Good movies become even better when our favorite pastime of fishing is involved or is one of the main themes. But today you’re in for a wild ride in these top fishing shows and movies we’ve hunted down for you.
There are fishing and angling movies that terrified us, inspired us, and made us crack up laughing out loud through all the wonderful fishing shenanigans. Through time, they’ve become classics or at least classics to our own lists of great fishing movies.
In this list, we present a collection of movies and even some series on Netflix about the good old raging sea and the iconic fishermen and friends who made them colourful and intense.
In the Heart of the Sea
This is an adaptation of the nonfiction book In the Heart of the Sea, written by Nathaniel Philbrick about the sinking of the renowned ship Essex in 1820, which then inspired Herman Melville’s book, Moby Dick. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Chris Hemsworth, as courageous whaler Owen Chase, who comes face to face with a gigantic whale along with hard misadventures in the sea.
This film features a more extreme version of fishing using giant harpoons to hunt down sperm whales for their whale oil, which back then was a lucrative substance used for lighting oil lamps and soap. The whole crew, led by Captain George Pollard Jr. (Benjamin Walker) experiences tremendous troubles out in the sea and a final head-to-head ultimate deathmatch of man versus whale.
The Old Man and the Sea
There’s a unique visual approach for this 1999 book adaptation from the mighty writer Ernest Hemingway, who knew a thing or two about actual fishing, with some of his classic photos beside his glorious big tuna and marlin catches back in the day.
The film used glass-painted animation with an incredible dreamy quality to it, a visual trip that gives a great new look at the Hemingway classic. Directed by Russian director Aleksandr Petrov, this short animation feature stands at only 21+ minutes, but the great work and dedication behind it are superb, making it an Academy Award winner in the Best Short Animated Film category back in 2000.
Who could ever forget the 1975 cult classic movie Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg, which was also based on the classic 1974 novel written by Peter Benchley? After terrorizing the summer beach of Amity Island and claiming the lives of a girl and a boy in horrific ways, the giant shark finally meets the power trio of Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), Quint (Robert Shaw), and Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and the grand showdown ensues.
The unstoppable force, the terror of the sea, meets the immovable object, these determined men who will not give up until the terror is finally neutralised. Many kids and young adults who originally saw this in the theaters still talk about the gleeful terror that ensued and that still haunts them to this very day.
Add this extreme fishing series on Netflix onto your queue right away. If you want a great reality-based fishing show, you’ve got it here in this series that follows four fishing boats on their quest to catch the prized albacore tuna in the Oregon Pacific Northwest waters. It’s a combination of real-life and real struggles to haul big prized catches and stay in the game.
This eight-part series has a range of emotions involved and some gnarly angling action that’s highly recommended for those who’ve always dreamed of going for some deep commercial fishing and catching the big ones out there.
If Netflix’s Battlefish was a little less action-packed for you, get ready to take it to the extremes in this now-classic Discovery Channel series that finds you deep in the turbulent Alaskan coast to catch the highly prized Alaskan king crab and snow crab, while risking your life in the icy regions.
Winner of twenty-eight Emmy awards, Deadliest Catch follows the crew of extreme deep-sea crab catchers in some of the most punishing fishing situations in remote icy waters. To date eight members have died, with Captain Phil Harris being the only one who died from a stroke he experienced while working and unloading crab, with the rest of the departed off-camera, adding immense tragedy over the years for this award-winning show.
Now on its 17th season on Discovery and Discovery+, you simply have no excuse if you still haven’t checked it out.
Cultivating the Seas:
History and Future of the Full-Cycle Cultured Kindai Tuna
This Netflix exclusive is another recommended watch, a documentary from Japan about culturing bluefin Kindai tuna. We get a nice quality education about Japan’s scientific and practical approach on raising the prized bluefin tuna for maximised size and quality using well-researched and developed methods.
The result is a fine product that finds its way onto Japanese sushi restaurants, and businesses that create other tuna products, from tuna eyeball gummy snacks to tuna collagen in cosmetics. Take a look at this interesting documentary that might not be directly about fishing and angling, but using fish farming as an alternative approach.
While not technically a fishing movie per se, the central role of shrimp fishing in this now-classic movie made the main character Forrest (Tom Hanks) into the big shot businessman and owner of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Later, he is joined by the equally awesome Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), his former officer in the Vietnam war, and together they are a formidable tag team duo who venture out into the sea with nothing but an old boat and balls the size of grapefruits. While they initially run into bad luck and even bad catches, they start getting bigger and bigger catches until they become successful with huge bounties of shrimp, ending up millionaires in the process.
The Perfect Storm
The incredible vortex chaos of the rampaging sea and storm is perfectly depicted in this film from 21 years ago. George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg lead the all-star cast along with Diane Lane, John Hawkes, William Fichtner, Michael Ironside, John C. Reilly, Karen Allen, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
The Perfect Storm was a box office smash back then and tells the story about a commercial fishing vessel named Andrea Gail and its dealy encounters in the extremely rough Flemish cap region. Do you dare not cross unchartered territories for the best catch or go to the unknown deadly beyond? Get ready for the literal deadliest catch of your life.
This whacked-out fishing comedy stars Joe Pesci and Danny Glover in what probably is the best or the worst fishing buddy duo movie. You may remember both of them for the action and funny shenanigans in the Lethal Weapon series. This time, the dynamic fishing duo goes through some hilarious mishaps and bad luck one after the other in a four-day bender slash fishing vacation totally gone wrong. Don’t even believe the bad reviews, it’s a fun whirlwind ride with *SPOILER ALERT* a guest appearance by none other than Willie Nelson. Gone fishin’ and gone crazy? You bet it is.