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Wild River (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 25 May 1960 (USA)
A TVA bureaucrat comes to the river to do what none of his predecessors have been able to do - evict a stubborn octogenarian from her island before the rising waters engulf her.


Elia Kazan


Paul Osborn (screenplay), William Bradford Huie (based on novels by) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Montgomery Clift ... Chuck Glover
Lee Remick ... Carol Garth Baldwin
Jo Van Fleet ... Ella Garth
Albert Salmi ... Hank Bailey
Jay C. Flippen ... Hamilton Garth (as J.C. Flippen)
James Westerfield ... Cal Garth
Barbara Loden ... Betty Jackson
Frank Overton ... Walter Clark
Malcolm Atterbury ... Sy Moore


A young field administrator for the TVA comes to rural Tennessee to oversee the building of a dam on the Tennessee River. He encounters opposition from the local people, in particular a farmer who objects to his employment (with pay) of local black laborers. Much of the plot revolves around the eviction of an elderly woman from her home on an island in the River, and the young man's love affair with that woman's widowed granddaughter. Written by Sam Neff <samn@yang.earlham.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As surely as the river rises, it had to happen... See more »


Drama | History | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The first film adaptation of a novel (or, in this case, two novels) by William Bradford Huie. His work had been deemed to be too controversial for the screen. See more »


When Chuck & Carol stop for gas, a torn movie poster is prominently displayed on the wall of the station. Although the title and the name of the players have been ripped off, it's quite obviously Tomorrow Is Forever with the images of its three stars, Claudette Colbert, George Brent, and Orson Welles, easily identifiable; this film was not actually produced until 12 years later, in 1945, and released in 1946. See more »


Chuck Glover: The most dangerous erosion is not to land - it's when your capacity for living gets eroded.
See more »


Referenced in Montgomery Clift (1983) See more »


He Walks with Me
Sung a cappella by Lee Remick
Played also in the score
See more »

User Reviews

Engaging and brooding Elia Kazan film slowly paced but well directed by this competent filmmaker
22 November 2017 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A young field administrator (Montgomery Clift though first choice was Marlon Brando) for the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) comes to rural Tennessee to carry out what none of his predecessors have been able , he has to oversee the building of a dam on the Tennessee River . As the dam is already built downstream with that section of the valley soon to be flooded . He finds opposition the local people , in especial from a farmer who objects to his employment of local black workers . He attempts to evict the stubborn octogenarian (Jo Van Fleet) from her home on an island in the River before the rising waters engulf her , but things go wrong . Meanwhile , the young man has a love affair with that woman's widowed (Lee Remick) granddaughter . One of the real problems is that Carol is engaged to kind and caring Walter Clark (Frank Overton) , a man she doesn't like and would only marry for a father for her two small kiddies .

Here Elia Kazan reflects the peculiar characters , rural sets in realism way , folkloric customs , glimmer landscapes as well as evocative interior homes . Much of the screenplay revolves around the eviction of an elderly woman and Kazan achieves a real emotion and sensibility by means of slow-moving scenes and close-ups of protagonists . This dramatic story is full of dialogues dealing with essential and fundamental feelings as family love , lands , friendship or tradition . Elia Kazan is capable of performing miracles with the actors he uses , as Montgomery Clift , as a TVA bureaucrat who comes to evict people , gives a very good acting , though at the time of the film , Clift was alcoholic and sick . Lee Remick as an unfortunate and attractive widow is pretty good . Support cast is frankly excellent , such as : Albert Salmi , Jay C. Flippen , Frank Overton , Barbara Loden , Pat Hingle , James Westerfield , film debut of Bruce Dern and Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones . Special mention for Jo Van Fleet who steals the show as obstinate and proud grandmother.

The motion picture was well directed by Elia Kazan and considered to be one of the best films of the year , he said it was his favorite of all the movies he made and including biographic elements ; in fact, he worked in this area in 1934 during the height of the Great Depression. During his career, he won two Oscars as Best Director and received an Honorary Oscar, won three Tony Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. Kazan directed four performers to Best Actress Oscars: Celeste Holm, Kim Hunter, Eva Marie Saint and ¨Jo Van Fleet¨. Greek-Turkish director Elia Kazan who being a child emigrated along with his family to United States made magnificent films . Some of them describe memories , emotions and infancy images , narrating the persecution to Greeks and Armenians by Turkish that finished in genocide as in ¨America , America¨ . Kazan directed a string of successful films as ¨Gentleman's agreement¨, ¨Man on a tightrope¨, ¨panic in the streets¨, ¨Pinky¨ , ¨Splendor in the grass¨, ¨Baby doll¨, ¨the engagement¨, ¨a Street named desire¨, ¨East of Eden¨ and especially ¨On the waterfront¨ his greatest hit .

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Release Date:

25 May 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Woman and the Wild River See more »

Filming Locations:

Cleveland, Tennessee, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,595,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo


Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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