When Billy returns from reform school he has to attend a different high school at the other side of town. He tries to start with a clean slate but his old rival doesn't make it easy on him ... See full summary »
The Maclean brothers, Paul and Norman, live a relatively idyllic life in rural Montana, spending much of their time fly fishing. The sons of a minister, the boys eventually part company when Norman moves east to attend college, leaving his rebellious brother to find trouble back home. When Norman finally returns, the siblings resume their fishing outings, and assess both where they've been and where they're going.Written by
When Norman and Paul take Neal fishing you can see Paul has a polio vaccination scar on his upper left arm. The scene is set in the 1920's but the polio vaccine wasn't put into use until 1955. See more »
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."
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No fish were killed or injured during the making of A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. The producers would like to point out that, although the Macleans kept their catch as was common earlier in this century, enlightened fisherman today endorse a "catch and release" policy to assure that this priceless resource swims free to fight another day. Good fishing. See more »
The US DVD has different composer credits for the widescreen/pan & scan version. The widescreen version lists Elmer Bernstein (whose score was rejected) while the pan & scan version lists 'Mark Isham' (who replaced Bernstein). See more »
Picturesque and Literary: An Ode to the American Wilderness
I have seen all the films directed by Robert Redford and appreciated his love of the American people and the land. In A River Runs Through It, Redford displays the lyric romanticism and visual splendor of the high Rocky Mountains of Montana as if he were a 19th century landscape painter of the ilk of Thomas Moran or Albert Bierstadt. This film makes love to the visual and the word with text by author Norman Maclean, and stunning camera work by Phillippe Rousselot (Serpent's Kiss, Reigne Margot).
Redford's cast is perfect. Tom Skerritt is the Rev. MacLean, a man whose methods of education include fly fishing as well as the Bible, Brenda Blythen, the mother, and his sons, Craig Schaffer and Brad Pitt create a family whose interactions reflect the same problems all encounter with growing teenage sons, and later, complex young men. Both Schaffer and Pitt are totally believable as the brothers whose love of fly fishing and each other will tie them together forever. It is the relationships between men, father and sons, brothers, and their women to the outside world that grounds A River Runs Through It to a vein of storytelling that is missing in so many of Hollywood films produced in recent years.
What makes these relationships special however, is the attention Redford gives to the language as spoken in dialogue. This is a literate script, beautiful to hear and unforgettable when coupled with the stunning Montana rivers and mountains. The words and setting are equal to performances by a cast that rises to their material. While the idea of fly fishing may seem an odd device to center a story, it is not so implausible in Redford's directorial hands. Given the material, Redford's elegant ode to a simpler time and life is worth revisiting again and again.
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