The 4 Best River Adventure Movies

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If you’re into kayaking and you want to enjoy some exciting river adventure movies, we’ve got a nice playlist for you.

Once you’ve read about the 4 best river adventure films, you’ll be ready to make some popcorn, relax on the couch and watch famous actors and actresses test their mettle against nature.

These films may just inspire you to plan a river adventure of your own.

The African Queen

Are classic movies up your alley? If they are, you should definitely check out The African Queen.  This movie stars Humphrey Bogart and the elegant Katharine Hepburn, both of whom were bona fide Hollywood legends.

Hepburn plays a devout British spinster who lives with her missionary brother in Africa. They get supplies and mail from a steamboat called the African Queen.

The ship’s captain is the roguish Charlie Allnut (Bogart).  When Charlie lets the spinster and her brother know that war has started between Britain and Germany, the siblings decide to stay where they are. Charlies leaves.

Rose and her brother, Samuel, then watch in horror as the Germans destroy the mission village that they live in and force the villagers out.

When Rose’s brother is defiant to a German soldier, the soldier gives him a beating. Once the Germans exit, Samuel grows ill and passes away. Charlie comes back and assists Rose with burying her sibling. Once this tragic burial is over, Rose and Charlie embark on a river adventure aboard Charlie’s boat, which leads them to plan an attack against the enemy.

Rose and Charlie decide to try and sink a German ship.

As they attempt to achieve their ambitious goal, they face a series of river rapids and a host of other daunting challenges. They also begin to be attracted to each other.

Africa, war, romance, raging rapids…what more can you ask for? If you appreciate the Golden Age of Hollywood, you’ll probably love this film.

The River Wild

River adventure movie

Via Amazon

This famous river adventure movie was released in 1994. Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon star in The River Wild, which tells the story of a family whitewater raft that turns into a nightmare.

Meryl Streep plays Gail, who is married to Tom. Tom is played by David Strathairn. The couple are going through a rough patch in their marriage. Gail has lots of experience whitewater rafting, so she makes the decision to take her dog and son on a vacation rafting adventure along Idaho’s scenic Salmon River.

Tom joins the group unexpectedly and they all go out on the water.

The family then encounters two strangers, who seem friendly at first. When the family camps on the first night of the trip, the newcomers join them. Their names are Terry (John C. Reilly) and Wade (Kevin Bacon). The two men soon begin to frighten the family.

The family must fight back against these criminals, who stalk them in the wilderness. As the bad guys threaten their lives, the family must work together to escape. It’s an epic battle between good and evil, but who will win?

Many rafting scenes from this film were shot on the Kootenai River in Montana. If you enjoy thrillers and you also love surging whitewater, The River Wild will definitely satisfy.

Meryl Streep’s acting is exceptional and the cinematography is outstanding. Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly are memorable and menacing villains.

Into the Wild

DVD case from Into the Wild film

Via Amazon

Into the Wild is an adventure film which is based on a non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer. You may be familiar with Krakauer’s earlier non-fiction book, Into Thin Air, which was about a doomed Mount Everest climbing expedition.

Krakauer is a wonderful writer and Into the Wild is a near-perfect adaptation of his book.

The film stars Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless. McCandless comes from a rich family and gets a degree from Emory University, where he distinguishes himself academically and athletically. After he earns his degree, he changes radically. Instead of using his top-notch education to get a high-paying job with a lot of status, he decides to give away all of his money (to a charity), get rid of all of his belongings and then embark on a journey through the wilds of Alaska.

This bewitching movie is full of twists and turns. If you want to unravel the mystery of why McCandless changed his whole life and went “Into the Wild”, and you’re curious about what happened to him out there in the wilderness, be sure to check out this film. It’s critically-acclaimed for good reason. Since it’s based on a true story, it does have a lot of depth and meaning.

Plus, Into the Wild highlights the dazzling and unspoiled beauty of Alaska’s rivers and woodlands.


DVD case for Deliverance

Via Amazon

This movie is the punchline for so many jokes, but it’s definitely not a comedy. Deliverance tells the story of a group of four friends who come from the city to enjoy seven days of canoeing in a rural part of Georgia.

The buddies are played by Ned Beatty, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Jon Voight.

The men leave their spouses and children behind, with no idea that their guy’s getaway is going to pit them against a group of terrifying hillbillies. These hillbillies attack them in the forest for no good reason.

After the group is ambushed, they try to head back home. However, there are hazardous whitewater rapids everywhere which hinder their escape. Also, they’re being chased by a lunatic.

This is a canoe tip that is a grueling fight for survival.

The mountain men of Deliverance (the hillbillies) are creepy beyond belief. Once you’ve seen Deliverance, you’ll never forget it. This movie isn’t appropriate for children. It will scare them. It scares adults.

If you don’t mind a lot of gritty intensity, this psychological thriller will entertain you.

Plan Your Own River Adventure

river with whitewater rapids

Most river adventures are safe, fun and inspiring. They don’t turn into nightmares like Deliverance or The River Wild. If you want to get out on the river in your kayak, why not plan a river adventure of your own today?

When you choose a river with the right difficulty level, you’ll boost safety. The river will be a good match for your paddling skills and experience level. Paddling is great exercise and it’s a wonderful way to appreciate the beauty of nature.


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