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The River ()

directed by
featuring Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Shane Bailey, Becky Jo Lynch, Scott Glenn

This socially conscious family farm drama from director Mark Rydell was his follow up to the Oscar-winning On Golden Pond (1981). Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek star as Tom and Mae Garvey, struggling Tennessee farmers constantly one step away from foreclosing. Their farm sits next to a river that both nourishes their land and constantly threatens to overflow its banks and destroy their crops. The Garveys sell some of their equipment for obscenely low prices at a foreclosure auction, at which some of their neighbors are forced to give up everything they own. The stoic Tom takes a job as a scab at a mill where the union workers are striking. Meanwhile, Mae has a platonic flirtation with local bank manager Joe (Scott Glenn), who saves her life when she's trapped under a heavy piece of farm equipment. Tom's homecoming is cut short by a flood, but the raging waters allow him to become a hero to his family again. The River was the third in a trio of dramas depicting the plight of the American family farmer released that same year. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi Hide synopsis

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