
Ken Pepiot .... special effects supervisor
David Simmons .... special effects
Paul Stewart .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Syd Dutton .... matte artist
Bill Taylor .... matte photographer
Rick Avery .... stunts
Clay Boss .... stunts
Jophery C. Brown .... stunts
Blair Burrows .... stunts
Mike De Luna .... stunts
Tom Elliott .... stunts
Richard Epper .... stunts
Harper Flaherty .... stunts
Alan Gibbs .... stunt coordinator
Alan Gibbs .... stunts
Will Harper .... stunts
Johnny Hock .... stunts
Paula Marie Moody .... stunts
Bennie Moore .... stunts
Mark Orrison .... stunts
Branscombe Richmond .... stunts
Mario Roberts .... stunts
Spike Silver .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Norman Ash .... electrician
William D. Barber .... assistant camera (as Bill Barber)
Michael Barrett .... electrician
John J. Connor .... additional photographer: second unit (as John Jennings Connor)
John J. Connor .... camera operator
Dick Deats .... key grip
Jessie Deats .... grip
Michael Gershman .... camera operator
Gregg Guellow .... best boy grip
Robert Heine .... assistant camera
Ray Kinzer .... key grip: second unit
Jack Kirk .... gaffer: second unit
Peter Kuttner .... assistant camera: second unit
J. Michael McClary .... assistant camera
Michael McGowan .... camera operator
Fred L. McLane .... assistant camera
Rexford L. Metz .... additional photographer: second unit
Tony Moran .... grip
Ken Nishino .... assistant camera
Brent Poe .... electrician
Steven Poster .... director of photography: second unit (as Steven B. Poster)
Dutch Presley .... best boy electric
Troy Rushing .... electrician
Hank Sheppherd .... grip
James M. Sheppherd .... dolly grip
Philip Sloan .... best boy electric (as Phil Sloane)
Stuart A. Spohn .... gaffer
Pat Thompson .... electrician
Joseph D. Urbanczyk .... cinematography intern: AFI
Ted Varnadoe .... best boy electric
D. Michael Wheeler .... assistant camera
Harry Wittis .... generator operator
Randy Woodside .... best boy electric
James Zenk .... still photographer
John J. Connor .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Casting Department
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Jody Hummer .... extras casting
Barry Primus .... casting consultant
Shirley Fulton Crumley .... location casting (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Darryl M. Athons .... costumer
Greg Hall .... costumer
Peni Mandel .... costumer
Hugo Peña .... costumer
Pamela Wise .... costumer
Editorial Department
Beau Barthel .... assistant film editor
Donah Bassett .... negative cutter
Robert Frazen .... assistant film editor
Aubrey Head .... color timer
Karen Kory .... apprentice film editor
Stephen R. Myers .... apprentice film editor
Rick Sparr .... associate film editor
Music Department
Thomas A. Carlson .... assistant music editor
Sandy DeCrescent .... orchestra manager
Warren Luening .... musician: trumpet solo
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator
Tommy Tedesco .... musician: guitar solo
James Walker .... musician: flute solo
Dan Wallin .... music recording mixer
Kenneth Wannberg .... music editor
Tom Boyd .... musician: oboe soloist (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Bob Cornell .... transportation co-captain
Chuck Hanson .... transportation coordinator
Jim Johnson .... transportation captain
Mike Robinson .... driver: star trailer (uncredited)
Other crew
Julie Adams .... dialect coach
Bruce Bahrenburg .... unit publicist
Richard Dixon .... production accountant
Gary Gershaw .... production assistant
Susan Joy Harris .... assistant: Mr. Cortes
Mable Lawson-McCrary .... production assistant: second unit (as Mable Lawson McCrary)
Doralee Leon .... assistant: Mr. Lewis
Larry Little .... production assistant
Earl McClintock .... location projectionist
Richard Meleckian .... agricultural consultant
Patty Mitchell .... production assistant
Zeljko Negovetic .... animal trainer
Trish Niehaus .... production secretary: Alabama
Betsy Norton .... script supervisor
Joe O'Har .... location manager
Barbara Pensiero .... production secretary: Tennessee
Marty Pessin .... assistant production accountant
Willie Radcliff .... craft service
Stephanie Saunders .... assistant: Mr. Rydell
David C. Thomas .... location manager (as David Thomas)
Jeffrey White .... production assistant
Joan Wolpert .... production coordinator
Ron Bledsoe .... assistant animal trainer (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
122 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Filmed in Gate City, Virginia, and Hawkins County (Church Hill, Surgoinsville and Rogersville) in Northeast Tennessee. Much of the movie was filmed on 440 acres of the Hawkins County land purchased by Universal Studios by the Holston River in Tennessee. It was cleared and turned into working farms in four weeks. The production used a real river regulated for flood scenes with a dam that was slated for repair. The dam was fixed and altered with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.See more »
[first lines]
Mae Garvey:Watch out, Tom! Beth, get in the truck! Tom! Are you hurt?
See more »
Radio LoverSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
Maltin's summary is off base, 24 July 1999
Author: MovieFan-48 from California

I recently rented this movie because I'm a Mel Gibson fan, but before I did, I read over the review by Leonard Maltin on these pages and found that his comment "but Gibson's character is so coldly stubborn that it's hard to empathize" regarding the character Tom Garvey was pretty harsh.

This is not a man so stubborn you cannot empathize with him in the least. Harrison Ford's character in Mosquito Coast was such a man, but this guy is a good man trying to do what's right for himself and for his family and I didn't see him as cold either. Again, look to Mosquito Coast if you're looking for a father who's cold, TOO stubborn and unloving.

If you want to see a good movie about farmers facing adversity from the weather and from their "neighbors" this is a good one to rent. Justly nominated for cinematography, it's a very pretty movie, although I'd have liked to see it on the big screen to get the full effects of the river shots. Sissy Spacek was of course excellent as well.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (10 total) »

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They filmed the softball scene at my school. plivingston-2
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