The River Wild

  • 12
  • Curtis Hanson (1994)
  • US
  • 106 min
The River Wild
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Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

In this excellent adventure thriller, Meryl Streep takes her family white-water rafting to try to revive their disintegrating relationships. But what promises to be an enjoyable break soon turns into a nightmare when armed robbers Kevin Bacon and John C Reilly hitch a ride on their raft with $250,000 of stolen loot. Directed by Curtis Hanson, this is a terrific rollercoaster ride filled with hair-raising action scenes and some equally tense moments on the river bank. In a dramatic break from her usual roles, Streep is utterly convincing as the strong-willed wife and mother, taking charge as husband David Strathairn wimps out, and struggling to keep her head above water as the sinister Bacon and the wounded Reilly become distinctly unpleasant. Streep performed many of her own stunts (at one point she was thrown overboard and resurfaced 500 yards downstream where she was rescued by a kayak crew) and put in a lot of training for the role. Her muscles are as pumped-up as the plot - which is little more than a thrill machine with added nuggets of political correctness about the family unit and sexual equality - but the incredible action and Streep's performance more than compensate for any shortcomings.

Plot Summary

Adventure thriller starring Meryl Streep. Former white-water guide Gail Hartman believes a family rafting trip will help save her ailing marriage to the workaholic Tom. But two travellers, Wade and Terry, are suspiciously interested in Gail's in-depth knowledge of the river.

Cast and crew


Gail Hartman
Meryl Streep
Roarke Hartman
Joseph Mazzello
Tom Hartman
David Strathairn
Kevin Bacon
John C Reilly
William Lucking
Ranger Johnny
Benjamin Bratt
Stephanie Sawyer
Gail's mother
Elizabeth Hoffman
Gail's father
Victor H Galloway


Curtis Hanson

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
U.I.P. (UK)
Violence, swearing, nudity.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Certificate 12