5 Best Hollywood Films to Feature White Water Rafting Scenes

Rafting is easily one of the most fun watersports that any adventure-seeker needs to try at least once in their lifetime. Even just watching it is an experience, which is why plenty of Hollywood films feature white water rafting in key action scenes. So without further ado, here are some of the best white water rafting scenes in Hollywood history.

1 – The River Wild

Despite being helmed by the stellar Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon, famed movie critique, Roger Ebert gave this movie a two-star review due to its predictable storyline. However, when it comes to the rafting scene, this movie sure delivers. Meryl Streep’s character is a former Montana river guide who ends up having to lead a raft down Arkansas River’s The Gauntlet. This notoriously difficult section of the river is famous for killing or severely injuring even experienced rafters, and our hero has to guide a raft through it under coercion from her two threatening passengers.

2 – Deliverance

This is a classic man vs. nature tale that shows city dwellers being pushed to their physical limits while stuck in the alien environment of a wild jungle. While many may remember it for its more violent scenes, it actually uses white water rafting as an exciting plot device. The treatment of the white water scenes make the journey very relatable to anyone who’s ever tried it before – just one of the reasons why the movie is so effective at being disturbing. Slant Magazine was right about the foreboding sense of haunting and oppressive fear that permeates throughout even the movie’s lighter scenes.

3 – Vacation

Vacation features one of the most hilarious, action-packed, panic-filled white water rafting scenes in Hollywood history, and it features the gloriously insane Charlie Day. We won’t spoil anything else for you. Just watch this:

4 – The Hobbit

As io9 points out the white water scenes in this movie weren’t even really in the Tolkien novel. However, it’s still a fun and intense trip down a CGI river with dwarves using barrels for rafts, as elves help them fight off the orcs that are chasing them down the river. Critics and fans alike are divided on the necessity of this scene being in the movie, but if you’re into white water rafting, you’ll definitely find it interesting.

5 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Movies are fantastical, and very few films are as fantastical or as exciting as Indiana Jones. While sliding off a cliff on an inflatable raft and landing perfectly in rapids is impossible, it does make for one of the film’s standout sequences. With great special effects and quick quips from Jones, the sequence shows why Spielberg is one of the best directors at shooting action scenes. Fun fact: the cliff jump was filmed in Idaho at the Snake River Canyon.

It’s also a great example of why the Indiana Jones movies are so iconic and have influenced every medium of the entertainment industry. No matter which is your favorite platform, be it film, television, or gaming, you will feel the presence of Indiana Jones. Landmark games such as the Tomb Raider franchise have been heavily inspired by the franchise, even adding their own twist to the white water rafting scene. The same can be said for Slingo’s Gonzo’s Quest, an online slot game about the legendary lost city of gold, which also takes elements of the Indiana Jones films and adds their own spin. Fans who play the games will likely know the root source of the adventure they are playing. Kotaku has even compiled a list of games that’ll make you feel like you’re Indie himself. However, nothing compares to white water rafting in real life to make you feel an actual action hero.

If you’ve made it this far in the article, you’re probably already itching to plan your next rafting trip. Thankfully, we can tell you about 8 of the best places in the world for whitewater rafting

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