The sure hand of director Robert Redford, his images beautifully rendered by cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, did more than play it safe with the material provided by Norman Maclean's best-selling autobiographical novel about fly-fishing and the connection between father and sons. Set in Montana in the early 20th century, the film is a typical coming-of-age story featuring two sons, one conventional (Craig Sheffer) and one wild (Brad Pitt), and their relationships with their minister dad (Tom Skerritt). In his third directorial effort, Redford showed that he understood mood, pace, and setting like few other contemporary American filmmakers. A River Runs Through It is a mature, contemplative film that put Redford back on track as a director, leading him, a few years later, to the equally adept and perhaps more substantial Quiz Show.
by Michael Betzold review