There's something about a river that just screams adventure, mystery and intrigue. It's probably because when you travel up or down a river, you're never quite sure where you're going to end up. Here are six river adventure movies that will probably make you think twice about going on your own trip upriver.
Probably the definitive river adventure movie is less of an "adventure" and more of a "nightmarish odyssey through the human soul." Martin Sheen is a soldier sent by the American government to terminate Marlon Brando, a colonel who has gone insane in Vietnam and is now the overlord to an entire village of Cambodian natives. In order to reach him, Sheen has to travel up a very dangerous river, although the danger getting there is small potatoes compared to the danger he finds when he arrives.
Another contender for the title of "definitive river adventure" would probably be "Deliverance", and it will make you want to stay away from all boats and probably any wilderness even more than "Apocalypse Now" will. Not even Burt Reynolds is safe from the psychotic hill people that terrorize he and his buddies, who just wanted to have a fun weekend outdoors.
90s remake have climaxes set on a river featuring the murderous Max Cady terrorizing his victims while they try to lock themselves in their houseboat. But it doesn't work-Cady gets in, and the suspense in both versions of the story is almost unbearable. Not only will it scare you away from boats, it might scare you away from people in general.
"The African Queen"
Although the focus of "The African Queen" is undeniably the contentious romance between stars Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, there's plenty of adventure to be found as well, as they travel along an African river. Crocodiles, leeches, and yes, Germans are all here to give them a rougher cruise than they might have been hoping for.
"Aguirre: The Wrath of God"
One of the chief inspirations for "Apocalypse Now" was "Aguirre: The Wrath of God", Werner Herzog's film about the Spanish explorer Aguirre, who is on an insane quest to find El Dorado, the City of Gold. Since this is a Herzog movie, the river and accompanying jungle being explored by Aguirre and his helpless crew is harsh and terrifying-so pretty much just like the real thing.
These other river adventure movies have been set out in the desolate wilderness, where looming danger would seem obvious, but in "Piranha," the rivers in the movie are supposed to be safe-part of a outdoor summer resort. And they are, until a bunch of killer mutant piranha are accidentally released. The ensuing bloodbath is one of the finest (and funniest) "Jaws" knock-offs to ever be produced.