Big Fish

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German title Big Fish
Original title Big Fish
Big Fish.png
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2003
length 120 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Tim Burton
script John August
production Bruce Cohen
Dan Jinks
Richard D. Zanuck
music Danny Elfman
camera Philippe Rousselot
cut Chris Lebenzon

Big Fish (alternative title: Big Fish - The magic that makes a life a legend ) is a family tragic comedy by US director Tim Burton from 2003 based on the novel by Daniel Wallace . For the most part, it tells the life of Edward Bloom in seemingly fantastic flashbacks, but the core theme of the film is the conflict between the storyteller Edward and his rather sober son William. The film opened in German cinemas on April 8, 2004.


Even as the grandiose storyteller Edward Bloom is dying, he tells his beloved, sometimes unbelievable life story.

According to his stories, he grew too fast and was therefore bedridden for three years, foreseeing his own death in the eye of a witch and later became the pride and joy of Ashton, the small town where he grew up. When a giant named Karl visits the city and eats sheep and cornfields, Edward agrees to speak to him - and he can convince him to leave the city with him.

They part ways for a short time. Edward finds himself on a wild path in the place Specter, in which all residents live in harmony and like in paradise. There he meets the little girl Jenny. The residents would have liked to keep him there (like the poet Norther Winslow, who had previously disappeared from Ashton), but he wants to continue. After his departure from Specter, he and the giant end up at a circus , where he finds his destiny and Edward the love of his life (Sandra), which he loses again from sight. Since ringmaster Amos knows Sandra, Edward works for the circus for three years, learning more about her month after month. However, he does not find out her name or address. When he finally wants to confront the ringmaster one evening, he has turned into a werewolf . Edward can assert himself against him and the next morning Amos, who has been transformed back, tells him everything about Sandra.

Coosa River near Wetumpka , filming locations

Edward leaves immediately and finds her. She is already engaged to a boy a few years older who also comes from Ashton. However, Edward persists and plants a large field of yellow daffodils, her favorite flowers. When her fiancé shows up, Edward beats up to make it clear to him that Sandra is already taken. Sandra, who can hardly hold back her fiancé, gives him the engagement ring back. She actually marries the persistent Edward, but he has to go to the Korean War immediately after the wedding.

There he volunteers for all dangerous missions in order to get home faster. During a mission he is supposed to steal plans from an enemy camp. He escapes with the help of two singers, the Siamese twins Ping and Jing, whom he takes with him to the USA to enable them to have a great career.

After the war, he, who had meanwhile been believed dead, returned home and worked as a sales representative . During this activity he met the poet Norther Winslow, who like Edward had also left Specter, again. He is robbing a bank and Edward is about to help him with it. The loot is small because the vault is empty, but they manage to escape. Winslow now wants to go to Wall Street to make big money. He later sends Edward a check for $ 10,000 for his "career counselor" services and uses it to buy Edward his dream home.

One day by chance he comes back to Specter, which is down and up for auction. He decides to use the financial means of his friends, whom he helped to buy the city in his previous life, to keep it and to let the people live there. He also meets Jenny again, who is now a grown woman and still in love with him, and he is also renovating her house.

Edward's only son, William, is very critical of his father's constant narration. As a child he enjoyed hearing the stories, but over time he tried in vain to find the truth in his father's stories. Since he couldn't find out anything from his father, he goes to Jenny and she tells him what happened then. Edward really saved the city from bankruptcy and he rebuilt it with the help of his friends at Calloway Circus. Will assumes that Jenny was having an affair with his father, but she explains that his father was faithful to his mother. In the meantime, his father was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. There William meets the family doctor who tells him that his birth was rather unspectacular and that his father was not there. On his deathbed, Will is supposed to tell the “last chapter” himself, because his father is no longer able to do it. He describes to his father their fantastic and courageous escape from the hospital to the nearby lake. All the characters from Edward's past are already waiting for him there. Will dips Edward into the river, where he transforms into the eponymous catfish and swims away. A satisfied Edward dies knowing that Will will finally understand his love for storytelling.

