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The River Wild (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  30 September 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 30,757 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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Title: The River Wild (1994)

The River Wild (1994) on IMDb 6.3/10

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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?


The last of the three sign-language symbols written by the husband is the symbol for "I Love You." 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 »


[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 Universal Studios Theme Parks Adventure (2001) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Decent thriller with several good performances and terrific scenery
3 May 2005 | by (Odessa, Ukraine) – See all my reviews

I watched The River Wild mainly for two reasons. The first one was incredibly talented young actor named Joseph Mazello, while the second was Kevin Bacon, also very good and underrated actor in my opinion. I expected just an average thriller or something like that but this movie managed to surpass my expectations. Though it wasn't a great or Oscar-worthy movie I found The River Wild mostly good and entertained, worth seeing movie. The story is concentrated on average dysfunctional family with workaholic father, who have almost lost a contact with his wife and two kids. They undertake a raft journey on vacation to celebrate their eldest son, Rourke birthday and in the same time trying to save their dying marriage. This at first calm and beautiful journey gets unexpectedly dangerous when the family meet on their way two strangers (played by Kevin Bacon and John C.Reilly), who also for their own reasons go to a journey with the same route. The story is not flawless and has some plot holes but overall it's not bad written. Well, maybe it's quite predictable but I don't think that such predictability harmed the movie too much. The acting overall was pretty good. To my surprise somehow happened that Meryl Streep became a weakest part in this excellent cast ensemble. I think she was a bit unconvincing as careful mother as well as a strong rafter. Another problem is that her character (Gail) is not developed as much as the movie needs it. For unknown reasons she got even a Golden Globe nomination for this movie but anyway The River Wild definitely is not among her best works. David Straithairn is much better playing Gail's husband and Roarke's father. Kevin Bacon is brilliant as evil, psychotic villain, while John C.Reilly gave decent performance of his diffident, weak-willed sidekick. And finally Joseph Mazello, the most talented actor among entire casts in the movie. His part didn't give him many opportunities to show his talent but in those short moments his acting was beautiful and he was able to overshadow others. Despite all these very good performances the most exceptional thing about The River Wild is not the good acting but a beautiful scenery and excellent cinematography that have captured it. Even only this terrific scenery, filmed somewhere in Oregon, is enough to make this movie worth seeing. It's simply beyond my words. Finally, it is worth to mention nice score, written by Jerry Goldmith, with excellent main theme.

In the conclusion The River Wild is not great but quite a good movie, with good casts, acting and one of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. My grade 7,5 or B.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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