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Big Fish (2003)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  9 January 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 336,360 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 808 user | 233 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

A son tries to learn more about his dying father by reliving stories and myths he told about his life.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 46 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:

$207,377 (USA) (12 December 2003)


$3,559,255 (Japan) (18 June 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Tim Burton:  [black and white stripes]  in the circus scene, the stripes can be seen on the ringmaster's pants and also on the outside of the giant's box. See more »


In the War, Ed Bloom picks up an enemy document stamped "Top Secret" in red ink. The document itself is actually a foreclosure notice from a bank. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia logo runs in reverse. See more »


Features Dog Day Afternoon (1975) See more »


The Victors
Written by Louis Elbel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Cohesive and a feast for the eyes
27 December 2003 | by (California) – See all my reviews

I've had high hopes for this movie since I first heard about it some time ago. After all, most of the Tim Burton movies I've seen (barring Planet of the Apes) have been really wonderful. To say the least, Big Fish did not disappoint me. The story - by no means complex or suspenseful - was simple enough to allow the viewer to really take in the fantasy and mythology in Edward Bloom's tales. One didn't need a surprise ending or secret identities to make this film enjoyable. Rather, it was the simplicity and universal nature of the story that made it interesting. While some reviews have mentioned that the film can seem choppy at times, I didn't see this at all. The transition seemed smooth and logical, and while sometimes I found myself wishing for more scenes of younger Edward Bloom, I never felt bored by any of the movie. Nothing seemed to 'drag'. I was also quite impressed with the quality of acting in nearly the entire cast. Billy Crudup didn't really hit his stride until the end, but he was tolerable through the first three-quarters of the movie. Albert Finney did a great job of portraying a lion on his last legs, bigger than his body but unable to show it. Jessica Lange was amazing and added the emotional oomph that Billy Crudup often failed to provide. And while Ewan McGregor's role was not particularly difficult, at no point did he overplay the character, and his accent (to my ear anyway) never slipped. Though this wasn't as dark as Sleepy Hollow or as bizarre as Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, Big Fish definitely had the Tim Burton touch in its scenery. The colors - whether dull for Elder Bloom's time or bright for Younger Bloom - matched the mood perfectly, and everywhere you looked (especially in Bloom the Younger's timeframe) there was something else to marvel at. Tim Burton fans will not be disappointed.

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