A River Through It

A River Runs Through It, is modern classic movie about the two sons of a stern minister, growing up in rural Montana while devoted to fly fishing. One son is reserved, while the other one (Brad Pitt) is rebellious. 

The movie is directed by Robert Redford, and it’s based off the semi-autobiographical book (A River Runs Through It) by Norman Maclean.

A River Runs Through It, won an Academy award for best cinematography, and was nominated for best screenplay and best original score by composer Mark Isham.

Thelma & Louise, put Brad Pitt in public consciousness. A River Runs Through It, established him as a future icon. His role as Paul Maclean was the just next in a long line of rebellious, flawed characters.

Off screen, the guy seems like an amalgamation of every character he’s played. Like Paul Newman, Brad Pitt is the all encompassing purveyor of cool.

What interests me, is Pitt’s IMDb page. Nearly every movie is now a classic, and every role is compelling and unconventional. Whether this was strategy, or accidental genius — as creators — we can learn from this. 

Unlike Brad Pitt’s contemporaries, he’s rarely had a misstep. Clearly, he and his agent have had a long view of his career from the start. Have you ever seen Brad Pitt dressed as superhero? With the exception of WWZ, have you ever seen Brad Pitt in a big-budget summer blockbuster?

Rather, every role is a brick in the wall — constructing a captivating body of work. In the past, I’ve had a few head scratchers on Intellimusica when I tried to play what what would be popular — rather than what was in my heart.

However, I’ve learned to play the long game. I just stay in my lane, focus on my artistic desires, and let the chips fall where they may.

For more classic movie themes like this, please check out my Modern Classics category.

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How to play, A River Through It, by Mark Isham

I’m 39 at the moment. If you’re around my age, you remember this movie and this music fondly.

The guitar tab for A River Through It is three pages long and played straight through, without repeats. The chord shapes are not difficult — but the high capo position doesn’t leave you with a lot of room to move.

Additionally, you’ll have to agile. While the chord shapes are relatively simple, switching positions gracefully will be tough — even for intermediate guitar players.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

A River Through It is played in standard tuning with a capo on the 5th fret:

A River Through It, for classical guitar


Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.