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The River (Widescreen Edition) (1984)

Mel Gibson , Sissy Spacek , Mark Rydell  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Scott Glenn, Shane Bailey, Becky Jo Lynch
  • Directors: Mark Rydell
  • Writers: Robert Dillon, Julian Barry
  • Producers: Edward Lewis, Robert Cortes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: February 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783230591
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,022 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The River (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    This emotionally-charged film celebrates the triumph of a young rural couple as they face nature's greatest ravages, the threat of poverty and a wrenching separation. Sissy Spacek, Mel Gibson and Scott Glenn star in this moving tribute to love, faith, determination and the vanishing America of the independent farm family. Tom and Mae Garvey (Gibson and Spacek) are struggling to keep their homestead safe from the local power authority who wants to flood their land. When Mae's former beau, John Wade (Glenn), turns out to be in charge of the plan to acquire the property, tensions run high, climaxing in a devastating confrontation on the flooded river banks. Directed by On Golden Pond's Mark Rydell, The River features magnificent location photography by Vilmos Zsigmond and an outstanding score by John Williams.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars "The River" August 21, 2002
    Format:VHS Tape
    The art of farming is by far the oldest, most time-honored tradition. It is the ideal way to make an honest living, raise your family away from the madness of the city and gain self-satisfaction by doing something that really matters. "The River" effectivly portrays the plight experienced by many American farmers during the 1980's economical recession. Flooding, forclosure and overdue bills were just a part of life for those most discouraging and undeniably frightning of years. Farm-friendly legislation has been passed in recent years so farmers can apply for disaster relief, equipment loans and bankrupcy loans. The goal is to keep the Family Farm as part of American culture. "The River" was shot in Northwestern Tennessee near Kingsport, Bristol and Johnson City and also in Birmingham, Alabama. A 400-acre parcel of land alongside the Holston River, in Tennessee was cleared and turned into a real working farm in just four weeks. The flood scenes were produced in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority using a dam upriver which was slated for repairs. The scenery in the movie is absolutly breathtaking. The mountains, fields and river all seem to blend into one big beautiful picture. "The River" was the third in a trio of farming-based movies that year. The other two are "Country", with Jessica Lange and "Places In the Heart" with Sally Field.
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    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars The River August 15, 2000
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape
    A heart-land tragedy relived annually by the rain and consequential flooding of the family farmland by the adjacent river. Mels' character is sullen and cold. He is the quintessential traditional hardworking farmer. He loves his family and works almost pointlessly to keep them on their doomed property. It's difficult to watch him sulk and suffer inwardly. His character is extremely introverted and stubbornly independent. Sissy Spacek is great as the wife who tries to keep her family's head above water literally. She portrays a strong, willful and faithful person. This is a good rainy night movie. The kids are great actors and contribute a lot to the traditional values and family bonding.
    The onscreen chemistry between Spacek and Gibson underscores the uncomfortable aura of the marriage in the movie. There's something strange about the couple, something that just doesn't click; a feeling of looming doom regarding their relationship. Scott Glenn's character does not help the uneasy tension.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Mel Gibson fights The River all through this one! January 18, 2011
    By Tyler
    Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
    The movie is top-excellent and of great quality with the acting throughout the entire film. I read the reviews before buying this flick and I was astonished at some of the feedback on this movie. One four-star rating attacks Gibson's character, especially due to his nonreaction to being spat on by a striking worker due to his part as a "scab" at a factory. Did you really expect Mel Gibson to act like his character on "Braveheart" and try to impale the character that spat on him? He's playing a character that obviously has little tolerance to fight back because of it. Obviously, his family is at hard times and he simply saw that there was little difference between himself and the strikers. They're all just trying to keep their families afloat, is all. Mel Gibson played a terrific part in this movie and he was brilliant in every scene.
    The movie has a lot to do with the 1980's recession that is plaguing farms throughout the state of Tennessee, not to mention the constant flooding of the river that is threatening to wash away everything that the farmers worked hard for. The movie was very realistic and I could easily watch it a thousand times over. 5 stars all the way!
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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars "Sooner or later there's gonna be too much rain." January 5, 2009
    Format:DVD
    Sissy Spacek received her fourth Oscar nomination for her role in 1984's "The River." She plays a farm wife, struggling to keep her family intact while her husband (Mel Gibson) tries to save their farm. The farm abuts a small river, which seems to flood every time it rains. The flooding ruins their crops and puts the family at constant peril of bankruptcy. Add to this mixture Scott Glenn, who plays a scheming developer; he wants to buy up all the land and have the government build a dam to flood the valley. Gibson and Spacek refuse to sell their land, and Gibson even takes work at a local mill to stave off creditors. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Gibson, he is replacing striking workers and gets branded a scab.

    "The River" tackles a very worth topic - the farming crisis of the 1980s, when many small farmers lost their land for a variety of economic reasons. However, it also tries to address unions, scab workers, and several other social issues. By doing so, the message of the film ends up being a bit jumbled. There also are several unbelievable scenes; in particular, there are several scenes where a crowd reacts in unison, all set to swelling music.

    Some viewers are likely to find Gibson's character overly stubborn and aloof. I didn't have a negative reaction to him; he's meant to represent, I think, the many quiet men who fight for their families. These kind of men, though, often are very emotionally expressive, which can make watching them onscreen rather frustrating. I found Scott Glenn's character more problematic. He is supposed to be the villain, but he starts off far too nice before taking a nasty (and abrupt) turn very late in the picture. Fortunately, Sissy Spacek's character is much more fully rounded, and she gives a very good performance. Her performance makes the movie (barely) worth a look.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Mel and Sissy are great to watch in this movie about the challenges of rural life.
    Published 1 month ago by W. J. Mullen III
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Good
    Published 1 month ago by Adheroom
    5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
    Wonderful Movie.
    Published 1 month ago by Sonya Carlan
    4.0 out of 5 stars "Sooner or later there's gonna be too much rain, or too much drought,...
    THE RIVER (1984) is the story of Midwest farmers who not only battle against ruinous drought and floodwaters, but who must contend with Joe Wade (Scott Glenn), a modern-day land... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Annie Van Auken
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    awesome movie
    Published 2 months ago by sam shaw
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie about family bonds
    I had seen this before and liked it then, and still do. I lived in times that were hard for us, because my family was poor. Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Mickey
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great seller great product and super fast shipping everything A+++++++
    Published 2 months ago by Kenneth R Dellett
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Very good heartfelt show
    Published 2 months ago by Susan
    1.0 out of 5 stars Know before you buy HD DVD's cant be played on any player .
    I wouldn't know, can't be played on my blue ray machine. I did not realize HD DVD's couldn't be played on anything but older DVD players.
    Published 4 months ago by michelle hixon
    5.0 out of 5 stars The River DVD by Mel Gibson
    This dvd is a classic story of the struggles of a farm family and it was very well portrayed in this dvd which came in a timely manner in excellent condition.
    Published 7 months ago by larry yagoobian Larry Yagoobian
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