The River (1984 film)

The River (1984 film)

Infobox Film
name = The River

image_size =
caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Mark Rydell
producer =
writer = Robert Dillon
Julian Barry
narrator =
starring = Mel Gibson
Sissy Spacek
Scott Glenn
Billy Green Bush
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = Universal Pictures
released = December 19, 1984
runtime = 122 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0088007

"The River" is a 1984 film which tells the story of a struggling farm family in the Tennessee valley trying keep its farm going in the face of bank foreclosures, floods, and other hard times. The father faces the dilemma of having to work as a scab in a steel mill to keep his family farm from foreclosure. The film was based on the true story of farmers who unknowingly took the jobs as scabs at a steel mill after their crops were destroyed by rain. It stars Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Scott Glenn and Billy Green Bush.

The movie was written by Robert Dillon and Julian Barry. It was directed by Mark Rydell.

It was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sissy Spacek), Best Cinematography, Best Music, Original Score and Best Sound. It also received a special Oscar for sound effects editing.


* Mel Gibson - Tom Garvey
* Sissy Spacek - Mae Garvey
* Shane Bailey - Lewis Garvey
* Becky Jo Lynch - Mae Garvey
* Scott Glenn - Joe Wade
* Don Hood - Senator Neiswinder


Director Mark Rydell viewed the characters in this drama as iconically American, and he was eager to cast Sissy Spacek as the farm wife because of her performance in "Coal Miner's Daughter" and her home on a farm in near Charlottesville, Virginia. Rydell said, "She is the consummate American rural young woman, with strength and fiber and a luminous quality." Mel Gibson begged Rydell to let him play the Tennessee farmer who reminded him of his father, but the director was reluctant because of Gibson’s Australian accent. Before Gibson left for England to film "The Bounty", he begged Rydell not to cast the part yet. Rydell recalled, "He came back and he came to my house in Los Angeles and started reading the script, talking, reading the newspaper, in this perfect Tennessee accent. I was really impressed, even when he stood next to Sissy, who's like a tuning fork when it comes to accents, he had damn well done it."

"The River" was filmed in eastern Tennessee in the Holston Valley area. The filmmakers purchased 440 acres along the Holston River for the farm set and planted corn. The cast and their families moved to the area a month before the start of production to connect with the local people and learn farming skills. The floods in the film were supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers with water from the dam. The bank scene was filmed in he town of Gate City, VA. The film was completed for under $18 million. [cite news | title = How “The River” Came to the Screen | author = Ester B. Fein | publisher = The New York Times | date = 1984-12-16] [cite news | title = U.S. Film Maker Casts Dubbed Voices in His Films | author = Bob Thomas | publisher = Associated Press | date = 1984-12-27]

The musical score was by John Williams and also featured songs by country artists including George Strait.


"The River" was the last of three 1984 films, including "The Country" and "Places in the Heart", that shared the themes of a family's devotion to their farm, the destructive force of nature, an unsympathetic bureaucracy and a determined woman who binds her family together. The film received mixed reviews. Mel Gibson later regretted that his portrayal of Tom Garvey was so stubborn that the audience lost sympathy, and he said that he was miscast for the role because he was too young and "pretty" at the time.

Tagline: "An epic love story of today"


External links

*imdb title|id=0088007|title=The River

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