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These inspiring and thought-provoking quotes from A River Runs Through It will have you reflecting on life.
Let us know your favorite one in the comment section below.
The novella,A River Runs Through Itwas published in 1976 and is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story.
Norman Maclean recounts the tale of two brothers with differing views on life.
Their father is a Presbyterian minister, and one brother follows in his religious footsteps while the other is more studious.
The story takes place in the Rocky Mountain region and spans from World War I to the Great Depression.
If you haven’t read the book, you might have seen the film, which premiered in 1992.
It had a noteworthy cast including Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt, Brenda Blethyn, and Emily Lloyd, and was directed by Robert Redford.
These A River Runs Through It quotes include those from the movie and the book.
There are severalquotes about Montana, and the beautiful sunsets, which makes sense as the story is set in and around Missoula, Montana.
Fly-fishing, which is a popular pastime of Montanans, has several significant scenes and contributes to some themes of the book and movie.
The film was moving and sad, but audiences loved it, as evidenced by the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
It was also nominated for Best Music, Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
It also grossed over $66 million dollars and received positive reviews from critics.
Keep reading theseA River Runs Through Itquotes to learn some interesting movie tidbits, like which poem was quoted in the film
If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement.
Check out more inspirational quotes on our motivational quotes category page.
A River Runs Through Itquotes from the movie
1. “And I knew just as surely, just as clearly, that life is not a work of art, and that the moment could not last.”Norman Maclean (Craig Sheffer)
2. “For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us.”Reverend MacLean (Tom Skerritt)
3. “Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted.”Reverend MacLean (Tom Skerritt)
4. “Each one of here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed?”Reverend MacLean (Tom Skerritt)
5. “Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.”Narrator (Robert Redford)
6. “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.”Narrator (Robert Redford)
7. “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.”Narrator (Robert Redford)
8. “Dear Jesse, as the moon lingers a moment over the bitterroots, before its descent into the invisible, my mind is filled with song.”Norman Maclean (Craig Sheffer)
9. “I find I am humming softly; not to the music, but something else; some place else; a place remembered; a field of grass where no one seemed to have been; except a deer; and the memory is strengthened by the feeling of you, dancing in my awkward arms.”Norman Maclean (Craig Sheffer)
10. “Oh, I’ll never leave Montana, brother.”Reverend MacLean (Tom Skerritt)
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A River Runs Through Itquotes about love, life, and helping others
11. “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
12. “After you have finished your true stories sometime, why don’t you make up a story and the people that go with it? Only then will you understand what happened and why.It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
13. “Nearly all those I loved and did not understand … are dead, but I still reach out to them.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
14. “I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
15. “The nearest anyone can come to finding himself at any given age is to find a story that somehow tells him about himself.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
16. “Slowly we became silent, and silence itself is an enemy to friendship.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
17. “She was one of the most beautiful dancers I’ve ever seen. She made her partner feel as if he were about to be left behind, or already had been. It is a strange and wonderful and somewhat embarrassing feeling to hold someone in your arms who is trying to detach you from the earth and you aren’t good enough to follow her.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
18. “Maybe so,” my brother replied. “But maybe what he likes is somebody trying to help him.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
19. “Help,” he said, “is giving part of yourself to somebody who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
20. “So it is,” he said, using an old homiletic transition, “that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don’t know what part to give or maybe we don’t like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
21. “Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of Lonesome Dove quotes about life in the days of the old west.
A River Runs Through Itquotes about fishing and being a fisherman
22. “Poets talk about ‘spots of time’, but it is really fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
23. “Something within fishermen tries to make fishing into a world perfect and apart – I don’t know what it is or where, because sometimes it is in my arms and sometimes in my throat and sometimes nowhere in particular except somewhere deep.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
24. “Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
25. “One great thing about fly-fishing is that after a while nothing exists of the world but thoughts about fly-fishing.”― Norman Maclean,A River Runs Through It
What did you take away from A River Runs Through It?
The film spends a great deal of time on relationships, delving into romantic relationships and the relationship between brothers and fathers and sons.
Leaving childhood and being drug into adulthood is another central theme, so It seems fitting that the poem quoted would beOde: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth.
