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A River Runs Through It (1992)

PG | | Drama | 30 October 1992 (USA)
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The story about two sons of a stern minister -- one reserved, one rebellious -- growing up in rural Montana while devoted to fly fishing.

Director:

Robert Redford

Writers:

Norman Maclean (story), Richard Friedenberg (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,685 ( 674)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Craig Sheffer ... Norman Maclean
Brad Pitt ... Paul Maclean
Tom Skerritt ... Rev. Maclean
Brenda Blethyn ... Mrs. Maclean
Emily Lloyd ... Jessie Burns
Edie McClurg ... Mrs. Burns
Stephen Shellen ... Neal Burns
Vann Gravage Vann Gravage ... Young Paul
Nicole Burdette Nicole Burdette ... Mabel
Susan Traylor ... Rawhide
Michael Cudlitz ... Chub
Rob Cox ... Conroy
Buck Simmonds Buck Simmonds ... Humph
Fred Oakland Fred Oakland ... Mr. Burns
David Creamer David Creamer ... Ken Burns
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Storyline

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 Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of an American Family.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for momentary nudity, and some language in a family drama | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A River Runs Through It See more »

Filming Locations:

Bozeman, Montana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$298,277, 12 October 1992

Gross USA:

$43,440,294

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$43,440,294
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt double for Paul when he is being dragged down the rapids while reeling in the big fish. The double's hair is dark brown/black under the hat, while Brad Pitt has blonde hair. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Older Norman: [narrating] 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."
See more »

Crazy Credits

The scenes on the Blackfoot River were actually shot on the Madison and other rivers around the Bozeman and Livingston areas. The "Big Blackfoot" has already become too polluted and populated to provide the image the scene required. See more »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.140 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
Performed by Prudence Johnson
Written by Mort Dixon and Ray Henderson
Warner Bros., Inc. / Olde Clover Leaf Music Co., Roy Henderson Music Co. / Bienstock Publishing Co.,
on behalf of Redwood Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Picturesque and Literary: An Ode to the American Wilderness
22 May 2004 | by AZINDNSee all my reviews

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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