6.4/10
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13 user 1 critic

The River Rat (1984)

After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.

Director:

Thomas Rickman (as Tom Rickman)

Writer:

Thomas Rickman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tommy Lee Jones ... Billy
Martha Plimpton ... Jonsy
Brian Dennehy ... Doc Cole
Shawn Smith ... Wexel
Nancy Lea Owen ... Vadie
Norman Bennett ... Sheriff Cal
Tony Frank Tony Frank ... Poley
Angie Bolling ... Joyce
Roger Copeland Roger Copeland ... Young Billy
Tommy Burlison Tommy Burlison ... Whitey
Tamara Hartley Tamara Hartley ... Young Joyce
Louise Anderson Louise Anderson ... Wexel's Aunt
Melissa Hart Melissa Hart ... Peggy
Mary Harper Mary Harper ... Old Woman
James Hurt James Hurt ... Motorist
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Storyline

After serving time for a theft he didn't commit, all Billy wants to do is to reconnect with his daughter. However, some loose ends, like the whereabouts of the stolen loot, just won't let him go.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »

Taglines:

He paid for his crime . . . now he must pay for his freedom! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La barca del infierno See more »

Filming Locations:

Clinton, Kentucky, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$441,466, 23 September 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,142,944
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Billing: Tommy Lee Jones (1st), Brian Dennehy (2nd) and Martha Plimpton (3rd). See more »

Goofs

Wexel puts his branch into the fire twice. See more »

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User Reviews

 
the Mississippi River is our backyard
19 January 2011 | by BERSERKERpoetrySee all my reviews

"The River Rat" is very much like a ghost story - not too much depth, but plenty of adventure and cheap thrills to keep you interested. The acting is generally good. Tommy Lee Jones and Brian Dennehy are reliable as ever, if Dennehy's character is a good bit too over-the-top. It was interesting to see Martha Plimpton so young, playing a role very much reminiscent of one she did three years later in "Shy People".

This is the only film both written and directed by Thomas Rickman. It's easy to see why. Not to say that the script is necessarily bad - the dialogue is clever, and the characters are fleshed out for the most part. The main weakness is the schizophrenic overall quality of the story he's trying to tell. When he sticks to real life and family drama, it works. When he tries to turn it into a thriller, everything comes crashing down. In theory, Rickman could have filmed it in a way that brought things together, but he tends to direct in a very unrestrained sort of way, lacking the ingenuity to really pull it off.

I liked "The River Rat" mainly for it's nice visual feel, and the occasional sense of reality that pushed through the lazier aspects of production. There's a lot of ways it could have been improved, but it makes for good low expectation entertainment. A fun little movie.


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