"This version of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is a faithful adaptation of the novel. The story focuses on Santiago, an old man who has spent 84 days without catching a fish. Spencer Tracey plays the old man to perfection for the most part, as he sets out on the 85th day to capture his big prize. While it isn't a movie that blows you away with either script or action, it is a film with a purpose.
Perhaps what most viewers or critics of this movie won't get is that it is richly symbolic in nature, and therefore probably won't appeal to viewers who lack attention spans. Most of Santiago's stuggle is within himself, and his age is a symbol for wisdom and perseverance. The boy, his counterpart, continually befriends him in hopes that the one day will arrive when he brings home the big catch.
The movie really is a testament to Man versus Nature, and is able to depict this sucessfully. One of the most essential points of the story is not only Santiago's respect for the sea and its inhabitants, but the essential quality of being successful at something.
If you are expecting a ton of action, or some big crash or storm scenes, then this probably isn't your movie. However, if you want a movie that successfully illustrates what Hemingway wanted for his short novela, then this is it.
3 1/2 stars. "
Fine Hemingway adaptation
David Bonesteel | Fresno, CA United States | 02/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Spencer Tracy gives a powerful performance as Santiago, the desperate old fisherman who must struggle to subdue and then keep the giant marlin that represents his salvation. Director John Sturges and screenwriter Peter Viertel retain much of Ernest Hemingway's symbolism, making of Santiago a Christ-like figure. A more apt Biblical analog might be Job; like him, Santiago endures the indignities and strife thrust upon him, but perseveres and endures while retaining his appreciation of nature and simple pleasures./
There is a lot of voice-over narration in this film. In addition to playing Santiago, Tracy reads excerpts from the novel to deepen and comment upon the action. In most cases, I would be annoyed by such pervasive intrusion, but it makes sense here because Santiago spends so much time alone. In addition, since the narration is drawn directly from the novel, it provides the added pleasure of a wonderful actor performing Hemingway's deceptively simple prose. "
The Old Man...and the Sea
S. Francis | United States of America | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title says it all. The most compelling thing to note in the story of Santiago, (the lead character)is the implication that any of his contemporaries would likely have reacted to his plight in the same way. Not through any special courage, but through a plain lack of choice. A simple fisherman on a hard luck streak, he does the only thing he can do, he keeps fishing. The sea is the only thing he has ever known, and so he turns to it day after day despite recent failure. His protoge' too is no doubt typical; a young boy who loves his mentor and cares for him unconditionally. Any boy who watches will want to help a man, and any man who sees this will want to teach a boy. The movie is touching enough to have "Hollywood" written across it's face...or to have "real life" written accross it's face. Thanks to Hemmingway, and Tracy, it is decidedly the latter."
Spencer Tracy gives a great performance.
S. Francis | 05/18/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In these times where ignorance (high school high is an example) is produced for the public to consume, and special effects are the driving force in many movies, it is very pleasing to watch a movie where the message is positive. The old man & the sea is a story of an aged fisherman living in Cuba who finds himself not only chasing a giant Marlin, but himself. He has reached a point in his life where he has almost lost hope in himself and in life. The ironic point is that although he landed and brought the fish back to shore, it was devoured by a group of sharks. He showed people his luck did not wear out, only that persistence (hard work) pays does pay off. If only he had a bigger boat... If you are interested in another great performance, see "Going My Way" starring Bing Crosby who won an academy award for best actor for the movie."
Powerful. Return to the meaning of story and spirit.
S. Francis | 01/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a timeless tale of a passion unbroken by the rust of time. The boy in the movie has a heart so strong in a town so poor. The Old Man, his will greater than any conflict encountered by his past, others or the elements. Two wills from two different worlds, one water and the other the Old Man. Fishing is personal and spiritual as is the feeling you will derive from watching this movie. Enjoy its spirit on your own and share it with all those who believe in the spirit of the hearted people. Great viewing"