A River Runs Through It (1992) – The Story of a Family


Many times, I stumble upon movies that make me philosophical about life, family and our loved ones. A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, directed by Robert Redford, is based on the writer Norman Maclean’s autobiographical story of growing up in Montana and tells us about a Presbyterian minister father and his two sons: one studious and other rebellious.

Norman (Craig Sheffer), as the elder brother, grows up with younger brother Paul (Brad Pitt) under the watchful eye of his father (Tom Skerritt) learning different things about life, including schoolwork, religion, and of course, fly fishing, which the writer here puts as a metaphor to life.

Norman who is more sober, decent and studious went on to become a professor of English literature while his younger brother Paul becomes a reporter but pushed himself into the trouble of drinking and gambling. Although they both have their share of life together with endless childhood fun, it is Paul who never wanted to live Montana rather enjoyed fly fishing in which he was always good at.

A River Runs Through It (1992) – The Story of a Family
A River Runs Through It – Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, and Tom Skerritt

The film chronicles their shared experience while growing up; their love for each other even though they lead a life of their own. The writer (and subsequently the director) portrayed fly fishing as the tool to tell the philosophy of life.

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Just as Norman’s father emphasized the perfection of fly fishing in reading the river, the fish and yourself/self-belief to get what you desire; life also throws us into many choices, twists, and turns, which we need to understand in order to live a good life.

A River Runs Through It is a classic in itself that certainly makes you more emotional about life. Yes, after watching this movie, I can say that most of the events in our lives are all accidental and may not give us a chance to think of it, but our earnest effort should always be to take life as it comes. And if we believe in destiny and accept whatever happens with courage and honesty, the end will always be a story to be told.

While the direction by Redford and Richard Friedenberg’s screenplay were all amazing, the film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1993.

The story and narration of the film resonate more than just a few things. It can be anything, from the point of view of destiny to moral values, artistic accomplishment, family bonding to the inner rebellion of one to lead a life of his own.

I have not watched many of Brad Pitt’s earlier films, but this is simply awesome and probably one of his career-making performances.

Watch the movie trailer of “A River Runs Through It”

Director: Robert Redford
Cast: Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Lloyd, Edie McClurg, and Stephen Shellen.
Screenplay by Richard Friedenberg
Based on the book: ‘A River Runs Through It’ by Norman Maclean
Release Date/Year: October 9, 1992

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Where to watch A River Runs Through It (1992)
A full-time movie geek and part time e-learning professional. He loves to read, write and discuss in length about cinema and the art of filmmaking.

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