The teacher Gail Hartman is facing problems with her marriage with her husband, the workaholic architect Tom Hartman. On the birthday of their son Roarke, Gail decides to leave her daughter with her parents and take her family to raft down a wild river where she was a guide. On the departure, a young man named Wade befriends Roarke and leaves the place with his friends Terry and Frank. Later the family encounters Wade and Terry, who do not have rafting experience, and Gail helps them to cross a whitewater. They get closer to the family and soon Gail and Tom learn a dark secret about Wade and Terry. What will they do to get rid of the men? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Late Academy Award Winning Composer Maurice Jarre originally wrote the film's score, but due to poor test screenings for the film, the music was rejected and Jerry Goldsmith was brought in to re-score the film. A documentary on the late composer features him and Curtis Hanson during the recording sessions of the soundtrack. See more »
After Terry falls out of the boat on Little Niagara, there is a quick wide shot of the boat showing all four people still in the boat. See more »
Roarke! Roarke! I've told you for the 157th time, turn that damn music off. I'm losing my hearing. Jeez. You gotta find your sneakers buddy. You owe me.
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Dog named 'Maggie' is listed in the credits (almost top-billing) as being played by a dog named 'Buffy.' See more »
Not the most exciting movie due to its restrained concept and settings but a well made movie nevertheless.
"The River Wild" isn't among the best or most exciting thriller/action movies ever made but it's a very well made one by acclaimed director Curtis Hanson and with a great cast.
A movie set entirely on a river, with as the central piece of the movie a family, complete with kids and a dog. How exciting does that sound? It sound like a 'based on true events' Hallmark type of movie. But don't be fooled. "The River Wild" is a movie that has plenty to offer, despite its very restrained concept and settings of the movie.
The movie is also more original than you perhaps would expect. The movie also does a fair job at keeping things sort of a mystery for a long time. I especially like how 'the bad guys' try to set up the family against each other to create disorder and different camps, of which they can profit from for their own benefit. It's perhaps not as good and prominently executed as it could had but nevertheless the movie gets points for the attempt, that also I must say mostly works out due to Kevin Bacon's fine role.
Watching this movie sort of makes you think what a shame it is that Bacon doesn't really play villainous roles anymore. He only played these sort of roles in the early '90's, though he had an obvious talent for it. Not that he plays crappy roles now but nevertheless it remains a shame he doesn't play more often the bad guy. He is perfectly good in his role in this movie. He knows to portray a likable character that you're also able to hate at times. A real achievement. But also credits have to go to Meryl Streep, who plays a fine strong female lead and other great actors such as David Strathairn, Joseph Mazzello and John C. Reilly.
Despite that it's not the most exciting movie in its genre it still is one that is always fast going and never boring to watch. The movie mostly features nature action, set on the river. So it's a pretty original movie in its genre but I don't know, movies set at mostly the same locations are just never among my favorite or most exciting ones to watch, such as for instance in my personal experience also was the case with movies such as "Speed" and "Phone Booth".
The movie is of course a great looking, thanks to its nature settings. Also the musical score by Jerry Goldsmith is really worth mentioning.
It's just a fine movie, that is perfectly put together and has a great cast but it's just not the finest exciting genre movie thinkable and it perhaps is also a bit too simplistic, also due to its restraints.
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