Final words of thought from the film
The final words ofA River Runs Through Itsum up the idea of family and life perfectly.
The scene features an Elderly Norman Maclean, played by Montanan Arnold Richardson, fishing in the river.
The iconic image is often associated with the film, as are these words he speaks:
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.
The river was cut by the world’s great flood and ran over rocks from the basement of time.
On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.
Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
You might have recognized these words from the quotes above, but there is something powerful about seeing them all together in one place while visualizing the end of the film.
If you haven’t seen A River Runs Through It yet, you can do so on Hulu, Apple Tv, VUDU, and several other streaming services!
Danielle Dahl, Managing Editor
Writer, Entrepreneur and Inspirational quote curator
November 14, 2022 5:00 AM EST
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What is the quote from a river run through it? ›
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.What is the best fishing quote from A River Runs Through It? ›
“We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” “Something within fishermen tries to make fishing into a world perfect and apart—I don't know what it is or where, because sometimes it is in my arms and sometimes in my throat and sometimes nowhere in particular except somewhere deep.What is the quote about Montana from A River Runs Through It? ›
“The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.”What does the last quote in A River Runs Through It mean? ›
He means the merging of all that was good in life and all that was bad…the river represents timelessness (ie eternity)….Who said life is like a river? ›
Author: Paulo Coelho. “A river never passes the same place twice,” says a philosopher. “Life is like a river,” says another philosopher, and we draw the conclusion that this is the metaphor that comes closest to the meaning of life.What message does the river give us? ›
Answer:The message of the River is that life will give us lots of experiences throughout our journey. These good and bad experiences make us who we are. We should try not to destroy people or our environment along this journey.How is fishing a metaphor for life? ›
All anglers know that fishing is a metaphor for life. In fact, fishing may hold the very meaning of life. All this failure teaches you persistence and patience. Just untangling those godawful fishing line knots can translate to dealing more calmly with life's more important, knottier problems.What is river give the answer? ›
A river is a ribbon-like body of water that flows downhill from the force of gravity. A river can be wide and deep, or shallow enough for a person to wade across. A flowing body of water that is smaller than a river is called a stream, creek, or brook.What does the river in A River Runs Through It symbolize? ›
On one level, a river represents the natural world. On another level, the arc of a river flowing through the rocks and canyons of Montana symbolizes the arc of a human life. Both meanings of the river inform the overarching structure of the novella.What did Abraham Lincoln say about Montana? ›
"My favorite state has not yet been invented. It will be called Montana, and it will be perfect." -Abraham Lincoln, 1864. On May 26, 1864, President Lincoln signed an act making Montana a territory of the United States.
What is the slogan for Montana? ›
"Oro y Plata" is Spanish for "Gold and Silver" and hearkens back to when mining ruled Montana, and the state was nicknamed the "Treasure State." It's the state motto.What is Twain's main message with two ways of seeing a river? ›
Overall, in “Two Ways of Seeing a River”, Mark Twain addresses the importance of understanding the extent of the merits of what people have. He questions whether experience and knowledge are more rewarding than the vivid perception of things and the ability to see meaning beyond their surface.Who is the old man at the end of A River Runs Through It? ›
— Arnold Richardson was not the best-known Montanan to appear in a Hollywood movie, but his solitary bit part — as the elderly Norman Maclean in "A River Runs Through It" — remains one of the most iconic cinematic images of the state, partly responsible, for better or worse, for the explosion in the popularity of fly ...Where does the river end answer? ›
The end of a river is called the mouth of the river. It is the place where the river empties into another body of water such as a lake or ocean.How is a river compared to life? ›
Life is like a river, it is always flowing, it can flow slowly or it can flow quickly, it can change courses but nothing can stop the river from flowing. The same happens with life, there are no external circumstances that can stop it from flowing.What is the meaning of river of life? ›
The river of life in Revelation represents God's life-giving presence. God never leaves us; he's always with us. The rest of Psalm 46:4-5 says much the same thing. God, the Most High, makes his dwelling place (his people) holy.Where in the Bible does it talk about the river of life? ›
The Book of Revelation
Revelation 22:1 then states: "And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb". The Revelation reference is interpreted as the Holy Spirit.
