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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.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Daniel Wallace (novel), John August (screenplay)
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Popularity
824 ( 405)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 68 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Ed Bloom - Young
Albert Finney ... Ed Bloom - Senior
Billy Crudup ... Will Bloom
Jessica Lange ... Sandra Bloom - Senior
Helena Bonham Carter ... Jenny - Young / Jenny - Senior / The Witch
Alison Lohman ... Sandra Bloom - Young
Robert Guillaume ... Dr. Bennett - Senior
Marion Cotillard ... Josephine Bloom
Matthew McGrory ... Karl the Giant
David Denman ... Don Price - Age 18-22
Missi Pyle ... Mildred
Loudon Wainwright III ... Beamen (as Loudon Wainwright)
Ada Tai ... Ping
Arlene Tai ... Jing
Steve Buscemi ... Norther Winslow
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Storyline

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

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

9 January 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran pez See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$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:

$122,919,055
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS (8 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tim Burton kept the ventriloquist dummy from the war sequence and has it at his home. He named it Lang. See more »

Goofs

When Ed dives into the river after the water snake, he was all wet when he emerges from it, with leeches on his legs. However when he returns to Spectre with Jenny in the next scene, his shirt and pants are completely dry. 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

Edited into Funny or Die Presents...: Fifty Shades of DeVito (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Traditional
Lyrics by John Newton
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Tim Burton's Surprise Heartwarmer
16 February 2004 | by ticdoulourouxSee 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.


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