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The Best River Phoenix Movies

Updated June 11, 2019 2.5k votes 685 voters 40.8k views18 items

List RulesVote for your favorite movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

List of the best River Phoenix movies, ranked best to worst with movie trailers when available. River Phoenix's highest grossing movies have received a lot of accolades over the years, earning millions upon millions around the world. The order of these top River Phoenix movies is decided by how many votes they receive, so only highly rated River Phoenix movies will be at the top of the list. River Phoenix has been in a lot of films, so people often debate each other over what the greatest River Phoenix movie of all time is. If you and a friend are arguing about this then use this list of the most entertaining River Phoenix films to end the squabble once and for all.

If you think the best River Phoenix role isn't at the top, then upvote it so it has the chance to become number one. The greatest River Phoenix performances didn't necessarily come from the best movies, but in most cases they go hand in hand.

The list you're viewing is made up of a variety of different films, including Explorers and The Thing Called Love.

"This list answers the questions, "What are the best River Phoenix movies?" and "What are the greatest River Phoenix roles of all time?"

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  • 1
    Stand by Me
    362
    35

    Stand by Me

    Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman

    Released1986

    Directed byRob Reiner

    Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Running on Empty
    201
    24

    Running on Empty

    River Phoenix, Martha Plimpton

    Released1988

    Directed bySidney Lumet

    Running on Empty is a 1988 film featuring River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Christine Lahti, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    My Own Private Idaho
    211
    58

    My Own Private Idaho

    Keanu Reeves, Jim Caviezel

    Released1991

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    My Own Private Idaho is a 1991 American independent drama film written and directed by Gus Van... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Dogfight
    140
    22

    Dogfight

    Brendan Fraser, River Phoenix

    Released1991

    Directed byNancy Savoca

    Dogfight is a 1991 film set in San Francisco, California, during the Vietnam War. It stars... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Thing Called Love
    130
    30

    The Thing Called Love

    Sandra Bullock, River Phoenix

    Released1993

    Directed byPeter Bogdanovich

    The Thing Called Love is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich. An... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    117
    36

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Harrison Ford, Sean Connery

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American adventure film directed by Steven... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    The Mosquito Coast
    109
    39

    The Mosquito Coast

    Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren

    Released1986

    Directed byPeter Weir

    The Mosquito Coast is a 1986 American drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Harrison... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Sneakers
    95
    30

    Sneakers

    Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd

    Released1992

    Directed byPhil Alden Robinson

    Sneakers is a 1992 caper film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, written by Robinson, Walter... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Dark Blood
    68
    14

    Dark Blood

    River Phoenix, Karen Black

    Released2012

    Directed byGeorge Sluizer

    Dark Blood is a film directed by George Sluizer, written by Jim Barton, and starring River... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    I Love You to Death
    100
    41

    I Love You to Death

    Heather Graham, Keanu Reeves

    Released1990

    Directed byLawrence Kasdan

    This film is a 1990 American dark comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan. It is based in... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon
    68
    20

    A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon

    Matthew Perry, River Phoenix

    Released1988

    Directed byWilliam Richert

    A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon is a 1988 film about a high school graduate who must find... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Little Nikita
    89
    46

    Little Nikita

    Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix

    Released1988

    Directed byRichard Benjamin

    Little Nikita is a 1988 American cult drama film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Explorers
    84
    42

    Explorers

    Ethan Hawke, River Phoenix

    Released1985

    Directed byJoe Dante

    Explorers is a 1985 family-oriented science-fiction fantasy film written by Eric Luke and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia
    39
    14

    Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia

    Joaquin Phoenix, River Phoenix

    Released1984

    Directed byAlex Grasshoff

    Backwards: The Riddle Of Dyslexia is a 1984 ABC Afterschool Special about dyslexia. It stars... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    Silent Tongue
    41
    16

    Silent Tongue

    River Phoenix, Richard Harris

    Released1994

    Directed bySam Shepard

    Silent Tongue is a Western written and directed by Sam Shepard. It was filmed in Spring 1992,... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Circle of Violence: A Family Drama
    29
    12

    Circle of Violence: A Family Drama

    River Phoenix, Tuesday Weld

    Released1986

    Directed byDavid Greene

    Circle of Violence: A Family Drama is a 1986 CBS television movie. Directed by David Greene... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 17
    Surviving: A Family in Crisis
    33
    28

    Surviving: A Family in Crisis

    Molly Ringwald, River Phoenix

    Released1985

    Directed byWaris Hussein

    Surviving: A Family in Crisis is a 1985 ABC television movie. Directed by Warris Hussein and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 18
    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
    32
    43

    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

    Uma Thurman, Heather Graham

    Released1994

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a 1993 American comedy-drama-romance film based on Tom Robbins'... more on Wikipedia

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