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A River Runs Through It (1992)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  30 October 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 39,641 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 130 user | 42 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

The story about two sons of a stern minister -- one reserved, one rebellious -- growing up in rural Montana while devoted to fly fishing.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vann Gravage ...
Nicole Burdette ...
Buck Simmonds ...
Fred Oakland ...
David Creamer ...


The true story about two boys growing up in rural Montana while rebelling against their stern minister father. Eldest brother Norman eventually leaves home and becomes a disciplined, grounded professor, while younger brother Paul becomes a rebellious journalist and descends into gambling and liquor. Their mornings are spent in school and religious study, while their afternoons are devoted to fly fishing for trout in the Blackfoot River. Written by Kale Whorton <nikko11@mind.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Story of an American Family.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for momentary nudity, and some language in a family drama | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nada es para siempre  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$43,440,294 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The poem that Norman Maclean and his father recite is an excerpt from "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth. See more »


At the Labor Day picnic, Reverend Maclean is playing horseshoes when Paul arrives. Paul addresses his father by saying "Hello, Father." Although you can see Reverend Maclean say "Paul", the dubbed voice says "Son". See more »


[first lines]
Older Norman: [narrating] Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, "Norman, you like to write stories." And I said "Yes, I do." Then he said, "Someday, when you're ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why."
See more »

Crazy Credits

No fish were killed or injured during the making of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. The producers would like to point out that, although the Macleans kept their catch as was common earlier in this century, enlightened fisherman today endorse a "catch and release" policy to assure that this priceless resource swims free to fight another day. Good fishing. See more »


Yes, We Have No Bananas
Written by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn (as Irving Conn)
Skidmore Music Co., Inc.
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User Reviews

A Nearly Perfect Film
30 January 2004 | by (Chelsea, MI) – See all my reviews

When I saw previews for this film, I thought "Its a movie about fishing, why would I want to see that?" This is as much of a fishing movie as Hoosiers is about basketball, or Field of Dreams is about baseball.

The story is elegant, the narrative beautiful, the characters deftly drawn. The relationship between the father and two sons is really interesting, and I love the interplay between them. There is great sadness, and also great humour. While nostalgic, I don't think the film ever becomes maudlin, and by the time the film draws to its inevitable close, I feel the same sense of loss and regret every time.

This movie does what films are supposed to do - touch one's heart and mind.

The closing lines, taken from a short story by McLean, are as haunting as they are beautiful:

"But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River and a four count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

59 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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