A River Runs Through It

1992, Drama, 2h 3m

45 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Tasteful to a fault, this period drama combines a talented cast (including a young Brad Pitt) with some stately, beautifully filmed work from director Robert Redford. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

The Maclean brothers, Paul (Brad Pitt) and Norman (Craig Sheffer), live a relatively idyllic life in rural Montana, spending much of their time fly fishing. The sons of a minister (Tom Skerritt), 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.

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Critic Reviews for A River Runs Through It

Audience Reviews for A River Runs Through It

  • Jan 14, 2022
    Non-Hollywood films are refreshing. There's no car chase scenes, no unrealistic gunshots, no explosions... how wonderful. The cinematography and acting were good. What was especially nice was how the writer/director/actors didn't blast you with a message. Messages were given in a subtle way. For example, the parents loved both their sons, though as an adult, Norman was the one who was the success. Paul (Brad Pitt) was animated, lively, fun... but troubled. Paul was the life of the party at the dinner table. Norman, the older, quieter, and more sensible son, got a college degree and eventually landed a respectable job, while Paul drank too much and got into too many fights. You could see the parents' reaction, and them trying not to show Paul their disappointment. Also, Paul struggled with loving his older brother, but also, being jealous of him. Love won, but still, it was a conflict with Paul. I wished they did more with how Paul had mastered fly fishing, and how he had made it an art. That was a touching scene, when Norman watched his brother down the river work his fly fish pole in a spiritual way. Why did Norman love the woman he eventually married? (I forget her name). She seemed rather cold, and there was no real redeeming character in her. He saw her at a dance and fell in love. So was it only superficial? Was it only looks? I thought Norman would be better than this. When the brothers were late teens (or was it early twenties), they got in a fist fight in the kitchen. It was the first and last time they got physical with each other. They needed to determine which one was tougher. I thought for sure Paul was. So why didn't Paul win? I loved the minor character who played Norman's girlfriend's brother. I forget his name too. PERFECT character description of a shmuck! From the moment this superficial arrogant looser steps off the train wearing all white tennis clothing with a snobby scarf, we see true character. It's enhanced when he snubs off Norman at a livingroom social. It was so pinpoint when he pets the family dog, but slaps the dog when the dog gets a bit rough when excited. All in all, the subtle touches were brilliantly realistic.
    Amy A Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2012
    Yeeeah, it's all nice and purdy. Can't fault the actors terribly much for playing bland characters. About as exciting a picture as most seniors get. Bit of fly fishing too.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Riveting, inspirational, and heartwarming, "A River Runs Through It" is bolstered by an honest script, beautiful photography, and great performances from Tom Skerrit and Brad Pitt.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2011
    Absolutely breathtaking cinematography more than makes up for a less-than riveting storyline. A young Brad Pitt shines as well.
    Spencer M Super Reviewer

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