Cliff Robertson in Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story (1986)

Fisher of Dreams

I would imagine in the world of treasure hunting the name Mel Fisher is still well known as whilst he passed away in 1998 it was his belief and passion which lead to him discovering "The Atocha Motherlode" millions of dollars of treasure sunk over 300 years earlier aboard the Spanish ship Atocha. But for those who are not up on their treasure hunting I would imagine the name will mean nothing or at least now more than 25 years after his self belief lead to the major find. Yet "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" is still a thoroughly entertaining movie, not a great movie or the most realistic of movies but an entertaining drama about a man and the courage to go for the dream.

Story wise "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" is basically a snapshot of what Mel Fisher and his family as well as friends went through over the years searching for the Atocha. On a family level we see how for his teenage children it was hard to stay enthusiastic when money was tight and the search was like finding a needle in a haystack. We also see the constant battles which Mel faced from officials who not only tried to prevent his treasure hunt but also take from him what ever he found.

William Zabka in Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story (1986)

But the real focus of "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" is on Mel Fisher the man and his spirit. It is that spirit of belief, believing that one day he will achieve what he set out to which is infectious, getting us on his side when he faced so much trouble from officials. In many ways "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" is an inspiring movie for all those people who have a dream and go out looking for it in the face of all the knock backs and those who say it is impossible.

And it is a good job to because as a movie "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" does struggle for a narrative arc. Yes over the course of the movie we watch as they win certain battles, discover specific treasures and face some tough drama including a boat accident and a death but there is no character progression.

Now there are a few familiar faces in "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" including Loretta Swit, Scott Paulin and William Zabka but it is Cliff Robertson as Mel Fisher who makes the movie. Robertson's portrayal makes Mel part eccentric, part salesman and part inspiration as we watch him deal with what ever gets in his way. Watching him trying to drum up investment and using a patter a used cars salesman would be proud off is so much fun but then watching his spirited defence of what is he doing when the courts try to shut him down is moving.

What this all boils down to is that "Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story" is an entertaining glimpse at the life of treasure hunter Mel Fisher, at the man himself and the battles he went through in search of his dream.