There are many movies that depict fishing, both the sport and the profession, but not all of them are created equal. Some might have memorable lines of dialogue, while others have notable actors, and of course there are also those unforgettable fishing documentary shows.
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Best Fishing Movies
Here are some aquatic films and fishing shows on Netflix you should watch as soon as possible.
A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It is a 1992 drama film directed by Robert Redford. The story is loosely based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Norman Maclean. Set in Post-World War II Montana, it focuses on two brothers and their life-long passion for fly fishing.
The script was written by Richard Friedenberg and was inspired by stories that Redford’s father had told him about his life growing up as a young boy in Missoula, Montana. Nick Nolte and Brad Pitt also star with Casey Affleck (young Norman) and Tom Skerritt (Al).
The movie’s title is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:6 from The Bible which reads “A river goes down to the heart of the earth.” This is definitely one of the best fisherman movies worth watching.
No list of fishing movies is complete without mentioning Deadliest Catch, an Emmy-winning docu-reality series that gives viewers a fly-on-the-wall perspective into life onboard a crab boat in Alaska.
In season 8, which just ended in August 2015, fans were introduced to Captain Sig Hansen’s newest boat, which brought him back into negotiations with Discovery Channel after he voiced concerns over how much airtime his family and crew members were getting compared to himself. Filming began on season 9 earlier in 2015 and should air in 2016 or early 2017.
Into the Wild
While Into the Wild is a survival movie that’s best known for its brutally honest portrayal of Alaska’s nature, it deserves recognition as one of few movies that actually show fishing.
This isn’t like A River Runs Through It where much time is spent building tension before something gets cast; instead, Sean Penn gives us fly fishing for cutthroat trout in some very pretty locales. If you want to get away from everything, watch Into the Wild—and make sure you pack a rod.
There’s a fishing movie, and then there’s Finding Nemo. Sure, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” might be one of our favorite quotes from any movie (or TV show and fishing podcast), but you probably don’t know all that much about Finding Nemo as a fishing movie.
To help change that, here are three fun facts about Nemo: 1) It was made in Australia with marine animals from New Zealand; 2) Pixar used footage from Port Phillip Bay off Australia to give divers more realistic shots; 3) Sea urchins were used for jellyfish stings – mostly because Pixar animators didn’t want to spend weeks studying their motion in real life.
This horror flick is a remake of a Japanese film that deals with an invasive species. These creatures are called suckers and they infect their host and make them violently thirsty.
When sipped, it allows one to see into their host’s mind. It’s also one of J-Law’s first movies as well as her best work so far! You can see why she has such high praise for director Darren Aronofsky—he knows how to use actors to bring his story to life.
Brad Pitt in Se7en and Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men are both two other examples of great directors utilizing their cast effectively.
Released in 1975, Jaws is a near-perfect thriller. The film follows three men on a boat off Amity Island as they encounter one giant shark that just doesn’t want to go away.
While there are many classic scenes, such as Quint screaming smile at Mr. Brody, and perhaps most notably, Roy Scheider shouting; You’re gonna need a bigger boat! when he finally sees it for himself, the movie wouldn’t be what it is without its infamous villain: Bruce.
This giant shark gets top billing and has been named one of history’s best villains by numerous media outlets.
Thirst is a 1978 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring David Morse, Christine Lahti, John Heard, and Richard Dysart.
Written by Gerald Ayres, it focuses on a group of individuals struggling with their inner feelings about themselves and each other during their time at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Film critic Roger Ebert included Thirst in his Great Movies collection in 2009.
Gone Fishing was included on this list of fishing movies on Netflix, and deservedly so. Joe (Joe Pesci) and Gus (Danny Glover) are longtime pals who always manage to get into trouble.
They are overjoyed to learn they have won a fishing vacation to Florida. As they go on a road trip, their experience takes an unexpected turn. They come across a smooth-talking con artist (Nick Brimble) who steals Joe’s automobile.
They share a ride with two ladies, Rita (Rosanna Arquette) and Angie (Lynn Whitfield), and end up in bizarre circumstances.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Although there’s little real fishing in this film, it’s an endearingly weird, political, satirical rom-com. Simon Beaufoy adapted Paul Torday’s book for the film, which stars Lasse Hallström as a sheikh who wishes to introduce fly fishing to the deserts of western Asia.
Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Amr Waked feature, but it’s Kristin Scott Thomas’ portrayal as a British government spin doctor right out of The Thick of It that’s worth seeing. There’s not much fishing here but you could say this is a movie about fly fishing.
Low And Clear
In Low and Clear, J.T. Van Zandt and Alex “Xenie” Hall discover they’ve grown apart on a winter fly-fishing trip to Canada. J.T., the kind, even-tempered son of a songwriting superstar, feels fishing is about more than catching fish. Xenie, a “firewood salesperson,” is abrasive and fishes as if it were a race against the clock.
Their disparate attitudes to fishing and life collide on the snow-covered river banks. This is a genuine tale set in British Columbia about a relationship that has been strained to the breaking point.
Low And Clear is an investigation of life in the West’s fading wilderness, with moments of comedy and sadness. J.T. and Xenie find themselves on a potentially fatal fishing excursion. This is one of the fishing films that you just must watch.
So, there you have it – our list of the best fishing and fish movies of all time. Be sure to watch them when you have the time.
You are also welcome to share with us some of your favorite fly fishing movies in the comments below!