The River Wild (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  30 September 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 31,052 users  
Reviews: 67 user | 41 critic

Rafting expert Gail takes on a pair of armed killers while navigating a spectacularly violent river.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Willa Hartman
Tom Hartman
Gail's Mother
Victor Galloway ...
Gail's Father (as Victor H. Galloway)
Ranger Johnny
Paul Cantelon ...


Gail, an expert at white water rafting, takes her family on a trip down a river on which she used to be a guide. Along the way, the family encounters two men who are unexperienced rafters that need to find their friends down river. Later, the family finds out that the pair of men are armed robbers. The men then physically force the family to take them down the river to meet their accomplices. The rafting trip for the family is definitely ruined, but most importantly, their lives are at stake. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The vacation is over

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and threatening moments | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

30 September 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Río salvaje  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$45,000,000 (estimated)


£2,430,239 (UK) (17 March 1995)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 Director Curtis Hanson during the recording sessions of the soundtrack. See more »


Throughout the movie, Gail warns the bad guys that there's no way out of the canyon other than via the Gauntlet, which only she can navigate. But Wade threatens to shoot her anyway. Moreover, Tom, the dad, runs ahead the boat and past the Gauntlet. See more »


[first lines]
Gail: 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dog named 'Maggie' is listed in the credits (almost top-billing) as being played by a dog named 'Buffy.' See more »


Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »


The Water is Wide
Performed by Cowboy Junkies
Courtesy of BMG Music Canada, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Streep rides the rapids and has Bacon for breakfast
14 August 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Meryl Streep plays a part out of her normal range in Curtis Hanson's 1994 actioner, as an expert whitewater rafter, who has to save herself and her son - eventually with the aid of hubby - from a couple of desperados, who insist on being taken through some awesome rapids. I don't know how much was Streep, how much stunt-double, and how much effects, but her character emerges as a convincing woman of action who is also an anxious mother.

Kevin Bacon is very effective as a regular guy, who just happens to be a psychotic criminal in his off moments; John C Reilly plays his weak, shifty sidekick; and Joseph Mazzello is the son, who initially finds Bacon more fun than his dad. It is David Strathairn, though, who for me takes the male acting honours, as a distant, serious-minded husband and father, who gets going when the going gets tough - though luckily, through thick and thin, he never loses his glasses!

There is more than a touch of Deliverance, and the ending is pre-ordained; but the film is entertaining and gripping throughout, and is aided by some breathtaking Rockies scenery, beautifully shot. (There's a faithful dog too!)

40 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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SEVERELY underrated roaddog54
Does anyone know Other films with impressive scenery? DVD-Fan
Underrated movie, I think. shewster
A love for Wade? x-tally-x
Why would Gail fire the gun? susannahhun
Meryl Streep. Schwarze_Engel
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