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Big Fish (2003)

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A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life.



(novel), (screenplay)
1,339 ( 180)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 68 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Price - Age 18-22
Beamen (as Loudon Wainwright)


United Press International journalist Will Bloom and his French freelance photojournalist wife Josephine Bloom, who is pregnant with their first child, leave their Paris base to return to Will's hometown of Ashton, Alabama on the news that his father, Edward Bloom, stricken with cancer, will soon die, he being taken off chemotherapy treatment. Although connected indirectly through Will's mother/Edward's wife, Sandra Bloom, Will has been estranged from his father for three years since his and Josephine's wedding. Will's issue with his father is the fanciful tales Edward has told of his life all his life, not only to Will but the whole world. As a child when Edward was largely absent as a traveling salesman, Will believed those stories, but now realizes that he does not know his father, who, as he continues to tell these stories, he will never get to know unless Edward comes clean with the truth before he dies. On the brink of his own family life beginning, Will does not want to be the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An adventure as big as life itself.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran pez  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$207,377, 14 December 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$66,257,002, 14 March 2004

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Even though Helena Bonham Carter played a character ten years younger than Ewan McGregor, in real life, she is five years older than him. See more »


Right before Ed is shown parachuting out of the plane, he checks his watch. This watch ticked every second, when in reality there were not quartz watches that ticked in this fashion until the 1970s and 1980s. At the time the movie was set, only mechanical watches were available, and they "swept" fluidly. See more »


[first lines]
Young Ed Bloom: There are some fish that cannot be caught. It's not that they are faster or stronger than other fish, they're just touched by something extra.
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Crazy Credits

The Columbia logo runs in reverse. See more »


Referenced in The 5th Wave (2016) See more »


Five O'Clock World
Written by Allen Reynolds
Performed by The Vogues
Courtesy of Zanzibar Records, Inc.
Under license from Janus Records
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

How to create your own legacy...
24 December 2003 | by See all my reviews

I often find that in order to be captivating, a film these days needs to be stressfully suspenseful or have a complicated story line. This film had neither, and yet I found myself hoping it wouldn't end while at the same time, anxiously awaiting its conclusion. I have to admit, I was distrustful of Burton as many of his more recent films have had less-than-satisfying conclusions. Nonetheless, I went to see Big Fish (3 days before its release in Canada) with no expectations and was astounded. This movie is an absolute treat for our hearts, ears and especially our eyes with each cartoon/fantasy-like scene painted with Tim Burton's reliable brilliance and magical touch. Ewan McGregor is pure sunshine and Albert Finney gives one of the greatest performances of the year- he *is* Big Fish. But I suppose that when you strip away the beauty, the doll-house sets and all the abracadabra of cinematography and modern day technology, all you have is a very simple story, and therein lies the heart of this film; that one can create their own legacy, "the story of my life." Not through either extreme of extraordinary adventure or unbelievable lies, but through the art of storytelling- and THAT is what this film is about. It is through our *stories* that we are immortal.

Go see this movie, bring the kids, bring your date, bring your parents! It is for everyone...everyone who appreciates a visually and emotionally beautiful irregular story about a regular person's life.

***** 5 stars!!

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