Wild River | Chicago Reader

Wild River

The Tennessee branch of the Mississippi, that is, where TVA agent Montgomery Clift is faced with the job of evicting a matriarch (Jo Van Fleet) from her family island in order to complete a dam project. This 1960 drama is probably Elia Kazan's finest and deepest film, a meditation on how the past both inhibits and enriches the present. Lee Remick costars as Van Fleet's widowed daughter, giving one of the most affecting performances of her underrated career. The tone shifts from hysteria to reverie in the blinking of an eye, but Kazan handles it all with a sure touch. Scripted by Paul Osborn, and adapted in part from books by Borden Deal and William Bradford Huie.



  • Elia Kazan


  • Montgomery Clift
  • Lee Remick
  • Jo Van Fleet
  • Albert Salmi
  • Jay C. Flippen
  • James Westerfield
  • Jeff Bess
  • Robert Jones
  • Frank Overton
  • Barbara Loden
  • Malcolm Atterbury
  • Bruce Dern


  • Elia Kazan

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  • On the riverfront

    On the riverfront

    In Elia Kazan's Wild River, a federal agent tries to evict a Tennessee family from their island home
    • May 23, 2012

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