Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Robert Redford's sensitive, unhurried movie of A River Runs Through It is so faithful to the book that it becomes that rare thing - a beautiful celebration of the power of literature. [09 Oct 1992]
  2. A tasteful, richly textured, exquisitely nostalgic drama that carries with it an enormous emotional punch. [09 Oct 1992]
  3. Reviewed by: Caryn James
    A River Runs Through It, Mr. Redford's beautiful and deeply felt new movie, puts him in an entirely new category as a film maker.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    A skilled, careful adaptation of a much-admired story, A River Runs Through It is a convincing trip back in time to a virtually vanished American West, as well as a nicely observed family study.
  5. 88
    Redford and his writer, Richard Friedenberg, understand that most of the events in any life are accidential or arbitrary, especially the crucial ones, and we can exercise little conscious control over our destinies.
  6. 88
    This is a beautifully-shot film, and director Robert Redford (who also provides the voice-over narration) has paid painstaking attention to detail.
  7. Reviewed by: Hollis Chacona
    A pure cinematic distillation of Maclean's words, it is by turns austere and vibrant, disconsolate and joyful.
  8. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The story is told handsomely and affectingly with images, facial expressions and body language. [16 Oct 1992]
  9. It's perfectly admirable, absolutely controlled, and fully understandable. [09 Oct 1992]
  10. Reviewed by: Ted Mahar
    It's difficult to imagine a better film adaptation of Maclean's work. [16 Oct 1992]
  11. Whatever the movie's failings, it had enough poignancy and beauty to make me want to find out what was missing. [08 Oct 1992]
  12. 70
    It is a serious and, at times, moving film, and it deserves serious analysis.
  13. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    The words - taken directly from the book - are beautifully cast, but they encapsulate the emotions too conveniently.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Even set against the Sierra Club beauty of Redford's Montana, it's hard to get excited by fisherman casting their lines into the water.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Though Maclean's bedrock prose is perfection in print, the film may be another case (like actor Redford's "The Great Gatsby") in which text defies translation. [09 Oct 1992]
  16. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    From Phillippe Rousselot’s exquisite cinematography, with the stunning scenery of Montana as a backdrop, to Redford’s assured direction, this is utterly alluring, and manages to make fly-fishing seem not just romantic, but thrilling.
  17. Loving and well-intentioned though this film is, it never convinces you that its subject matter merits this kind of idealized, worshipful attention. [09 Oct 1992]
  18. 60
    An admirable if frequently soporific 1992 adaptation of Norman Maclean's account of life in Missoula, Montana.
  19. 50
    In relying on narration, Redford's movie is too little show and too much tell.
  20. 50
    A River Runs Through It emerges as hopelessly middle-brow-the kind of diluted, prettified art traditionally associated with PBS and the Academy Awards. [09 Oct 1992]
  21. It works better as a nature and historical study than as a drama, though.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    Robert Redford skillfully guides this quiet and cerebral drama through some of its slower parts, shooting it in a simple, yet majestic manner.
  2. Jan 9, 2011
    This movie is great. Awesome performances by the entire cast, especially Tom Skerrrit. The music is fantastic, and really fills the movieThis movie is great. Awesome performances by the entire cast, especially Tom Skerrrit. The music is fantastic, and really fills the movie with emotion. Beautiful story and script. This is a complete movie that everyone should see. Full Review »