At Edward's real funeral, some people from his stories actually appear: the not-so-tall giant Karl, the ringmaster, the twins, as well as Norther Winslow. There was a grain of truth in the exaggerated and embellished stories.

Achievements and Awards

The film was nominated for the Golden Globe in the categories of “Best Supporting Actor” (Albert Finney), “Best Film (Musical or Comedy)”, “Best Music” and “Best Song” . Danny Elfman's music was also nominated for an Oscar . The film played approx. $ 122 million with a production cost of approximately $ 70 million.


Axel Malzacher was responsible for the dialogue book and dialogue direction on behalf of PPA Film GmbH Pierre Peters-Arnolds Munich.

role actor German speaker
Edward Bloom Ewan McGregor (young)
Albert Finney (old)
Philipp Moog (young)
Jochen Striebeck (old)
Sandra Bloom Alison Lohman (young)
Jessica Lange (old)
Barbi Schiller (young)
Dagmar Heller (old)
William Bloom Billy Crudup Manou Lubowski
Josephine Marion Cotillard Catherine Collin
Amos Calloway Danny DeVito Klaus Sunshine
Charles the Giant Matthew McGrory Christoph Jablonka
Norther Winslow Steve Buscemi Tobias Lelle
Jenny / witch Helena Bonham Carter Melanie Pukass
Dr. Bennett Robert Guillaume Fred Maire
Beam Loudon Wainwright Ulrich Frank
Ruthie (8 years) Miley Cyrus Malika Bayerwaltes
Don Price David Denman Christian Weygand
mayor Charles McLawhorn Klaus Höhne
Econ professor Daniel Wallace Fabian von Klitzing
Jenny (8 years) Hailey Anne Nelson Geraldine Haacke-Guillaume
Mildred Missi Pyle Veronika Neugebauer


"The lavishly told, highly entertaining rogue story condenses under the grandiose picture direction into a homage to storytelling and cinema, where myths, Münchhausiads and reality combine to form a coherent unit."

- Lexicon of International Films

“It is Tim Burton's most mature, cohesive film to date, and its boundless optimism will amaze the Goth faction of Burton fans. [...] Visually located between the expressive image compositions of Terry Gilliam and the surreal ambiguity of David Lynch , Burton delivers an intoxicatingly sensual fantasy dance about the child within a man, the love between father and son and the art of storytelling. "

"In spite of a not completely successful framework plot, on which the pattern of reason-dreaming is dealt with, and some tension slips in the fairy tale thread, 'Big Fish' is now and then kitsch, but overall touching fantasy."


“An opulently furnished, hopelessly romantic fantasy fairy tale that works like a pill of optimism. Moving picture book worlds for adults. "


In Specter, a banjo player appears in two short shots, who greets newcomers with the piece “Dueling Banjos”. The actor is Billy Redden , who has not been in front of the camera since his appearance in a cult scene in the film When Everyone dies in 1972. Burton had looked specifically for Redden and found him in Clayton, Georgia, where he also worked as a cook and dishwasher as a café partner.

At the beginning of the film, the young Edward Bloom and his friends visit a witch, played by Helena Bonham Carter , who, according to one of the friends, makes soap out of people. Bonham Carter played the mistress of Tyler Durden in Fight Club , who steals fat from a liposuction clinic at night to make soap.

Tim Burton tells in an interview that his own father died shortly before filming began. He couldn't have made the film before because he wasn't particularly close to his father, but his death was still a shock to him. Playing with fantasy and reality, what is true and what is not, fascinated him and he is most likely to recognize himself in the role of Edward Bloom. The producer Zanuck also had a difficult relationship with his father, Darryl F. Zanuck , who once fired him as production manager at 20th Century Fox .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Age rating for Big Fish . Youth Media Commission .
  2. German synchronous index: German synchronous index | Actor | Deep Roy. Retrieved April 2, 2018 .
  3. Big Fish. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  4. TV feature film
  5. ^ ( Memento from March 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  6. br-online ( Memento from October 31, 2007 in the Internet Archive )