The River (1984)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The River Videos

The River Photos

Movie Info

This socially conscious family farm drama from director Mark Rydell was his follow up to the Oscar-winning On Golden Pond (1981). Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek star as Tom and Mae Garvey, struggling Tennessee farmers constantly one step away from foreclosing. Their farm sits next to a river that both nourishes their land and constantly threatens to overflow its banks and destroy their crops. The Garveys sell some of their equipment for obscenely low prices at a foreclosure auction, at which some of their neighbors are forced to give up everything they own. The stoic Tom takes a job as a scab at a mill where the union workers are striking. Meanwhile, Mae has a platonic flirtation with local bank manager Joe (Scott Glenn), who saves her life when she's trapped under a heavy piece of farm equipment. Tom's homecoming is cut short by a flood, but the raging waters allow him to become a hero to his family again. The River was the third in a trio of dramas depicting the plight of the American family farmer released that same year. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
PG-13 (adult situations/language)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

Watch it now


Mel Gibson
as Tom Garvey
Sissy Spacek
as Mae Garvey
Scott Glenn
as John Wade
Shane Bailey
as Lewis Garvey
Becky Jo Lynch
as Beth Garvey
Don Hood
as Sen. Neiswinder
Billy Green Bush
as Harve Stanley
James Tolkan
as Howard Simpson
Bob W. Douglas
as Hal Richardson
Larry D. Farrell
as Rod Tessley
Andy Stahl
as Dave Birkin
Lisa Sloan
as Judy Birkin
Larry D. Ferrell
as Rod Tessley
Susie Toomey
as Sally Tessley
Kelly Toomey
as Lisa Tessley
Ivan Green
as Smoot
Desmond Couch
as Wilderfoot
Charles G. Riddle
as Youngdall
Jim Antonio
as Dan Gaumer
Samuel Scott Osborne
as Billy Gaumer
Amy Rydell
as Betty Gaumer
David Hart
as Harley
Mark Erickson
as Baines
Ira M. Quillen II
as TV Weatherman
Matt Bearson
as Employee
Timothy Shadden
as Employee
Elizabeth Lane
as Secretary
Gary Gershaw
as Drifter
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The River

All Critics (1)

Starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek, The River is one of three films dealing with the plight of American farmers which came out in the same year, 1984.

Full Review… | August 12, 2011

Audience Reviews for The River

Not one of Sissy's best moments. I guess she had to put up with being married to Mel Gibson and see her farm wash away. It would leave a lasting mark on anyone. I feel no more sympathy for the American farmer after viewing this one.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A movie that shows you not to judge Sissy Spacek by her performance in Carrie.

Cassie Hill
Cassie Hill

Super Reviewer

Sissy is good as always, Mel over earnest.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The River Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The River on our Movie forum!

News & Features