A River Runs Through It (1992)

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Released 19-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Behind The Scenes Footage
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Marx Brothers-A Night In Casablanca, Bagdad Cafe
Trailer-Cyrano De Bergerac, Cinema Paradiso
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 118:16
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (75:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Redford
Allied Filmmakers
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Craig Sheffer
Brad Pitt
Tom Skerritt
Brenda Blethyn
Emily Lloyd
Edie McClurg
Stephen Shellen
Vann Gravage
Nicole Burdette
Susan Traylor
Michael Cudlitz
Rob Cox
Buck Simmonds
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Mark Isham

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    "In Montana there are three things we're never late for - Church, Work and Fishing"

    Sometimes a film can slip under the personal radar and remain a sort of unknown for many years. A River Runs Through It was,  for me, one such film until I took that chance to watch it for review purposes. I always knew this 1992 effort was from director Robert Redford, starred Brad Pitt, won a couple of Academy Awards and featured fly fishing as a key element to the story - but that was it.

    So it was rewarding to finally sit down and enjoy what is a well-told, authentic and visually stunning tale about a family living in rural Montana in the early part of the 20th century.

    Based on the real life story of Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It tells the endearing story of the Maclean family. The Reverend Maclean (Tom Skerrit) lives in the magnificent natural surrounds of Missoula, Montana with his wife (Brenda Blethyn) and sons Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul (Brad Pitt).

    The story follows the boys as they grow up under the stern guidance of their father. The Reverend is a strict man as he teaches the boys all about life. His one great passion is fly fishing and passes on all he knows to his two sons who soon become equally passionate about the sport. But time moves on and things change. Norman heads off to university in another state, while Paul accepts a position as a reporter with a paper in a nearby town. But the lure of the river and family is strong and when Norman eventually returns home after six years, he and his brother soon rekindle their passion for the mountains, the river and fishing. But things have changed. Paul was always the more reckless of the two and his recent womanising and gambling looks likely to lead to trouble despite the insistence of Norman to keep it cool. In spite of  his scholarly ways Norman also has his own troubles when he finds himself smitten with the lovely Jessie Burns (Emily Lloyd) and is torn between a future with her or accepting a teaching position in Illinois.

    A beautifully crafted film featuring an authentic production design, magnificent mountain and river scenery and some standout performances from the main cast. It may be a little plodding at times, but it is a story told with great affection.

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Transfer Quality


     This transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.66:1 it features 16x9 enhancement. Unfortunately this is not quite the same as the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, though if watching it on a standard widescreen television, the overscan will make it appear to be 1.78:1 which is similar to the proper ratio.

    This is a fairly decent video transfer with few problems, though it is not quite as sharp as I would have liked. The colours, especially of the mountains and rivers of Montana are magnificent and vibrant, offering a very wide palette. Shadow detail seems a little lacking during the darker scenes, and this also makes the black levels less than perfect.

    There are no compression artefacts, while film artefacts are present in large numbers but are small enough to not become a problem.

    English for the hearing impaired subtitles are all that we get here and they are well placed and accurate.

    This is a dual layer disc and the layer change is at 75:46. It is well placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There's only one audio option available here, this being a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack.

    This isn't a bad soundtrack, with no problems with hiss or distortion, but it really does lack any great range of fidelity and comes across a little one dimensional at times.

    The dialogue is prominent and well placed in the soundtrack and there are no audio sync problems.

    Mark Isham's score is excellent, capturing the beauty and unspoilt nature of Montana at the turn of the century. Coupled with the cinematography it is one of the highlights of the film.

    There is no discrete surround or subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation


    An 8:47 promotional featurette that contains lots of footage from the film plus a little interview material.

Featurette - Behind the scenes footage

    A pretty average behind the scenes featurette that does contain some interview material with the director but also resorts to using simple snippets of behind-the-camera footage with no voiceover describing what is occurring. Runs for 15:59.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for 2:38, this is a great trailer that stirs up the emotions of the story without spoiling any major plot elements.


    Trailers for The Marx Brothers-A Night In Casablanca, Bagdad Cafe, Cyrano De Bergerac and Cinema Paradiso


R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    The deciding factor here is the availability of the proper aspect ratio on the Region 1 disc. The two bonus featurettes present on the Region 4 disc are really very average and do not sway the decision in its favour. A clear win to the Region 1 version, unfortunately.


    A River Runs Through It is a finely crafted film featuring some standout acting performances and beautiful cinematography.

    The video transfer is free from major fault, except it is not presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    The audio is functional, while the extras are a little bit hit and miss.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, September 12, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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