A River Runs Through It (1992) Poster


Robert Redford courted author Norman Maclean for years to gain the rights to his autobiographical novella.
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.
Norman Maclean often recounted the story of how his semi-autobiographical story collection was rejected by every large commercial publisher he sent it to, including one that rejected it on the basis that it contained "too many trees". It was eventually published instead by the University of Chicago Press (in 1976) and went on to sell extraordinarily well for them.
George Coonenbergs was a retired railroad engineer. He taught Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer and Tom Skerritt how to fly-fish for this movie. He also taught fly-fishing and fly-tying to his fellow residents, and staff members, of his retirement community. He grew up near the Maclean family in Missoula, Montana. His family's cabin was built next door to the Maclean family cabin in Seeley Lake, Montana. He learned to fly-fish and tie flies from Rev. John Maclean, and considered Paul Maclean to be his best friend. The friendship between the Maclean and Coonenbergs families continues to this day, into its fourth generation.
Trout used in the movie were pond-raised in Montana and were kept in a specially aerated and cooled tank truck until their big moment in front of the cameras. No hooks were used, and no blood was drawn. A line was tied to each fish's lower jaw under the careful observance of the Montana Humane Society.
Even though the film claims that it is filmed in Missoula, it is actually filmed in and around Livingston, Bozeman and Big Timber, Montana. Many of the fishing scenes were filmed in the Gallatin Canyon on the Gallatin River south of Bozeman.
River Phoenix auditioned to play Paul Maclean.
Brad Pitt auditioned twice for the role of Paul Maclean. The first time he thought that his performance was really terrible, so he insisted in sending a tape performing another scene and that scene convinced the director that Pitt was the perfect choice.
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.
William Hurt wanted to play the role of Paul Maclean and once went fishing with Norman Maclean in Montana. When Hurt asked if he had fished well enough to portray his brother, Maclean replied: "Well, Bill, you're a pretty good fisherman but not good enough to be my brother.".
The film was originally produced by Carolco, the studio responsible for Terminator 2 (1991) and the Rambo films, among others. Due to the serious debt Carolco was facing, Robert Redford called upon film producer Jake Eberts to put in the financing of the pre-production. During post-production, Carolco sold their rights to the film to Eberts.
Film debut of Michael Cudlitz.
The bottle of whiskey served to Paul and Ol' Rawhide in Black Jack's bars has the numbers 3-7-77 on the bottle. 3-7-77 was the symbol used by the Montana Vigilantes (Vigilance Committee) in Virginia City, Montana. People who found the numbers '3-7-77' painted on their tent or cabin knew that they had better leave the area or expect to be on the receiving end of vigilante justice.
Though she plays Stephen Shellen's mother in the film, Edie McClurg is only six years older.
First reunion in 30 years of Robert Redford and Tom Skerritt since their co-starring feature debut in War Hunt (1962).
None of the actors had ever fly fished before making the movie.
At one point, this was considered as a vehicle for Lloyd Bridges and his two sons, Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges.
Glenn Quinn was offered the role of Norman Maclean, which he turned down.
Elmer Bernstein wrote the original score for this film. However, it was rejected by director Robert Redford, so Mark Isham composed a new one (for which he received an Oscar nomination). In the original theatrical version of the film, Isham was credited as the composer during the opening credits. But for some reason, in some video and DVD versions of the film, Bernstein is credited as the composer.
Frank Whaley auditioned for the role of Norman Maclean.
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When Norman asks Paul to go to Chicago, he says it's 2000 miles away. By road it's barely 1500 miles.
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The poem about the candle quotes at the speakeasy is "First Fig" by Edna St Vincent Millay. It was published in 1920, in a volume called "A Few Figs From Thistles"
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