River's Edge

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For the 1957 film, see The River's Edge.
River's Edge
Theatrical poster
Directed by Tim Hunter
Produced by Sarah Pillsbury
Midge Sanford
Written by Neal Jimenez
Music by Jürgen Knieper
Cinematography Frederick Elmes
Edited by Howard E. Smith
Sonya Sones
Distributed by Island Pictures
Release dates
  • September 10, 1986 (1986-09-10) (TIFF)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.7 million
Box office $4.6 million[1]

River's Edge is a 1986 American drama film directed by Tim Hunter, written by Neal Jimenez, and starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Daniel Roebuck, and Dennis Hopper.

The movie was awarded Best Picture at the 1986 Independent Spirit Awards.


A group of high school friends discover that they are in the presence of a killer. One of them, John, has murdered one of their friends, Jamie. He brags to them all at school about killing her, and when they discover he is telling the truth, their reactions vary. Layne, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, is intent on keeping the murder a secret and protecting John, while the rest of the group (Matt, Clarissa, Maggie, and Tony) contemplate going to the police.



While the screenplay is fiction, it draws from the November 3, 1981 murder of Marcy Renee Conrad, who was raped and strangled by Anthony Jacques Broussard in Milpitas, California.[2]

Broussard bragged about the crime, showing the body to at least thirteen different people; despite this, the crime went unreported for two days.[3]

Neal Jimenez read the story in the newspaper while visiting friends, wrote a script and turned it in to his instructor while he was an English major at Santa Clara University. Jimenez said "that the incident is merely the inspiration for the screenplay".[4]


River's Edge received positive reviews from critics. It holds an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 38 reviews with the consensus: "A harrowing tale of aimless youth, River's Edge generates considerable tension and urgency thanks to strong performances from a stellar cast including Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves and Ione Skye."

Gene Siskel put River's Edge at No. 7 on his best of 1987.


The film featured early Thrash Metal tracks from bands such as Slayer and Fates Warning, an unprecedented[citation needed] noncommercial approach that created a dark vibe.

  • "Kyrie Eleison" Written by John Arch & Jim Matheos Performed by Fates Warning
  • "Captor of Sin" Written by Jeff Hanneman & Kerry King Performed by Slayer
  • "Tormentor" Written by Jeff Hanneman Performed by Slayer
  • "Evil Has No Boundaries" Written by Jeff Hanneman & Kerry King Performed by Slayer
  • "Die by the Sword" Written by Jeff Hanneman Performed by Slayer
  • "Lethal Tendencies" Written by Stacy Anderson & David Stuart Performed by Hallows Eve[5]
  • "Let Me Know" Written by Greg Sage Performed by The Wipers
  • "Fire in the Rain" Written by Mike Palm Performed by Agent Orange
  • "Happy Day" Written by Winston Rodney Performed by Burning Spear
  • "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" Written and Performed by Hank Ballard
  • "I'm Gonna Miss You" Written and Performed by Hank Ballard

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=riversedge.htm
  2. ^ Klinger, Karen. "A Town Looks at a Murder: Many Could Share the Blame". Detroit Free Press. July 25, 1982.
  3. ^ "Law: Age of Accountability". Time. 1981-12-14. Retrieved 2010-04-17. 
  4. ^ Villagran, Nora. "'River's' Writer: 'I Made It Up' Filmmakers Say Movie Depicts a Rootless Post-Watergate World". San Jose Mercury News. May 22, 1987.
  5. ^ "DE Wikipedia". Retrieved May 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]