- 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: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Language: English, French
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Dubbed: French
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: Sept. 28 2004
- Run Time: 124 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- ASIN: 0783230591
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,631 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
The River (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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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.
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Scott Glenn plays the real hero in this movie. His character is a fair and honorable business man who warns the farmer of impending doom. The river according to all reasonable expectations will eventually destroy the farm. Even the farmer grudgingly concedes this possibility. The Glenn character offers the farmer a way out, but the farmer is bull headed and places his love for the agrarian way of life over common sense. Is Gibson's character idealistic and worthy of praise, or merely stubborn and selfish? Each person viewing "The River" will have to decide this for themselves.
The great economist, Joseph Schumpeter, originated the paradoxical term "creative destruction." Throughout history, there are always winners and losers whenever new technology replaces the older methods of earning a living. Tractors, for instance, destroyed the relevancy of horses and ploughs. This more efficient manner of tilling the soil dramatically brought down the cost of growing food. The result is that the typical consumer today spends comparatively little for vegetables at the grocery store. Unfortunately, a severe price has to be paid by those farmers who lack the ability to adjust to these improvements. At the beginning of the previous century, roughly half of the American population earned its income through farming. In the year 2000 the number has dropped to about 3%! An educated guess is that a further drop off will inevitably continue to occur. What should a viable democratic society do to address this issue? Is a Laissez Faire response appropriate, a Socialist micro management of production, or something in between? A neo-conservative such as myself opts for the third choice. The viewer once again is free to arrive at their own conclusions. I strongly, though, urge everyone to view "The River" at least once every few years. It might even behoove high school teachers and university professors to consider making this film a requirement for student credit. 'The River" is among my favorite films of all time. Please do not ignore it.
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.
A greedy land barron, played by Scott Glenn, wants that land and he wants Cissy, too. She had turned him down years before to marry Gibson, and he has hated Gibson ever since.
When the rains come and the river overruns its banks, the whole town comes together to try and save Gibson's land from flooding. It is a great movie about teamwork, and I would recommend it to everybody who likes Mel Gibson and Cissy Spacek.
Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography is delicate and attentive; Mark Rydell's direction is ham-fisted and silly. The script is pure agitprop, and laughably bad.
If this film can be recommended (and I'm not sure it can), it would be for Spacek's performance.
Should be compulsory viewing. Slightly frantic in its piling of calamities upon the characters but the real high point is where the steel plant workers do NOT beat up the scab farm workers after the strike. At last, something American where the plot is not about sex, money, violence and fantasy.
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