6.4/10
37,610
70 user 49 critic

The River Wild (1994)

Rafting expert Gail takes on a pair of armed killers while navigating a spectacularly violent river.

Director:

Curtis Hanson

Writer:

Denis O'Neill
Reviews
Popularity
4,713 ( 90)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Meryl Streep ... Gail Hartman
Joseph Mazzello ... Roarke Hartman
Stephanie Sawyer ... Willa Hartman
David Strathairn ... Tom Hartman
Elizabeth Hoffman ... Gail's Mother
Victor Galloway Victor Galloway ... Gail's Father (as Victor H. Galloway)
Diane Delano ... Ranger
Thomas F. Duffy ... Ranger
Kevin Bacon ... Wade
John C. Reilly ... Terry
William Lucking ... Frank
Benjamin Bratt ... Ranger Johnny
Paul Cantelon Paul Cantelon ... Violinist
Glenn Morshower ... Policeman
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Storyline

The teacher Gail Hartman is facing problems with her marriage with her husband, the workaholic architect Tom Hartman. On the birthday of their son Roarke, Gail decides to leave her daughter with her parents and take her family to raft down a wild river where she was a guide. On the departure, a young man named Wade befriends Roarke and leaves the place with his friends Terry and Frank. Later the family encounters Wade and Terry, who do not have rafting experience, and Gail helps them to cross a whitewater. They get closer to the family and soon Gail and Tom learn a dark secret about Wade and Terry. What will they do to get rid of the men? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The vacation is over


Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

19 January 1995 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Río salvaje See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,200,000, 2 October 1994

Gross USA:

$46,815,748

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,400,000, 31 December 1995
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS-Stereo | DTS | Dolby SR | Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Bacon and David Strathairn also appeared in Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1983). See more »

Goofs

Throughout the movie, Gail warns the bad guys that there's no way out of the canyon other than via the Gauntlet, which only she can navigate. But Wade threatens to shoot her anyway. Moreover, Tom, the dad, runs ahead the boat and past the Gauntlet. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gail: Roarke! Roarke! I've told you for the 157th time, turn that damn music off. I'm losing my hearing. Jeez. You gotta find your sneakers buddy. You owe me.
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Crazy Credits

Dog named 'Maggie' is listed in the credits (almost top-billing) as being played by a dog named 'Buffy.' See more »

Connections

References The Twilight Zone (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Psalm 69
Written by Al Jourgensen (as A. Jourgensen) and Paul Barker (as P. Barker)
Performed by Ministry
Courtesy of Sire Records by Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

Nothing too special but an enjoyable little thriller nonetheless
23 August 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

To celebrate her son Roarke's birthday and help build his relationship with his father (and her), Gail takes the family unit up to where she used to work as a river guide for a bit of white water rafting. Once there they meet another group heading down river and, when Wade and Terry lose their guide, Gail agrees to let them follow them in their own boat. However when Gail and Tom begin to feel uncomfortable with their guests they try to slip away unnoticed – only for Wade to pull a gun and insist that Gail will help them proceed downriver and cross the legendary Gauntlet.

I first watched this when it came out in the cinema and I remember enjoying it. However noticing it back on television recently I couldn't help but be a little uninterested in it and wondered if I had just false memories of how good it really had been and so decided to watch it again and see. After a slow opening the film gets down to business with the two boats getting together and gradually going to the conclusion that we know is coming but enjoy heading towards anyway. The film delivers its straightforward plot well in the early stages, using the father-figure conflict well (even if it ignores the heavy feminist subtext) to generate the tension, while the later stages is more of a simple hostage thriller sort of affair. This aspect is still quite enjoyable even if it is not as tight as it really needed to be and, as a non-rafter, I wasn't sure how intimidated I was meant to be by the load of water that was the gauntlet.

As a result, the film is a little talky but the cast are able to deal with it and it is really only the clunky, slow start that suffers as a result. I'm not a big fan of Meryl Streep and I didn't think she was totally fitted to the material given her but mostly her performance was natural enough to be convincing. Strathairn plays second fiddle to Streep but he is still enjoyable as he delivers an insecure character. With these two big names in the lead it would have been easy for them to dominate but it is Kevin Bacon that steals the film with a charismatic performance that he easily turns into menace – hardly his greatest performance but he makes more of it than others have in the past. Mazzello is a typical 'cute kid' American actor but he is good enough for this material and he is pretty good in the first half when he is given the material. Reilly and Bratt add some well-known faces to the mix but really neither has that much to do.

Overall this is not a great film but it is good enough to be worth seeing once. The action is not typical for this genre and the novelty value of it makes it seem more interesting. The film looks good and it is tense enough to do the job while the plot gets past the slow start to deliver an interesting set up and a solid enough series of set pieces with a good cast and director onboard (sorry!).


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