The River Niger (film)

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This article is about the 1976 film. For other uses, see The River Niger.
The River Niger
The River Niger VideoCover.jpeg
Directed by Krishna Shah
Produced by Sidney Beckerman
Written by Joseph A. Walker
(play, screenplay)
Starring Cicely Tyson
James Earl Jones
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Glynn Turman
Jonelle Allen
Roger E. Mosley
Ralph Wilcox
Teddy Wilson
Music by Jerry Goldstein
Cinematography Michael D. Margulies
Edited by Irving Lerner
Distributed by Cine Artists Pictures
Continental Video
Reel Media Int'l
Release date
14 April 1976
Running time
105 min.
Country United States
Language English

The River Niger is a 1976 film adaptation of the 1972 Joseph A. Walker play of the same title. The film was directed by Krishna Shah, and starred James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. The film had a limited commercial release in 1976 and has rarely been seen in later years. The soundtrack is by War, including the theme song "River Niger".


Johnny Williams (James Earl Jones) is a working house painter and amateur poet who is trying to live in a contemporary ghetto in Watts, Los Angeles, California. Though he is trying to provide for his almost stable family, times are hard. Johnny's main pride and joy, his son Jeff (played by Glynn Turman) just returned from U.S. Air Force flight school, where he finally reveals that he flunked out, causing great disillusionment. This film follows Johnny's struggle and a few who try to help, including his physician friend Dr. Dudley Stanton (Louis Gossett, Jr.), who purchases Johnny's poems while treating his ailing wife Mattie (played by Cicely Tyson), whose cancer is recurring. When Johnny's son kills a local gang member, and the gang shoots a police officer, the situation escalates to a standoff with the police and another shootout in Johnny's house.


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