- 1 hr 46 min
Based on the book The River is Wide, this film follows Pat Conroy as he leaves his hometown in Beaufort, South Carolina. Conroy is to accept a rather unusual teaching assignment: on a remote South Carolina island, called Yamacraw, he is to be responsible for the instruction of a combined classroom of 5th and 6th graders in a two-room schoolhouse who neither know the English language nor have they been exposed to anything in the outside world. Interestingly enough, the children and people on the island where he is teaching have literally never left it. They speak their own language, and instead of calling him Mr. Conroy, they call him "Conrack". "Conrack", noble man that he is, decides to educate the children on not just their ABC's and 123's but also on other life skills, such as brushing teeth to body parts as well. He also exposes them to classical music, baseball, art, movies, and even swimming. He teaches them swimming because even though they inhabit this island they have an intense fear of the river and of everything pertaining to it. Unfortunately, this and his teaching methods put him at odds with both the school district superintendent and the principal of the school, whom he shares the building with. Conroy's clashes with the superintendent and the principal come to a head when he takes his class to Beaufort to go trick-or-treating, and unfortunately this "Halloween" incident ends up getting him fired. The film ends with "Conrack" leaving the island for the last time, and as he does the children watch him leave. They play Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as he leaves the scene, and that is how the movie is concluded. Some notable names that starred in this movie would include Jon Voight as "Conrack" and Hume Cronyn as the principal.