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The River (1984)

PG-13 | | Drama | 11 January 1985 (USA)
A farming family battles severe storms, a bank is threatening to repossess their farm, and there are other hard times in a battle to save and hold on to their farm.

Director:

Mark Rydell

Writers:

Robert Dillon (story), Robert Dillon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Tom Garvey
Sissy Spacek ... Mae Garvey
Shane Bailey Shane Bailey ... Lewis Garvey
Becky Jo Lynch Becky Jo Lynch ... Beth Garvey
Scott Glenn ... Joe Wade
Don Hood ... Senator Neiswinder
Billy Green Bush ... Harve Stanley
James Tolkan ... Howard Simpson
Bob W. Douglas Bob W. Douglas ... Hal Richardson
Andy Stahl ... Dave Birkin
Lisa Sloan Lisa Sloan ... Judy Birkin
Larry D. Ferrell Larry D. Ferrell ... Rod Tessley
Susie Toomey Susie Toomey ... Sally Tessley
Kelly Toomey Kelly Toomey ... Lisa Tessley
Frank Hoyt Taylor ... Zemke (as Frank Taylor)
Learn more

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Storyline

Tom and Mae Garvey are a hard working farming couple living with their two children on the east Tennessee farm owned by Tom's family for generations. They and many of their neighbors have hit hard times of late. A downturn in the economy has led to dwindling land prices. But the biggest problem of late has been that their crop land has been prone to flooding as the property is adjacent to a river. Manipulating the powers that be including a local senator and the local bank, Joe Wade, who also grew up in the area and now runs the local milling company that sets the local grain prices, is working behind the scenes to buy up the properties along the river for a song as he wants to build a dam which would flood the Garvey's and others riverfront properties. The dam would generate electricity, but more importantly for Joe it would provide irrigation opportunities for farm properties away from the river, such as his own. Tom already intensely dislikes Joe as he and Mae used to go together. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

farm | river | tennessee | flood | raincoat | See All (42) »

Taglines:

He might be able to hold back the river. But could he hold back the greed of man? He showed her his strength, his courage, his incredible will. She showed him her love. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of a mini-cycle of farming movies that all debuted in 1984. The films include Country (1984), The River (1984), and Places in the Heart (1984). All three pictures were nominated that year for the Best Actress Academy Award, with Sally Field winning the Oscar in that category for the latter, beating out Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek from the first two films respectively. See more »

Goofs

When Mae and Beth are moving stuff upstairs at the beginning, you get a view into the kitchen. There is a Leutz Corp. calendar on the kitchen wall that has obviously been altered because the moths have visible white tape over them and the picture has been covered with another photo. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mae Garvey: Watch out, Tom! Beth, get in the truck! Tom! Are you hurt?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The BBFC cut the original UK cinema release by 10 seconds. Later home video releases were upgraded to 15 and passed with the cuts restored. See more »


Soundtracks

Radio Lover
Performed by John Conlee
Courtesy of MCA Recordings, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

A Simple, Thoughtful Movie
23 February 2001 | by kypioneerSee all my reviews

Tom and Mae Garvey (Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek) are the owners of a small eastern Tennessee farm that has been in the Garvey family for generations. It is the early 1980s, when the staggering U.S. economy threatens the welfare of the American family farm. The Garveys' struggles are compounded by the fact that their property is in a flood plain, and by the enmity of Tom's rival Joe Wade (Scott Glenn), who is a wealthy and powerful foe. This is not lighthearted entertainment.

For me, the film's most powerful moments come when cash-strapped Tom has to leave the farm to find work elsewhere. He unknowingly becomes a scab in a factory where the regular labor force is on strike. At least there is a regular paycheck, but the contrast between the man-made hell of a iron foundry/steel mill and the natural beauty of the family farm is compelling, and you can see why the Garveys struggle to hold on to their agricultural way of life, however hard it is. The cinematography for this movie is way above average, a celebration of rural America.

Sissy Spacek delivers her usual fine performance. Mel Gibson is very good-- his Tennessee accent quite convincing. The two youngsters who play their children deserve special praise for their natural performances. This is a good, thoughtful movie-- not romantic, thrilling or exciting-- but one the family can watch together and think what sacrifices they would make to keep a heritage and a way of life preserved.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The River See more »

Filming Locations:

Hawkins County, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,027, 25 December 1984

Gross USA:

$11,489,982

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,489,982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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