“Many men spend their entire lives fishing without ever realizing that the target species of their pursuit is not fish.” Henry David Thoreau was the one who stated this, and most filmmakers have come to agree with him.
On film, the activity of fishing has served as a backdrop for a variety of dramatic and comedic explorations, including friendship, political strife, romance, and general goofing around.
The next ten examples, selected by Empire, include illustrations of each of these and a few additional topics as well.
A River Runs Through It
Robert Redford, the director, pursued author Robert MacLean for the better part of a decade to get the rights to Redford’s autobiographical novella.
It was well worth it in the end to produce the movie, which starred Brad Pitt in the part that Robert Redford might once have played himself.
It is elegiac, restrained, and wonderfully filmed by cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, and it shows fly fishing not just as a pleasure, but also as a vital link between its people. And in terms of the arts. This movie is still considered by many to be the definitive fishing film.
This magnificent drama, which does not have nearly as much of a reputation as it should, stars Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, was directed by the iconic Louis Malle, was written by Alice Arlen (Silkwood), and features a soundtrack composed by the legendary Ry Cooder.
In this blue-collar drama, Ed Harris plays a Vietnam veteran who becomes enraged when Vietnamese immigrants begin to take over the fishing sector in his small town.
To be clear, this is not a stomping-your-feet-and-yelling-at-the-right-wing-to-send-them-back rally; rather, the conflict essentially pits immigrant fishermen against the Ku Klux Klan. Although the contents of the story are made up, it is based on actual occurrences that took place along the Gulf Coast in the early 1980s.
Gone Out Fishing for the Day
Gone Fishin’ is a story about two friends who are prone to accidents and manage to sneak away for a few days of peaceful fishing but leave disaster in their wake. This story is somewhat lighter than the one described above.
The casting of Lethal Weapon veterans Danny Glover and Joe Pesci as the hapless duo, offering the material greater performances than it really deserves, is what (somewhat) elevates this beyond the level of a sort of Ernest Goes Fishing.
Joe Pesci and Danny Glover play the same characters in the film (although John Candy and Rick Moranis were earmarked but “unavailable”).
It is likely that you will have the most fun if you disregard the actual set-up and make an effort to think that this really is Roger Murtaugh and Leo Getz spending the weekend apart from Martin Riggs.
In this scene, Irish trawlerman Colin Farrell snags a stunning woman in his nets, and he quickly becomes entangled in the mystery of whether or not she is a refugee or a mermaid.
The contemporary fairytale written by Neil Jordan is charming and witty, and it features outstanding performances.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Even though there isn’t much actual fishing in this movie, it’s still a funny, quirky, politically-charged, and satirical romantic comedy. The tall tale of a sheik who wants to import fly fishing to the deserts of western Asia was adapted by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), and Lasse Hallstrom directed the film.
The story is about a sheik who wants to bring fly fishing to the deserts. In addition to Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Amr Waked, the cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays a spin doctor for the British government in a role that is reminiscent of The Thick of It. Her performance alone makes the movie worth watching.
The Perfect Storm
This film, which was adapted from Sebastian Junger’s riveting best-selling book, spends the opening hour painting a gloomy and drawn-out picture of a fishing hamlet that is battling to survive. However, given that this is a Wolfgang Petersen movie, you can be sure that there will be plenty of spectacles.
It shows up in the form of the meteorological phenomena with the same name, which thrashes our all-male cast (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, William Fichtner, Allen Payne, and John Hawkes) and puts them in a drenchingly precarious situation.
Towed in a Hole
In one of their most famous comedic shorts, Laurel and Hardy play fish merchants who have the inspired idea of going fishing for themselves, thereby eliminating the need to negotiate terms with their suppliers.
A yacht that needs some work is acquired as a “fixer-upper.” It goes without saying that the work devolves into terrible violence, and the boat ultimately burns to the water. Nevertheless, it was a good concept, don’t you think?
The Old Man and the Sea
The slim masterpiece written by Ernest Hemingway has been adapted for the big screen on multiple occasions, including a miniseries from 1990 starring Anthony Quinn and stunning animation from 1999 created by Aleksandr Petrov.
However, we are going to take a risk and say that the adaption that John Sturges did in 1958 is the best one. The fishing action is extremely limited, and it is obvious that the majority of the film was shot in a tank rather than on location at sea.
The bright side, though, is that Spencer Tracy is mostly responsible for putting up an amazing one-man show. It would appear that Hemingway himself thought it was worthy. That is acceptable to us.
Low and Clear
The beautiful documentary directed by Kahlil Hudson covers a similar subject as the film A River Runs Through It in that it focuses on the natural splendor of the American countryside and the camaraderie that exists among fishermen.
The scenario is modern day, which incorporates the slow degradation of the wilderness in the American West and, in the specific friends at the center of the film (J.T. Van Zandt and Alex “Xenie” Hall), a sorrowful realization that they may very well be drifting apart from one another.
Although it is not strictly about fishing per se, it is about the pursuit of a particularly large catch. As a result, Jaws, which features a loud explosion and falling shark meat, comes in at the number one spot on our ranking.