Well, if we’re talking just fly fishing, that one’s a no brainer – A River Runs Through It. But let’s keep it open to all types of fishing, because, let’s face it, you can fly fish just about anywhere these days.
Heck, we even saw a guy catch a great white on a fly, so I guess that leaves Jaws on the board.
A River Runs Through It, 1992
Well, this has to be at the top of the list. Director Robert Redford’s Oscar winner is based on Norman Maclean's novel about the two fly fishing brothers set in Montana in the early 1900s. This classic stars Brad Pitt as Paul the “fly fishing newspaper man” and Craig Sheffer his scholar brother, Norman.
If you don’t have A River Runs Through It, something’s wrong with you. Or you have Netflix, because you can watch it instantly online. This, and the fact that it’s available in Blu-Ray now, makes this movie that much more classic.
Old Man and the Sea, 1958 and 1990
Another classic fly fishing tale based on a novel, this time by Ernest Hemingway. The 1990 version depicts Anthony Quinn as Santiago, the old fisherman who fights a giant marlin for days and has to fend off sharks in his attempt to bring his trophy back to shore.
The 1958 version stars Spencer Tracy. Both are available on DVD. The 1990, made-for-TV version is available instantly via Netflix.
This doesn’t exactly fit (like Moby Dick) the list, but it’s a classic all fishermen will enjoy.
The first great white shark thriller hit the screen in 1975, with sequels following in 1978, 1983 and 1987.
All four are available on DVD from Netflix. I’m still waiting for Blu-Ray and instant viewing.
Moby Dick, 1956 and 1998
Like Old Man and the Sea, there are a couple versions of this classic novel by Herman Melville.
The 1956 version (starring Gregory Peck) depicting Captain Ahab’s hunt of the great whale that took his leg is available on DVD as is the 1998 version (Patrick Steward). Peck actually played Father Mapple in the latter version, winning a Golden Globe for Supporting Actor.
The Perfect Storm, 2000
I threw this one in there at No. 5 because I live on the coast and can appreciate the treacherous conditions that saltwater fishermen endure.
And the cast (George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg) and special effects make this one worth watching as well.
This particular story revolves around a New England fishing boat that runs into deadly swells at the remote Flemish Cap. It’s available on DVD and Blu-Ray but not instant viewing on Netflix.
Gone Fishin’, Bait Shop and Grumpy Old Men didn’t make the cut, but if you’re in to corny comedies that have some fishing references, you might enjoy those as well. I tried to stick to the classics on this particular list.
Also, if you’re interesting in instructional or reference videos on fly fishing, Netflix has about a dozen available for rental. Trout Bum Diaries: Vol. 1: Patagonia is the top rated fly fishing DVD in the genre.