The Morning sun has risen over the small Cuban village. An old man (Spencer Tracy) as he has done all his life is rising to go catch his load of fish. He is listening to his friend a little boy (Felipe Pazos) talk to him about the old days. It seems the old man has been unlucky catching the big marlin of late. As a matter of fact he hasn't been catching much of anything lately.
His fellow fisherman make fun of him because of his bad luck. They think he should retire and leave the fishing to the younger men. The old man doesn't listen to much of anything they say. He knows nothing more than what he has been doing all his life and he will die doing it.
He makes his way out to sea and begins the day letting out the lines. Not much happens for quite some time and then he feels the tug, then another and then he hooks it the biggest marlin he has ever caught. By his measure it is bigger than his skiff. He tries for hours to bring it in. Finally, he has it along side his boat. For all that time all he could do was think of all the days past that he has spent in his boat. He thought of his life and all that has happened along the way.
Once he has the fish up against the boat another problem has occurred. Sharks have tasted the blood in the water and they are hungry. The big fish has taken him far out to sea and now he has to row back to shore.
The old man struggles to paddle and keep the sharks off his fish. Most of all the old man is struggling for his life. He knows he may never get another chance like this and this fish would bring him much money. Watch the rest of the film to see how the old man makes out.
The story was written by Ernest Hemingway when he was living in Cuba. Director John Sturges brings us a tale of true survival. An old man fighting for his life and his reputation. An old man fighting to show a young boy who loves him and to show him that he is the man he once was and will always be. Enjoy.