River's Edge (1986)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  8 May 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 11,224 users  
Reviews: 110 user | 44 critic

A high school slacker kills his girlfriend and shows off her dead body to his friends. However, the friends' reaction is almost as ambiguous and perplexing as the crime itself.



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4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clarissa (as Ione Skye Leitch)
Tim (as Joshua Miller)
Roxana Zal ...
Josh Richman ...
Tammy Smith ...


A group of high school friends must come to terms with the fact that one of them, Samson, killed another, Jamie. Reactions vary, as Layne is intent on protecting Samson and smuggling him out of the state, while others think it's best to go to the police. Matt's tough little brother also finds out about the body and no one knows quite how the police will learn about the murder or who will be blamed for it. Written by Christine Sai-Halasz <sai@mit.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most controversial film you will see this year.


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

River's Edge  »

Box Office


$1,900,000 (estimated)


$4,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(opening sequence)| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although it is a work of fiction, the movie was inspired by the actual murder of Marcy Conrad, who was killed by her boyfriend Anthony Jacques Broussard in Milpitas, California in 1981. See more »


At the beginning of the film, during the first close-up of Jamie's face, her tongue can be seen to move slightly. See more »


[first lines]
Checker: [points at legal age sign]
Samson: That's a real nice sign, how much.
Checker: I have to see ID.
Samson: I left it at home. How much?
Checker: I'm not going to sell you this unless you show me ID.
See more »


Referenced in Mysteries of Love (2002) See more »


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User Reviews

This was considered radical when it first came out...
15 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I can remember a college professor commenting as to how disturbing this film was, reflecting the apathy of adolescents (this was before Generation "X").

In a way, most of us are products of the same consumer culture; these high school kids spend their time drinking, getting high and wondering what to do about the body left on a riverbank.

What would they do today? Would things be different?. Some very important questions. There are some excellent scenes with Keanu Reeves, and the dysfunctional family he lives with; his 11 year old brother going out to get wasted; the mother has no idea what to do- spends her time drinking with her boyfriend.

This film was a bit before its time in that it addresses the problems in lower class American society; these kids had no outlet; what is available for them in this dirt-water town? . All in all a few interesting social commentaries are presented, and there are no solutions. 9/10.

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