15 Best Fishing Movies and 3 That Stink

A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It
Fishing is more than a pastime to the Maclean family of 1920's Montana in Robert Redford's 1992 Oscar winner; it's a metaphor for religion, life, and love. And a beautiful metaphor at that, as the fly fishing performed on screen is probably the most stunning ever filmed. The last remaining member of the family sums it up best when he proclaims, "My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things -- trout as well as eternal salvation -- came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy." Amen. Now let's go fishing.
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The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
Papa's ode to the faith, victory, and defeat that is fishing comes alive in this 1958 Spencer Tracy classic. Although countless papers have been written on what the Old Man's battle truly means, for me it boils down to this -- I fish, therefore I am. Keep fishing Old Man, wherever you are. Keep fishing.
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Grumpier Old Men
Grumpier Old Men
Septuagenarians Goldman and Gustafson take to warm weather fishing in their lifelong attempt to catch Catfish Hunter, a catfish so wily he actual smiles at anglers who try to land him. The men are joined this time by Sophia Loren's Maria Sophia Coletta Ragetti, a woman who is as good an angler as she is beautiful. And she's pretty hot for somebody in her 60s.
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The Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm
Based on the true story of the Andrea Gail's sinking in October 1991, The Perfect Storm is swordfishing at its best. Well, minus the sinking in the ocean part that is. In addition to some fine fishing, viewers are also treated to a hook in the hand, a glow stick fight, George Clooney putting a 12-gauge slug through a shark's head and one killer storm.
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On Golden Pond
On Golden Pond
Henry Fonda's Norman Thayer kicks the disrespectful punk out of his new step-grandson Billy by teaching him all there is to know about fishing. We need more Norman Thayer's in the world. God knows we don't need any more disrespectful punk kids running around. There's enough of them already. You know what? Quit reading this and go take some kid fishing. I think the world will be the better for it. Seriously, go now.
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Big Fish
Big Fish
Not a lot of fishing in this 2003 whopper of a tale, but Big Fish makes our list because protagonist Edward Bloom knows how to tell a fish story. His best? How he caught an uncatchable fish utilizing his wedding ring as bait. Of course his story about hanging out with mermaids was a good one too. But then a mermaid tale is always nice.
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Bait Shop
Bait Shop
Billy Ray Cyrus as a bass champion named Hot Rod Johnson and comedian Bill Engvall as a bait shop owner trying to save his business by winning a bass fishing contest. How'd I miss this when it came out in 2008? Was Billy's daughter in it? Who cares? Plenty of fishing and most of it is fairly realistic.
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Man's Favorite Sport
Man's Favorite Sport
Rock Hudson's Roger Willoughby is the author of the best selling fishing guidebook of all time in this 1964 film. Trouble is the book is fiction, Willoughby's never been fishing in his life, and his boss at Abercrombie and Fitch (Yes kids, A&F used to be a sporting goods store) just entered him in a fishing contest. As they say, hilarity ensues. Little known fact: I dedicated my book Texas Safari: The Fishing Guide to Texas to Roger Willoughby.
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Crocodile Dundee II
Crocodile Dundee II
While I can't condone using dynamite to "catch" fish, there is something funny about doing it off New York City waters as Mick "Crocodile" Dundee does.
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Jaws 2
Jaws 2
Definitely not as good as the original, but still worthy of the list. Jaws 2 focuses on Police Chief Martin Brody's hunt for another maneating Great White shark that's bloodying the waters of Amity. The shark is so big that it's eating killer whales. Speaking of killer whales, here's three fishing movies that suck ...
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Snakehead Terror
Snakehead Terror / Night of the Snakehead / Swarm of the Snakehead
It's a three-way tie for worst fishing movie featuring an invasive species. As bad as they are I'm pretty sure snakeheads aren't Godzilla in fish form. If you can't tell from the movie poster, these blockbusters are about murderous snakehead fish.
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Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo
Fish don't talk. They don't go to group therapy. They don't care if their offspring is lost. They don't get amnesia. They can't speak whale. They can't plan. They can't talk to birds. They can't talk. They don't like sea turtles.
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From "Jaws" to "A River Runs Through It," Hollywood has turned out some great fishing movies. It has made some awful ones too. Gayne Young ranks the the 15 best and 3 that suck.