A film by Scott Morris
2022, 86 minutes
No. 376

The film is available as a Blu Ray. To learn more, inquire with questions to

Mary Bruno spent her childhood along one of the most polluted waterways in America.  Decades later, she returns to kayak the river of her youth and tell its story.

American River is a thrilling and insightful documentary that follows Ms. Bruno and guide Carl Alderson on a 4-day, 80 mile adventure down the Passaic River, from its pristine source in a wildlife refuge to its toxic mouth in Newark Bay. The river’s amazing history, geology and ecology are revealed as the kayakers navigate challenges, travel through urban landscapes and head towards the industrial disaster that has poisoned the Passaic for the past 60 years.  

Along the way, the filmmakers engage residents, historians and advocates in candid conversations that bring insight, urgency and a sense of wonder to the story. How did the Passaic become one of the most contaminated rivers in America?  Can it be saved? The Passaic is an archetype for thousands of rivers across America facing similar reckonings. 

“A fantastic voyage through America’s past and present, from its breathtaking, unspoiled beginnings to its growth as a global industrial power – all along a frequently overlooked river.” – Bill Westhoven, Reporter, USA Today