Best Fairy Tale Movies: Big Fish

From recent theatrical releases such as Into the Woods to required reading lists for students, fairy tales are prominent contributors to popular culture and academia. Some parents may contemplate the lessons taught by fairy tales, while others fear the films may be too scary for their youngsters. We are sharing the Best Fairy Tale Movies series with the intention of addressing both of these considerations as well as broadening the fairy tale genre to include animated classics, live action adventures, and modern interpretations. So, delve into these on-screen stories to experience lessons in love, loss, and life and, perhaps, to find your new favorite film.

Big Fish

Big Fish is the story of Edward Bloom, told through a series of myths and tall tales. Bloom enchants everyone with his outlandish stories; everyone, that is, except his son, Will, who has grown hardened to his father’s exaggerations. Will admits that, “It’s impossible to separate the fact from the fiction, the man from the myth, the best I can do is to tell it the way he told me.” We soon learn that when Edward was a kid, he came face to face with a witch whose magical eye had the power to reveal to onlookers how they would die. Edward chose to stare at the witch’s mystical orb and was comforted by what he learned, knowing that everything he faced up until what the witch revealed, would not kill him.

Movie Details:

Released: January 9th, 2004

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, Steve Buscemi, Missi Pyle, and many more

Rating: PG-13

Run time: 125 minutes

[embedvideo id=”M3YVTgTl-F0″ website=”youtube”]

Is Big Fish educational?

While Big Fish teaches more life lessons than classroom lessons, the film also serves to incite interest in reading the book of the same name. Big Fish was written in 1998 by Daniel Wallace, who has written a total of five novels. In a world where relationship role models seem hard to come by, Wallace allows viewers to witness the evolution of the loving relationship between Edward Bloom and Sandra Templeton.


  • Edward reminds viewers that, “the more difficult something became, the more rewarding it was in the end.” Things that are worth accomplishing/acquiring, often take hard work.
  • “Kept in a small bowl, they will remain small. With more space, the fish can double, triple or quadruple their size.” This literal and metaphorical lesson reminds us to break out of our comfort zones and contrive goals that challenge ourselves. Do not limit yourself to what is familiar.
  • We’ve heard the cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover” countless times. Watching a man befriend a harmless giant, is, however, a welcomed reminder. We’re re-presented with this message after Edward learns a secret about his friend, the circus ringmaster. Edward shares that, “It was that night I discovered that most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely, and lacking in social niceties.” People tend to be the way they are for a reason. Big Fish teaches kids of all ages to get to know people and learn their stories rather than judge people.

Will my family like Big Fish?

While Big Fish is rated PG-13, it can still be a great family movie. Adults and kids can appreciate Tim Burton’s signature visual influence as well as the fun characters that are reproduced on screen. If your children are mature enough to handle some mild profanity and the emotions that accompany death, this film is sure to entertain and enchant on movie night.

For more movie reviews and suggestions, check out our other articles related to movies and share your suggestions in the comments section below if there are any movies or topics you would like to see us write about.

Related Articles

Join our community

Sign up to participate in America’s premier community focused on helping students
reach their full potential.