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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 39,193 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 129 user | 42 critic | 21 from

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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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 <>

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
See  »

Did You Know?


Brad Pitt trained fly-fishing for four weeks. Since most of the time he was not near any river in Los Angeles, he trained it on top of a building. See more »


In the final fishing scene, the water level on Paul changes a few times between shots. 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

The scenes on the Blackfoot River were actually shot on the Madison and other rivers around the Bozeman and Livingston areas. The "Big Blackfoot" has already become too polluted and populated to provide the image the scene required. See more »


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

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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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