Rivers in general embody many different values to different people. For example, rivers symbolize connections, since they touch everyone, and everybody in principle lives downstream. Rivers also symbolize human health, since fresh water from rivers is essential to our communities and ourselves.What is the importance of river in human life? ›
Answer 1: Rivers are important as they carry water and nutrients to areas all around the earth. Further, rivers play quite an important part of the water cycle, as they act as drainage channels for surface water. Most importantly, they provide excellent habitat and food for many of the earth's organisms.How do rivers support life? ›
Rivers provide important benefits—called ecosystem services—that impact our day-to-day lives. They provide drinking water, irrigation, transportation, and more. They also provide habitat for important fish species.
How does fishing relate to life? ›
Another key to success in life is the ability to anticipate and solve problems, and fishing can help teach just that. Fishing can present a variety of challenges that compel children to adapt. Factors like weather, time of day, type of lure, bait choice, etc. can all contribute to why fish are or are not biting.What is the moral of the story of the fisherman and the fish? ›
A small gain is worth more than a large promise.What are the three metaphor of life? ›
Some examples of metaphors for life include: "Life is a song; we each get to write our own lyrics." "Life is a puzzle; you can only see the picture when you put all the pieces together." "Life is a garden; with care and love you can cultivate beautiful flowers."What are 3 good quotes? ›
- The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
- The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
- Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
- If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
“Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”What is river one sentence? ›
We crossed the river by boat. We had to swim the river, which is deep and very rapid. We walked along the river. We were sailing up the river.What are the main types of river answer? ›
The rivers of India can be classified into four groups viz., Himalayan rivers, Deccan rivers, Coastal rivers, and Rivers of the inland drainage basin. The Himalayan Rivers are formed by melting snow and glaciers and therefore, continuously flow throughout the year.What are 5 facts about rivers? ›
- Water flows from rivers to the ocean and sea. ...
- Lots of animals live in rivers. ...
- Rivers can flood if there is a lot of rainfall. ...
- The start of a river is called the source. ...
- The end of a river is called a mouth. ...
- The longest river in the world is the River Nile.
River As Life From Birth To Death
In literature as in life, cities and towns often spring up on riverbanks, seemingly brought to life by the river's movement. The source of the river, typically small mountain streams, depicts the beginnings of life and its meeting with the ocean symbolises the end of life.
Its qualities are fluidity and cohesiveness. Flowing water usually represents change and the passage of time.
What is the significance of the broken hand in A River Runs Through It? ›
Norman says it's possible to love completely without understanding completely. Norman's extra piece of information is significant—a broken right hand would mean Paul would never be able to fish again, even if he had lived, and it also suggests that Paul fought back fiercely against his attacker.Was Montana a slavery state? ›
The history of slavery in Montana is generally seen as short and limited. The issue was contentious for the legislature between the creation of the Nebraska Territory (which Montana was a part of) in 1854 and the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.What is a famous quote about Montana? ›
“I am so happy that I live in a world where there is a Montana.” “A bad day in Montana is better than a good day anywhere else.” “If you're lucky enough to live in Montana, you're lucky enough.” “Montana: A state that gets so deep into your soul, it hurts when you're away from it.”What did Abraham Lincoln say about freedom? ›
"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."--Abraham Lincoln, letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859.What are the mottos for all 50 states? ›
|State||Official Motto||English Translation|
|Alaska||North to the Future|
|Arizona||Ditat Deus||God enriches|
|Arkansas||Regnat populus||The people rule|
|California||Eureka (Greek)||I have found it|
- 44. California. "Eureka" (I have found it) ...
- Arizona. "Ditat Deus" (God Enriches) ...
- Indiana. "The Crossroads of America" ...
- Alaska. "North to the Future" ...
- Utah. "Industry" ...
- Delaware. "Liberty and Independence" ...
- Maryland. "Fatti maschii, parole femine" (Manly deeds womanly words) ...
