With our list of the 5 best fishing movies, you’ll have a week’s worth of films to watch that will get you in the spirit.
Where the landscape of hunting films is often viewed as lacking by many outdoor enthusiasts, fishing seems to be a topic that attracts many more A-list actors, filmmakers, and writers to its natural-world bounty. As a result, the category of “fishing movies” is an embarrassment of riches. We chose our 5 favorites, but we easily could have picked 5 more that are just as deserving.
Check out our picks, and weigh in with your comments below.
1. Jaws: The ultimate fishing film is also the ultimate summer blockbuster, the ultimate horror/thriller film, and still among the best work that world-renowned director Steven Spielberg has ever caught on celluloid. Most of us, even the most passionate, bull-headed anglers among us, probably wouldn’t do what the fishermen in this film do—hence why so many people were “afraid to go back in the water” after seeing this film in theaters back in 1975. With that said, it’s still riveting to watch the chase, the untimely demises, and the climactic explosion that finally allows the shark to meet its maker. Just remember, if you ever want to face down a fish as big as Jaws, you’ll want to consider getting a bigger boat.
2. A River Runs Through It: With a terrific cast that includes Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer and with Robert Redford in the director’s chair, this 1992 adaptation of author Norman Maclean’s fly-fishing classic is a poignant and beautiful coming-of-age story. Pitt and Sheffer play brothers, both the children of a minister, whose life paths diverge and clash, but whose love for family and for fishing always hold strong.
3. The Old Man and the Sea: Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is one of the most iconic pieces of writing in the history of English literature (not to mention the most popular fishing book ever written). This 1958 film version, starring Spencer Tracy, is as faithful as book-to-screen adaptations come, perfectly depicting the old man’s 84-day draught without a catch and his climactic battle with an enormous marlin.
4. Grumpy Old Men: Though technically regarded as a romantic comedy, the best moments from this 1993 film come when the eponymous “grumpy old men,” played by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, hit the lake for some good, old-fashioned Minnesota ice fishing. With barbed dialogue, jokes, insults, arguments, and plenty of fishing competition, the best scenes in this film do as good a job as any film at portraying an afternoon of fishing between two good friends who like to (playfully) say and do horrible things to one another.
5. The Perfect Storm: Most people saw this 2000 disaster film, starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, for the stunning special effects. We went in hoping for a great fishing movie. Luckily, The Perfect Storm is both an enjoyable fishing romp and a technical juggernaut, telling the true story of the Andrea Gail swordfishing boat, which risked an impending Massachusetts thunderstorm in 2001 for one last late-fishing season outing. The boat ended up in the middle of several colliding storms and hurricanes, and everyone onboard was killed, but for a little while at least, they caught some great fish.