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A River Runs Through It
Album Cover Art
1992 Milan
2005 Milan
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Ken Kugler

Co-Orchestrated by:
Kim Scharnberg
Dell Hake

Co-Produced by:
Stephan R. Goldman
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Milan Records

Milan Records
(March 1st, 2005)
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Both the 1992 and 2005 albums are regular U.S. releases, the latter remastered and adding one interview track.
Nominated for an Academy Award and a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you, like many, became infatuated with this respectfully beautiful and restrained period score in the context of the movie's memorable visuals.

Avoid it... if vibrant and dynamic Western melodrama is your desire, for Mark Isham's music intentionally maintains static thematic structures and extremely conservative ambience during its entire length.
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WRITTEN 2/7/12
A River Runs Through It: (Mark Isham) The topic of Robert Redford's 1992 adaptation of Norman Maclean's famous semi-autobiographical novel "A River Runs Through It" is the subject of bittersweet debate amongst current residents of Missoula, Montana. While Maclean's recollections of growing up in the town and its local rivers are beloved almost universally, Redford chose to shoot the vast majority of A River Runs Through It in other Montana cities, an unnecessary show of disrespect for Missoula, a city that still features much of its architectural tradition and neighbors pristine rivers that look the same today as they did in the 1920's. The fly fishing culture depicted by Maclean still exists; it's not uncommon to see people wading and fishing in the Missoula area's rivers while passing by during a daily commute, and many outdoorsmen continue to receive the emotional benefits from the peaceful activity that Maclean's story accurately conveys. Through this spiritual bonding experience, the author tells a rather simple story of his family's growth from the 1910's to the 1930's. In the years since his death (which was followed just a few years later by Redford's film), local journalists have debunked many of the facts in the personal narrative of the story, but that diminishment doesn't affect the personal appeal that Redford managed to convey in A River Runs Through It. With an Academy Award win for its cinematography, the critically acclaimed and well-respected film has long been admired for its stunning visual beauty and the warmth of its original score, though the latter was by no means a smooth aspect of the production. Redford had hired the legendary Elmer Bernstein to write the music for A River Runs Through It, and after the composer had completed a fair amount of his work, he and Redford disagreed about the tone of the score. Short passages of Bernstein's score were recorded in subsequent years, and the highlight of that music exists in a rousingly dramatic Western-related idea that merges the composer's past mannerisms in the genre with a dose of the immense gravity that defined John Barry and James Horner's approach to the same landscapes. Redford clearly sought a more introspective sound, and after Bernstein was dismissed late in production, the director turned to Mark Isham and supplied him with several source pieces applied as temp tracks to promote a softer tone for A River Runs Through It. Isham, who was not yet an established name in the industry at the time, rushed to completed the work in four weeks and was rewarded with his only Oscar recognition through the first two decades of his career.

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Average: 3.42 Stars
***** 42 5 Stars
**** 18 4 Stars
*** 16 3 Stars
** 13 2 Stars
* 21 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1992 Milan Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 58:11
• 1. A River Runs Through It (2:22)
• 2. Casting Presbyterian Style (1:29)
• 3. A Land Filled With Wonder (1:12)
• 4. Down the Alley (With You) (2:20)
• 5. A Summer of Lumber and Fishing (1:44)
• 6. Shooting the Chutes (1:52)
• 7. Three Fishermen (1:55)
• 8. A Trip to the Unknown (2:28)
• 9. A Four-Count Rhythm (2:27)
• 10. The Sheik of Araby - written by Harry B. Smith, Ted Snyder, and Francis Wheeler (1:56)
• 11. Bye Bye Blackbird - performed by Prudence Johnson (1:57)
• 12. Je Ne Sais Quois (0:56)
• 13. Swing Me High, Swing Me Low (2:29)
• 14. A Place Remembered (0:54)
• 15. A Remark Was Passed (2:23)
• 16. Rugged Cross (traditional) (2:50)
• 17. Muskrat Ramble - written by Ray Gilbert and Edward 'Kid' Ory (1:58)
• 18. Rawhide (0:58)
• 19. The Wild Ride (2:27)
• 20. Early Departure (0:50)
• 21. The Splendor in the Grass (1:10)
• 22. Jessie and Norman (2:59)
• 23. Lolo's (1:15)
• 24. The High Road (1:01)
• 25. Yes, Quite a Day (1:05)
• 26. A Fine Fisherman and the Big Blackfoot River (1:41)
• 27. The Moment That Could Not Last (1:23)
• 28. Too Deep For Tears (0:46)
• 29. Without Complete Understanding (1:21)
• 30. In The Half-Light of the Canyon (2:46)
• 31. Haunted By Waters - A River Runs Through It (Reprise) (4:18)
2005 Milan Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 66:07

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The inserts of neither album include extra information about the score or film. Some copies of the film on DVD list Elmer Bernstein as the composer in the opening credits.
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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from A River Runs Through It are Copyright © 1992, 2005, Milan Records (Original), Milan Records (Re-Issue) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/7/12 (and not updated significantly since).
Just for the record, the owner of Filmtracks is terrible at fly fishing; the fish love him because the only things he catches are trees and the back of his shirt.
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