"River Runs Though It" and "Legends of The Fall"-Same Plots?

I saw “Legends of the Fall” a few days back-and watching it triggered memories of the other movie…the plots seemed to have a lot in common (Montana, rebellious sons, son marrying native American woman, corrupt local officials, tragedy, philosophical ruminations about unfairness of life, etc.). Its almost as if the two movies were written along the same themes. What do you think-is one just a minor rewrite of the other?

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen either since very shortly after they came out.

There’s definitely some superficial similarities, which is understandable considering that the settings are pretty similar, they were both made at the same time and were both based on novellas written at around the same time. Plus Brad Pitt.

However, IIRC, Legends of the Fall was much more like a contemporary western or anti-western, playing with some of the man versus nature and taming the continent type themes you see in traditional westerns. The setting is integral to all that and, as a piece of fiction, is an intentional decision.

A River Runs Through It takes place in western Montana because, well, that’s where it takes place. The novella it’s based on is semi-autobiographical and that just so happens to be where the author grew up. We’ve got some good fishing out here, but realistically the story could have been transplanted to anywhere with a smallish city and a decent trout stream.

Well said.

I’ve never seen Legends Of The Fall, so I can’t speak to its themes or motifs. But as GreasyJack points out, the setting, the time, and even the fishing are incidental to A River Runs Through It. The novella and the film are meditations on brotherhood, and fatherhood, on family and grace and beauty. The underlying question Maclean asks is, can we truly know the people we love? Can we ever truely help them?

The love triangle in Legends of the Fall is a major plot point that isn’t there in River. Legends is a more traditional “Hollywood” type of movie because of this, along with its war scenes, sweeping soundtrack, etc. I enjoyed it but it seemed like more of a vehicle for Brad Pitt’s hair than anything else. River is a quieter, more thoughtful film.

They seem like one movie to me. I can’t remember what happens in which one. But, like others have mentioned, they came out at the same time and I saw them when they came out, plus Brad Pitt. I think one has Anthony Hopkins in it, but I can’t remember which.

Yeah…Brad Pitt had an outsized role in both flicks. He always winds up marrying the native american…and he always winds up in fights. The scene that really grossed me out (LOTF) was when Pitt’s brother is killed in France (WWI)-Pitt cuts his heart out and mails it back to Montana! Gaack!