6.0/10
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9 user 5 critic

The River Niger (1976)

R | | Drama | 14 April 1976 (USA)
An intimate look at life in the ghetto: Johnny Williams is a house painter who moonlights as a poet, struggling to financially and emotionally support his cancer-ridden wife Mattie. But ... See full summary »

Director:

Krishna Shah

Writers:

Joseph A. Walker (play), Joseph A. Walker (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Cicely Tyson ... Mattie Williams
James Earl Jones ... Johnny Williams
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Dr. Dudley Stanton (as Lou Gossett)
Glynn Turman ... Jeff Williams
Jonelle Allen ... Ann Vanderguild
Roger E. Mosley ... Big Moe Hayes
Ralph Wilcox Ralph Wilcox ... Al
Teddy Wilson ... Chips
Charles Weldon ... Skeeter
Shirley Jo Finney ... Gail
Hilda Haynes Hilda Haynes ... Wilhelmina Geneva Brown
Zakes Mokae ... Dutch
Ed Crick Ed Crick ... White Police Lieutenant
Tony Burton ... Black Policeman
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Storyline

An intimate look at life in the ghetto: Johnny Williams is a house painter who moonlights as a poet, struggling to financially and emotionally support his cancer-ridden wife Mattie. But times are tough and the poverty-troubled streets are even tougher, and it takes every ounce of Johnny's love and courage for the couple to make it through their strife, finding redemption in the River Niger. Written by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some rivers can't be dammed...some people won't be broken.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cicely Tyson and Louis Gossett Jr. both appeared in Roots (1977) a year later, though they didn't share any scenes. James Earl Jones would go on to appear as Roots author Alex Haley in Roots: The Next Generations (1979). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Call Me Angel, Sir (1976) See more »

User Reviews

 
I feel like dancing through the valley of the shadow of death.
3 April 2010 | by SteveSkafteSee all my reviews

"The River Niger" is very much a time capsule of the mid-1970s. There's a lot of good acting, some bad acting, and some pretty much middle of the road direction. The director, Krishna Shah, is probably the main thing which keeps this good film from being great. He just doesn't have a real vision for this sort of thing. As you might expect from a stage adaptation, Joseph A. Walker's script is why this is worth watching. He writes excellent dialogue, characters, and best of all - poetry. Then again, there's a bit too much emphasis on the self-conscious black identity stuff, even for 1976.

James Earl Jones, who plays the poet, is the best thing about "The River Niger". He is very compelling, intense, and instantly likable. His performance, along with that of Louis Gossett Jr. (credited here as Lou Gossett), makes one wish there was a better made film to frame it. Definitely worth seeing, though.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 April 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The River Niger See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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