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Big Fish (2003)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 297,912 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 783 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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

The story revolves around a dying father and his son, who is trying to learn more about his dad by piecing together the stories he has gathered over the years. The son winds up re-creating his father's elusive life in a series of legends and myths inspired by the few facts he knows. Through these tales, the son begins to understand his father's great feats and his great failings. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Fish  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$592,635 (Japan) (14 May 2004)

Gross:

$3,559,255 (Japan) (18 June 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When young Edward Bloom is singing in the church and his voice breaks, that single note that we hear is actually Ewan McGregor singing. See more »

Goofs

When Edward Bloom infiltrates the "North Korean" concert there are multiple languages being spoken (not just Korean). These languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tagalog. In addition, the translation book Edward reads on the plane in simply entitled "English to Asian". This is done deliberately in order to obfuscate a reference to any country/war in which Ed might have been. Ed is old enough to be a veteran of WWII, but he is fighting the Chinese, who would have been allied with the US at the time. This is simply to let the audience know that the war is not WWII nor any specific war but is symbolic of all wars. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References The Evil Dead (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Traditional
Lyrics by John Newton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Tim Burton's Surprise Heartwarmer
16 February 2004 | by (Virginia) – See all my reviews

I approach Tim Burton films with a certain trepidation. Will it be "Edward Scissorhands" or "Batman II?" With Burton you could get a quirky comedy, a dark thriller, or sweet morality tale. And there's always the possibility of Danny DeVito chomping down on a raw fish.

"Big Fish" combines Burton's unusual humor with a heart-wrenching story of a father-son deathbed reconciliation. Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor share the role of Ed Bloom, one of the big fish from the movie's title while an SUV-sized catfish plays the other. Bloom is a metaphorical and literal big fish in the small pond of Ashton, Alabama in this tale told mostly through flashback. Jessica Lange plays his wife and Billy Crudup plays the son, Will, estranged from his father for the past three years. Father and son are reunited as Finney lies dying of cancer.

Ed Bloom has spent his life spinning his personal history into mythological proportions: an early encounter with a very tall man becomes a battle with a house-sized giant; a rural village is depicted as heaven on earth; military service during the Korean War morphs into a behind-the-lines mission that would make Duke Nukem proud. Originally a true believer, Will now knows everything his father has told him was not just an exageration or even a tall tale but an outright lie. In his effort to understand the truth behind his father's stories he learns to love the man as well as the mythology. And Burton delivers a terrific punchline at the end of the film that left me both tickled and weeping, a truly weird emotional state.

Burton deals with mythic themes in "Big Fish." Besides the surface story of the generational tension between father and son he explores the metaphor of the big-fish-in-a-small-pond by examining the impact Ed Bloom has had on the lives he's touched in his workaday contacts with colleagues, customers (he's a traveling salesman), and people in the small towns across the South. Not exactly "It's A Wonderful Life," he still manages to show how all of us -- even the little fish -- have profound effects on the people around us. And of course love -- unrequited and reciprocated -- control almost all of Ed's many adventures.

The acting is wonderful. You will actually believe two Brits and a Scot (Finney, Helena Bonham Carter, and McGregor) are natives of small town Alabama. Lange brings dignity and brio to the role of the long "suffering" wife -- and she still looks great(!)-- you believe she has had a long and loving life with Finney/McGregor. DeVito is a delight in the role of a circus ringmaster. But the scene-stealer is Bonham Carter in the dual role of Jenny and the crone witch.

I rated this movie ten stars and when you see it you'll do the same.


188 of 224 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Such a moving film jedi_R
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