Big Fish (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Big Fish (2003)



Critic Consensus: A charming father-and-son tale filled with typical Tim Burton flourishes.

Movie Info

The story of a braggart and exaggerator, Edward Bloom, and his son, William, who--after a long estrangement--returns home only to learn his father is dying of cancer. Desperate to know the complicated man before it's too late, William sets out, trying to unravel fact from fiction.more
Rating: PG-13 (for a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John August
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 27, 2004
Box Office: $66.3M
Sony Pictures - Official Site


Ewan McGregor
as Young Ed Bloom
Albert Finney
as Senior Ed Bloom
Billy Crudup
as Will Bloom
Jessica Lange
as Senior Sandra Bloom
Alison Lohman
as Young Sandra Bloom
Helena Bonham Carter
as Jenny/The Witch
Robert Guillaume
as Senior Dr. Bennett
Marion Cotillard
as Josephine Bloom
David Denman
as Don Price (Age 18-22...
David Denham
as Don Price (age 18-22...
Missi Pyle
as Mildred
Ada Tai
as Ping
Steve Buscemi
as Norther Winslow
Danny DeVito
as Amos Calloway
Deep Roy
as Mr. Soggybottom
Perry Walston
as Ed Bloom (Age 10)
Hailey Anne Nelson
as Jenny (Age 8)
Grayson Stone
as Will Bloom (Age 6-8)
R. Keith Harris
as Ed's Father
Karla Droege
as Ed's Mother
Zachary Gardner
as Zacky Price (Age 10)
John Lowell
as Don Price (Age 12)
Darrell Vanterpool
as Wilbur (Age 10)
Miley Cyrus
as Ruthie (Age 8)
Joseph Humphrey
as Little Brave
Sallie Hedrick
as Pretty Girl
Frank Hoyt Taylor
as Sharecropper
Savanna James
as Little Girl
Billy Redden
as Banjo Man
Russell Hodgkinson
as Some Farmer
Don Young
as Shephard
Jayne Morgan
as Townsperson
David Ramsey
as Townsperson
Greg Hohn
as Townsperson
Zach Hanner
as Cashier
George McArthur
as Collossus
Jeff Campbell
as Parachute Jump Leade...
Lawrence Sykkmon
as Chinese Emcee
Bonnie Johnson
as Teller Woman
Howard Houston Jr.
as Piano Student
Joanne Pankow
as Heavy-Set Nurse
Trevor Gagnon
as Will's Son
Karlos Walkes
as Young Dr. Bennett
Cathy Berry
as Lobster Woman
John Fugate
as Sideshow Barker
Daniel Wallace
as Econ Professor
Metz Duites
as Ventriloquist
Vincent Ybiernas
as Asian Officer
Barry C. Harvard
as Chicken Plant Operat...
Edward Aldag
as Minicipal Dump Owner
Alan Rawlins
as Pretty Man
Jake Brake
as Old Zacky
Bevin Kaye
as River Woman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Big Fish

Critic Reviews for Big Fish

All Critics (216) | Top Critics (43)

The film doesn't so much reject history as selectively rewrite it to its own reactionary, even offensive ends. This might perhaps be just about tolerable were the film funny, illuminating, insightful or moving. It is not.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

the father-and-son story to beat all father-and-son stories

Full Review… | January 12, 2016
Fat Guys at the Movies

Delightful, sad father-son story for teens and up.

Full Review… | December 22, 2010
Common Sense Media

Reliant more on powerful familial emotions than wacky splendor, "Big Fish" treads as close to our real world as Tim Burton ever could - a melancholy dissection of paternal distance and never truly knowing how many lives those we love can truly affect.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

Burton, favoring form over content, flavor over fact, has been often criticized for not knowing how to bring his work to satisfactory resolution. But I'd call that a good thing. Blame it on his dad.

Full Review… | August 21, 2009

Audience Reviews for Big Fish

Beautiful visually and emotionally. A wonderful examination of relationships and mortality. Albert Finney proves again what a fine actor he is.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


Will Bloom: A man tells so many stories, that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal.

"An Adventure As Big As Life Itself."

Big Fish is a very interesting movie. The plot jumps around and while we are being told the stories, we, like the child of the man in the stories, don't know what's true and what's false. Now, Big Fish isn't one of my favorites from Tim Burton, but it does show some expansion in his filmmaking. This movie is more real life than anything he's ever done. Sure there's some fantastical elements that remind us of other Burton films, but this one is so much more different than anything he's ever done.

Big Fish is the life story of a dying old man, Ed Bloom. He is a storyteller, that tells fantastical stories about his life, which seem to have little to do with reality. His son, Will, also is under the belief that the stories are made up. Either way we get to hear and see the stories the way Ed would have told them.

There's a lot of bizarreness going on here as you would suspect with any Burton film. There's a giant, a witch, a humongous fish, and a love story that stops time. Overall the plot elements add up to a pretty satisfactory story even if something seems to be missing from he overall outcome.

Big Fish is a film I more appreciate then enjoy. I never have fallen in love with it, but it always entertains and intrigues me. It's well worth a watch as it has solid direction from Burton and it boasts a strong and well-know cast.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Fantasy movie by Tim Burton. A man is dying of cancer. His son is desperate to know his father. He tells him how he met his mother. Great cast and story.

Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Big Fish Quotes

Ed Bloom (Young): There are some fish that cannot be caught. It's not that they are faster or stronger than the other fish, they're just touched by somethin' extra.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Dr. Bennett (Senior): Not very excitin', is it? And I suppose if I had to choose between the true version and an elaborate one involvin' a fish and a wedding ring, I might choose the fancy version. But that's just me.
William Bloom: I kinda like your version.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Dr. Bennett (Senior): Did your father ever tell you about the day you were born?
William Bloom: A thousand times. He caught an uncatchable fish.
Dr. Bennett (Senior): Not that one. The real story. Did he ever tell you that.
William Bloom: No.
Dr. Bennett (Senior): Your mother came in about three in the afternoon. Her neighbor drove her, on account of your father was on business in Wichita. You were born a week early, but there were no complication. It was a perfect delivery. Now, your father was sorry to miss it, but it wasn't the custom for the men to be in the room for deliveries then, so I can't see as it would have been much different had he been there. And that's the real story of how you were born.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)
Sandra Bloom (Senior): I don't know if you're aware of this, Josephine, but African parrots, in their native homes of the Congo, they only speak French?
Josephine: Really?
Edward Bloom (senior): You're lucky to get four words out of them in English, but if you were to walk through the jungle, you'd hear them speakin' the most elaborate French. Those parrots talk about everything. Politics, movies, fashion. Everything but religion.
William Bloom: Why not religion, Dad?
Edward Bloom (senior): It's rude to talk about religion. You never know who you're gonna offend.
William Bloom: Josephine actually went to Congo last year.
Edward Bloom (senior): Oh, so you know.
– Submitted by Alyssa B (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Big Fish on our Movie forum!