Montana is officially known as "The Treasure State," a nickname chosen to reflect the state's abundant natural resources, from copper, silver and gold to gemstones such as sapphires and garnets.What is the moral of the story crossing the river? ›
This story demonstrates the sharp contrast between scholarship and innocent faith in God. Only when we have total trust and completely surrender to God, we can apply our knowledge to the fullest. Crossing the river!What is the main purpose of Twain's essay? ›
“Advice to Youth” is Mark Twain's satirical essay written in 1882. The author was asked to address something to young Americans, which he did in his own manner. Written in a shape of a graduation speech, “Advice to Youth” exposes the older generation's hypocrisy by means of satire and irony.What is the summary of the poem the river? ›
The poem 'The River' by C.A. Bowles talks about the journey of a river from its initial stages to its union with the ocean in the end. The poem compares and contrasts this concept to a more serious theme of man's journey from his childhood to death.
What is the final quote from A River Runs Through It? ›
The ending, and especially the last two paragraphs, of Norman Maclean's masterful A River Runs Through It echo the Bible and the true American idiom: “Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.What is the ending quote of A River Runs Through It? ›
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.Does the old man catch the marlin? ›
With all his great experience and strength, he struggles with the fish for three days, admiring its strength, dignity, and faithfulness to its identity; its destiny is as true as Santiago's as a fisherman. He finally reels the marlin in and lashes it to his boat.Does river have an ending? ›
Answer and Explanation: The end of a river, the place where the river empties into another body of water, is known as the mouth of the river.What is formed at the end of a river? ›
Deltas form as rivers empty their water and sediment into another body of water, such as an ocean, lake, or another river.Is the end of a river is called the mouth? ›
The place where a river enters a lake, larger river, or the ocean is called its mouth.What quote did Mark Twain say? ›
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't." "The funniest things are forbidden." "There are no people who are quite so vulgar as the over-refined." "When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain."Did Ruby Bridges say a quote? ›
"Don't follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!"Whats the saying when the river runs red? ›
Yearbook controversy over this quote: "When the red river is a'flowin, take the dirt road home"What is the symbolism of the river in A River Runs Through It? ›
On one level, a river represents the natural world. On another level, the arc of a river flowing through the rocks and canyons of Montana symbolizes the arc of a human life. Both meanings of the river inform the overarching structure of the novella.
What is the most famous line? ›
A jury consisting of 1,500 film artists, critics, and historians selected "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", spoken by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in the 1939 American Civil War epic Gone with the Wind, as the most memorable American movie quotation of all time.What's the famous line from it? ›
Stanley Uris: When you're a kid, you think that you'll always be... protected, and cared for. Then, one day, you realize that's not true.What was Ruby Bridges life lesson? ›
Learning that you can never judge anyone from the outside was the first lesson of that tumultuous year. A second was that we must all “become brothers and sisters.” “We must absolutely take care of one another. It does take a village, but we have to be a village first.What is the bridge quote? ›
“When you cross a bridge, never forget this: You crossed because the bridge allowed it!” “No one has gone from ignorance to wisdom quickly; you can't make a short crossing over a long bridge!” “Crossing a bridge is never as far as you think.” “Crossing over a bridge never takes as long as one might think.”What is the main idea of the story of Ruby Bridges? ›
Ruby exhibits courage and determination in the face of adversity. The main character, Ruby Bridges, demonstrates several different character traits and feelings as she is selected to attend an all-white school. The author demonstrates the determination and courage exhibited by this seven year old girl.Why they call it the it the Red River? ›
French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye arrived to the Red River Valley area in 1732. He coined the term “Red River” due to its reddish-brown silt. It was the primary source of transportation between Lake Winnipeg and the Mississippi River system.What makes a river run red? ›
The bright red/orange color is usually caused by iron hydroxide, Fe(OH)3 , precipitating out of the water. The precipitate forms as the waste drainage becomes neutralized in the water.What is the meaning of Red River? ›
Definitions of Red River. a tributary of the Mississippi River that flows eastward from Texas along the southern boundary of Oklahoma and through Louisiana. synonyms: Red. example of: river. a large natural stream of water (larger than a creek)Why is river used as metaphor for life? ›
Life is like a river, it is always flowing, it can flow slowly or it can flow quickly, it can change courses but nothing can stop the river from flowing. The same happens with life, there are no external circumstances that can stop it from flowing. One thing is sure: Life always goes on.What does running water symbolize? ›
Its qualities are fluidity and cohesiveness. Flowing water usually represents change and the passage of time.