Wild River

1960, Drama, 1h 50m

13 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Eager to further his career, ambitious Tennessee Valley Authority administrator Chuck Glover (Montgomery Clift) journeys to a small town to oversee the clearing of the valley in preparation for the construction of a new dam. His plans meet with opposition in the form of the town's stubborn matriarch, 80-year-old Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet), who refuses to leave. As Glover attempts to convince Garth, he falls in love with her granddaughter, Carol Garth Baldwin (Lee Remick).

Cast & Crew

Lee Remick
Carol Garth Baldwin
Jo Van Fleet
Ella Garth
Albert Salmi
Hank Bailey
Jay C. Flippen
Hamilton Garth
Jeff Bess
Joe John Garth
Frank Overton
Walter Clark
Barbara Loden
Betty Jackson
Bruce Dern
Jack Roper
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Critic Reviews for Wild River

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1)

  • Wild River, in its preoccupation with the industrial period, in its mixture of patriotism, melodrama, and machines, resembles very closely the so called "tractor films" of Stalin's Russia.

    July 27, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Both sections of the flavorful, vernacular-filled screen play have been given professional treatment.

    February 19, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Shooting predominantly on location in Tennessee, Kazan makes evocative use of the mist that hangs over the river like a lingering regret.

    February 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This 1960 drama is probably Elia Kazan's finest and deepest film, a meditation on how the past both inhibits and enriches the present.

    February 19, 2015 | Full Review…
  • In studying a slice of national socio-economic progress in terms of people, it catches something timeless and essential in the human spirit and shapes it in the American image.

    February 19, 2015 | Full Review…
  • One of [Kazan's] least theatrical and most affecting films.

    November 18, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Wild River, in its preoccupation with the industrial period, in its mixture of patriotism, melodrama, and machines, resembles very closely the so called "tractor films" of Stalin's Russia.

    July 27, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Both sections of the flavorful, vernacular-filled screen play have been given professional treatment.

    February 19, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Shooting predominantly on location in Tennessee, Kazan makes evocative use of the mist that hangs over the river like a lingering regret.

    February 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This 1960 drama is probably Elia Kazan's finest and deepest film, a meditation on how the past both inhibits and enriches the present.

    February 19, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It's an expansive work, distinguished by exceptional location photography, but, as ever, (Kazan's) focus is on complex interpersonal relationships.

    March 16, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Montgomery Clift gives a superbly tender performance in one of his last and most tortured roles, and Lee Remick is touching as his confidante.

    February 19, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wild River

  • Mar 19, 2016
    A government official turns up in a flood ravaged Tennessee town, circa 1930's, to order the residents to move so that a dam can be set in place. Many conflicts ensue, all set against the peaceful country surroundings. It's an interesting mood piece of a film, with the ladies doing all of the heavy lifting onscreen.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2015
    Strong little known drama with excellent work from all involved.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2013
    Will the river stay wild or be tamed? You can ask the same of the old woman who lives on the island about to be flooded or the other characters in this heartfelt melodrama. It features wonderful, yet restrained performances, particularly by Clift. The love story between Clift's character, the TVA representative and local girl Carol Garth (Lee Remick)is as important to the story as the TVA's struggle to evict the inhabitants of one island. Furthermore, the TVA and Clift struggle to drag the town into the 20th century, including some degree of racial integration. Although much younger than these characters, having grown up in a similar town in TN, I found them and their town believeable. Wild River was filmed on location on the Hiawassee river near Charleston,TN. Finally,the cinematography is excellent. Elia Kazan and his crew did a superb job all around. Highly recommended.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 08, 2009
    A good movie which went deeper into the subject matters than I expected. The DVD cover read like a cheap romance pulp novel and I was surprised when the movie addressed issues of racism and old age. Unfortunately, Montogomery Clift's downfall is more than apparent in this picture and his performance is wooden and stale and almost grotesque at times. One particular scene comes to mind, when Lee Remick (who does a fantastic job) delivers a powerful monologue and Clift more or less drops off of the screen, that is how bad he is. I have always been fond of him, sincing seeing him in Red River when I was a kid. Here and then, Kazan's talent shines through and some scenes are powerful compositions illustrating the relationship between man and nature and Kazan uses fog, light and the remoteness of Tennesse to great effect. The ending is a bit inconclusive but at least it is not some Hollywood serving of candy-colour cheesecake. All in all, a good movie which could have been great with a better cast, as Lee Remick cannot pull the weight alone. HX
    Henrik S Super Reviewer

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