13-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of an unreported plane crash. Alone in the Yukon wilderness, Brian must learn to survive by his wits, find food and shelter, and brave wild, hungry ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Louise Baker ...
Woman at picnic
Store Clerk
John Jakes ...
Rescue plane pilot
Lois Mallory ...
Ollie Mann ...


13-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of an unreported plane crash. Alone in the Yukon wilderness, Brian must learn to survive by his wits, find food and shelter, and brave wild, hungry animals until or if he is found. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

survivor | yukon | wilderness | boy | pilot | See All (15) »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hatchet  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,494,969 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The star of this movie, Jared Rushton, co-starred with David Moscow in the movie Big (1988). David Moscow also co-starred in the sequel to this movie, White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild II (1993). See more »


When Brian first flees from the mosquitoes and takes refuge under a log, the shadow of a boom microphone can be seen sweeping across the lower right of the screen. See more »


Rescue plane pilot: Hey, I picked up your emergency transmission. Who are you?
Brian Robeson: I'm Brian Robenson. Want something to eat?
See more »


References The Worm Eaters (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

The unfinnished puzzle. (spoilers)
27 January 2005 | by (Orlando, Florida) – See all my reviews

I had never read Gary Paulsen's novel, Hatchet, for which 'A Cry in the Wild' is the adaptation of, so I can't make any comparisons to the book. I will, however, say that as a film on its own, adaptation or no adaptation, it was an underdeveloped adventure that provides no major explanation of its few characters.

Think of 'A Cry in the Wild' as a less luxurious, teenage mountaineer (was Quincy, California the only place this was filmed?) version of 'Cast Away.' Jared Rushton is 13-year-old Brian Roebson, a kid headed on a small plane to visit his father, until the craft crashes over some deserted mountain terrain, leaving the kid stranded for quite a while and having to defend himself.

There are basically three parts to the film. The obvious being the ten or fifteen minute introduction of the characters, namely Brian and his mom.

The next third of the movie (which really consumes nearly all of the film) is that of Brian "roughing it." These scenes contain no particularly amazing action, nothing spectacular other than lots of beautiful cinematography of a beautiful Yukon landscape. Nothing to put you on edge, no real encounters (except a brisk confrontation with a cub), and no major dilemmas to initiate some sort of enjoyment or connection with the character on the screen. You might even feel briefly bored with the passage of time as we witness Brian dealing with his situation through first, primitive means, and then more improved ones (using tools, etc) for his survival. It is more like the ordinary time that passes if you were actually stuck in the situation, and that is pretty much about it. In other words, they put no meat on the Paulsen's words when they translated them into a visual media.

And, of course, the third part of the movie is his rescue.

There is a subplot that continuously seeks to make itself known during this time, however. Some conflict between Brian and his parents that created a rocky, awkward relationship between them. However, for the most part, it is only explained in brief, intermittent, minimal dialog flashbacks that look more like a back story for a music video. Any minute, the singer from Jefferson Starship, should chime in an start singing 'Sara.' Other than what the viewer can draw from the implications, or guess for his own need to fill the gaps in the narrative, we get a very underdeveloped back story which was probably necessary to enjoy at least part of this film and create a connection to the characters, whether or not it really had anything to do with Brian's survival adventure in the third part of the movie. These are the flaws in the narrative that through the viewer into a stupor as he struggles to find out what the heck those people there on the screen are doing and, for me, almost done to the point of screaming at the television to say something and tell me more!

It certainly was not, for me, a good adventure tale. But, for fans of Jared Rushton, it was one of the last few movies he made. So, watch it purely for nostalgia, if nothing else.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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