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The River Why [Blu-ray] (2010)

Zach Gilford , Amber Heard , Matthew Leutwyler  |  PG-13 |  Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Zach Gilford, Amber Heard, William Hurt, Dallas Roberts, Kathleen Quinlan
  • Directors: Matthew Leutwyler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,765 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Sick of living in a home shrouded with secrets, lies and a smothering sense of competition, Gus (Zach Gilford, Friday Night Lights) runs away from home and the shadow of his famous fly-fishing father (William Hurt). Determined to live life like he wants it, Gus makes his new home in a secluded cabin on the banks of a river where he plans to fish all day. Instead, he is propelled into a quest for self-discovery. An assortment of eccentric characters, including a free-spirited girl (Amber Heard, Zombieland) who shares his fondness for fishing, helps him find his way toward adulthood. Based on a book that has become a cult classic and set in the breathtaking wilds of Oregon, The River Why will cast a spell on your heart.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Note: Almost as interesting as the film itself is the troubled back story of its creation. David James Duncan's beloved 1983 novel has long been considered a tricky proposition to adapt to film due to the story's internal monologue and metaphorical quest for self-knowledge and enlightenment. The author, himself, fought a legal battle against this interpretation with claims of copyright infringement among other allegations with the case settled in 2008. To date, Duncan claims not to have seen the movie at the advice of friends and family and is certainly no supporter of it. It's an interesting story and, if you have an interest, I'd recommend looking it up.

For the purposes of this review, I do not compare the movie with the book. Each is its own entity and it would be hard to match the complexities of the novel's narrative device in film format. But lacking the depth of the book, the movie ends up being a pleasant enough coming-of-age story. If you loved the book, you will react in one of two ways. You might hate that the movie misses or only superficially deals with the larger philosophical issues. Or you might love the book so much that you forgive the movie's flaws because you relate so specifically to the subject matter.

I have no doubt that certain viewers will be enchanted by the offbeat coming-of-age story "The River Why." Attempting to be earnest and heartfelt, however, the film is a bit too quirky for its own good with stylized and unrealistic dialogue. In most film examples, the quirky quotient is used to make hip and self-congratulatory comedies about urban youths--here it is employed to a decidedly more homespun, but no more authentic, tale.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are three plots that focus on fishing January 8, 2012
There are three main plots in this film focusing on fishing. First, the estrangement of a young man and his two parents. He is sick of living at home with his frequently over-pompous father who is hiding a secret that he never really caught the fish that he wrote about in his best seller book and his mother who is a somewhat boyish tomboy. The parents love one another but have contrary personalities are frequently bickering. Second, while both parents are interested in fishing, the young man wants to go off and fish on his own in his own way. He also needs to find himself. He meets some interesting characters, including a philosopher, a writer, and a beautiful highly spirited girl. Each helps him in different ways. Third, fishing. We see how all of the people love fishing, each in his or her own way, and devote their lives to it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is a quiet, lazy, laid-back kind of film (kind of like the act of fishing) - so it's not for everybody, but I enjoyed it. (Didn't have to swat any flies, touch, smell, clean or eat any fish but still felt some peace and enjoyment of fishing. Cool) Am totally looking forward to reading the book now (usually the book is 10x better than the movie, as it doesn't have to finish in a certain time frame).

Some great scenery, peacefulness of fishing/nature, quirky likable characters, an awkward/interesting romance and some interesting philosophy thrown in. I will probably watch it a few times. Good for when in a quiet, contemplative sittin on the porch on a lazy day, in no hurry and someone you are comfortable with sits and enjoys it with you.

Kathleen Quinlain and William Hurt's characters add nothing to the movie - in fact the William Hurt character's accent and way of speaking basically annoyed me. So, if you think you'll watch the movie just because you enjoy either of those actors - you might be disappointed. Besides, they're small parts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"The River Why" is a classic novel from 1983 by David James Duncan and a novel that is loved by those who are passionate about fishing.

The coming-of-age story has inspired many and one of those who were inspired by the novel was Thomas A. Cohen, who purchased the filmmaking rights of the novel back in 1984 and together with wife, producer Kristi Denton Cohen, the two have been active in trying to raise the money to create a film. In fact, when the two were married, in their vows were words inspired by the novel.

And although it took more than 25-years, the Cohen's were able to pull of a film that was shot in 2008 and now the film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment.


"The River Why" is presented i 1080p High Definition widescreen (2:35:1 aspect ratio). For the most part, "The River Why" definitely showcases the beauty of shooting in a river location and seeing the beautiful surroundings of its natural scenery. During outdoor moments, when the light is good, the picture quality is very good. You can see the detail and scales or spots on the fish and if anything, the natural location looks very good on Blu-ray.

There are some darker moments during the film, in fact, one conversation scene when Gus meets a guy named Titus, you expect to see some lighting on the two characters but I guess the film was capturing the realness as there are no street lights near the river and things are going to be very dark inside the car. So, I understand capturing that realism, but at the same time, for a film, that scene was just too dark that I found myself trying to adjust the brightness to see if it was my television or if it was intentional.

But for the most part, picture quality is very good for the film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
NOTHING like the book. It's no wonder the author was embarrassed they made the movie.
Published 29 days ago by avidreader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you like fly fishing this is a Great movie
Published 1 month ago by whtmt5
4.0 out of 5 stars For the fishermen in all of us
Nice movie-Great looking actress!!
Published 1 month ago by Jim Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written love story that is quite unique and quite ...
A beautifully written love story that is quite unique and quite funny. A film that champions
our environment against the corporate driven society that is destroying our... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Robert W Finkbine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Super cute!
Published 3 months ago by Lauren E. Binns
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
and this was filmed on family property
Published 3 months ago by Stan Pi
5.0 out of 5 stars very nice
this is the kind of story you remember and go back to over and over... again and again... many thanks, bill
Published 4 months ago by PIA
4.0 out of 5 stars The River Why
This is an enjoyable film that is not one that twists you all up but relaxes you. Good story line and beautifully photographed.
Published 5 months ago by Eadie Hampson
5.0 out of 5 stars why not the river why?
fantastic scenerey, with a good story, good acting. but worth watching just for the beauty of the photography.Worth Watching now
Published 5 months ago by steve brundy
5.0 out of 5 stars Why The River Why
This is a movie I want to view more than once, not because of the story, though it is a good coming of age story, but because of the scenery. Read more
Published 7 months ago by C. Skidmore
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