A River Runs Through It is an Academy Award winning 1992 American film directed by Robert Redford and starring Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd. It is a period drama based on Norman Maclean's semi-autobiographical novella of the same name (1976). Set in and around the city of Missoula in western Montana, the story follows two sons of a Presbyterian ministerone studious and the other rebelliousas they come of age in the time period between World War I and the Great Depression. The film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1993. It was also nominated for two other Academy Awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Music; Original Score. The film grossed $43,440,294 in US domestic returns.
The film tells the autobiographical story about two young men, Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul (Brad Pitt), growing up in 1920s Missoula, Montana under the watchful eye of their father, a Presbyterian minister. Their mornings are spent in school and religious study, while their afternoons are devoted to fly fishing in the nearby Blackfoot River. At home, however, the family's stoic emotions hint that trouble is to come. Norman goes to the east coast for college and lives there for six years, without returning home until then. In the meantime, Paul gets a job as a prolific journalist and makes a name for himself back home. The film is about Norman's return home and his and Paul's summer together. As adults, Paul is a rebellious journalist and his brother, Norman, a level-headed, grounded teacher. Norman matures and channels his rebellion through his writing while dating Jessie Burns, while his reckless brother Paul turns to gambling and liquor. The film chronicles their intertwining and often conflicting lives, focusing on Norman's point of view, as they grow up in the shadow of their minister father. A great deal of the film surrounds the men's love of fly fishing for trout in Montana's rivers, and their shared experiences through it while growing up.