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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.