Big Fish (2003)



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

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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.
PG-13 (for a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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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
Arlene Tai
as Jing
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
Morgan Grace Jarrett
as Will's Date
Sallie Hedrick
as Pretty Girl
Frank Hoyt Taylor
as Sharecropper
Savanna James
as Little Girl
Billy Redden
as Banjo Man
James DeForest Parker
as Shotgun Toter
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 Leader
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 Operator
Edward Aldag
as Minicipal Dump Owner
Alan Rawlins
as Pretty Man
Jake Brake
as Old Zacky
Bevin Kaye
as River Woman
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News & Interviews for Big Fish

Critic Reviews for Big Fish

All Critics (214) | 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 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Burton shows the rivalry between father and son but not the rancor, which seems to fit with the film's calm lyricism. But the father-son conflict is meant as the dramatic crux, and a forceful actor would have given it some much-needed bite.

Full Review… | March 16, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A compelling look at the relationships between fathers and sons, and the child coming to terms with the parent's mortality.

Full Review… | January 8, 2004
Top Critic

A long-winded indulgence in tear-and-a-smile whimsy.

Full Review… | December 26, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A disappointingly dull thud of a fantasy.

Full Review… | December 25, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

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
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
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
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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