The River Wild (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

The River Wild (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The River Wild Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In a change-of-pace role designed to prove that she could carry high-concept genre films as well as character-driven dramas, Meryl Streep headlined this fast-paced adventure as Gail, a whitewater rafting guide. For a vacation, Gail is accompanying her son Roarke (Joseph Mazzello) and workaholic husband Tom (David Strathairn) on a river trip. Gail and Tom are experiencing marital troubles and contemplating divorce, but their problems take a back seat when they encounter some menacing rafters led by Wade (Kevin Bacon). After Tom saves Wade from drowning, they discover that the men are murderous fugitives using the river as an escape route. Kidnapped by the killers, Gail's forced to leave her husband stranded on shore and guide the villains through the "Gauntlet," a raging confluence of rivers that few rafters ever survive. Meanwhile, Tom proves to be wilier than anyone suspected, following the raft on foot and plotting his family's rescue. Following a quartet of popular B-grade thrillers, director Curtis Hanson attempted to break partially out of the genre with The River Wild, which, despite the presence of a psycho killer, played as more a stunt-filled action movie than a murder mystery.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Denis O'Neill, Bruce A. Evans, Gideon Ray
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 1, 1998
MCA Universal Home Video


Benjamin Bratt
as Ranger Johnny
Victor H. Galloway
as Gail's Father
Elizabeth Hoffman
as Gail's Mother
Paul Cantelon
as Violinist
Glenn Morshower
as Policeman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The River Wild

Critic Reviews for The River Wild

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (12)

The perfect high old time for audiences in the mood to be tossed into the spin cycle for a pulse-pounding thrill ride.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

O'Neill proves to be a squeamish screenwriter. He doesn't allow his villain to do anything truly unnerving until the story's nearly done.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Constructed from so many ideas, characters and situations recycled from other movies that all the way down the river I kept thinking: Been there. Done that.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

If watched from a mildly amused, forgiving distance, the movie has its enjoyable moments -- good and campy.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

The thriller framework is still familiar, but the results exhibit a welcome freshness.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The River Wild


I really dig this flick. It's good to see Streep doing something this fun and Bacon makes a great villain. I've seen it at least 15 times and I never get tired of watching it.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer


Thriller about robbers who kidnap a family to help him escape down river. Good cast.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Exciting, but not rewatchable

Jim Careter

Super Reviewer

The River Wild Quotes

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