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The Natural
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  • The Top Baseball Ending of All Times
    You do not have to be a fan to enjoy this special baseball fantasy, but it helps. I noticed the movie packaged with another fantasy - "Field of Dreams."
    This is the kind of baseball we lifetime fans remember, or think we do. Before the overpaid, sullen stars like Bonds, etc.
    Back around the 1930s, back before cable television and the Internet.
    When you could smell the grass, and feel the well-oiled leather gloves, as well as special sturdy bats (no cork.)
    Robert Redford is perfect as the aging, mystery slugger, who struggles against the establishment, and all its temptations, to get to the big climax of a game with everything on the line.
    A night games just dripping with drama, the bottom of the ninth, the kind of situation we used to imagine when we were young, daydreaming and clutching our Mickey Mantle and other baseball cards.
    We'd close our eyes and say "Oh, if I only could come to bat in a situation like that, the game, the season on the line."
    Forget about some of the holes in the screenplay --who cares?
    The entire movie works, and leads up to the ending. The ending --I've seen it over a dozen times and thoroughly enjoy it each time. I feel like Bobby, the bat boy (who should have won a supporting Academy Award) right there close to Redford's Roy Hobbs, as all the forces in the Universe converge on that old ballfield for the big Ba---Room!
    Get the movie, pop a lot of popcorn and wear a baseball cap. Enjoy! I know you will....more info
  • "A home run of a film..."
    The story of a one-time baseball prodigy getting a second chance to participate in the sport he loves couldn't have been better presented for the screen than in "The Natural." I have heard griping from fans of the novel on which the movie is based, but I never read it, so I have nothing to complain about.
    Mostly set in the 1930's, this film portrays baseball when it was truly America's favorite pass-time (although some will say it still is). Sterroids and cork-enhanced bats are nowhere to be found in this movie, and the absence of these things gives baseball a sense of purity that is harder to find today. "The Natural" is a home run of a film that can be enjoyed even by those who don't like baseball.
    At the beginning of the film, baseball "natural" Roy Hobbs is on his way to a tryout for a major-league team. He leaves behind his childhood sweetheart, whom he promises to marry in the future. On the way, he shows flashes of talent when he strikes out baseball legend "The Whammer" at a local fair. Sportswriter Max Mercy witnesses this event, and he is all set to aid Hobbs on the road to fame. Unfortunately, a seemingly-unstable woman shoots Hobbs in his hotel before he even gets to try out. Supposedly gone are Hobbs's dreams of being "the best there ever was..."
    Sixteen years later, with the help of a special bat nicknamed "Wonderboy", Roy Hobbs finally gets his chance to make a name for himself in the majors.
    Robert Redford leads an all-star cast as Roy Hobbs. The movie is mainly about Redford's character, so he is given the juiciest scenes, which is good, because Redford is perfect in the role. Robert Duvall is equally perfect as Max Mercy, the sportswriter who constantly runs into Hobbs. Kim Basinger, Glenn Close, and Richard Farnsworth are only a few of the actors/actresses featured in this movie. The photography is terrific, and Randy Newman provides a wonderful musical score.
    My favorite scenes in the movie include:
    -The first glimpse of Roy Hobbs, as a kid, catching a fly ball in a field by his farm.
    -Hobbs's first major league hit, a triple, where he knocks the cover off the ball with "Wonderboy".
    -Hobbs's home-run against the Chicago Cubs, where the ball shatters the clock next to the scoreboard.
    -Hobbs's last game (I told you Redford had all the best scenes), where he hits a home-run (without "Wonderboy"!) and the ball hits the lights and they explode like a giant fireworks display.

    Special features on the DVD include a unique, exclusive documentary featuring words from Cal Ripken Jr. and director Barry Levinson. The theatrical trailer is also available. The movie itself presents great picture and sound.
    "The Natural", all in all, is a sports movie that should not be missed.


    ...more info
  • A touch of nostalgia; a rush of emotion!
    Without recounting the touching story presented in this fine sports film, which is really not necessary considering the eloquent reviews that have already done that, I will offer that this is simply a superb film, in virtually every respect. It represents a considerable touch of nostalgia, especially for those of us who recall such times as those presented here. But it is also a rush of emotion, from a number of perspectives, for viewers of any age. For example, have any of you ever been reunited with your first love, after many years? It is a prominent theme in the story, and it will play a tune on your heartstrings. True, there appears to be a more or less supernatural presence in the story, but in no way does it detract from the quality of the story or the film itself.

    As others have said, the cast itself is unbeatable, when you consider the thespian excellence represented in Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Wilford Brimley, Kim Basinger, and the inevitable class and elegance of Richard Farnsworth. When bridging the sixteen years duration of the story, the filmmakers did a masterful job of gracefully "aging" the cast.

    The Director's cut includes some small clips that do not appear in the usual commercial release, but in many ways, I do not understand why they were not included as a matter of policy. In fact, these vignettes lent clarity and completeness to some later scenes.

    This is clearly one of my most prized sports films, and in terms of evoking genuine emotions among viewers, it is one of the very best from any film venue. ...more info
  • Fantastic
    The Director's Cut is awesome. I bought this for my husband and he raved about how good it was. It was well worth the money
    ...more info
  • One of the best baseball movies of all time
    Who hasn't heard of "The Natural" by now. One of the best Baseball movies of all time. Engrossing, mystical, emotional, and one of the best performances from Redford....period.

    Its a simple tale. A up and comming baseball player of amazing talents played by Redford goes to tryout and become THE greatest baseball player. But on the way, something tragic happens and his dream ends. Jump years into the future as Roy Hobbs is a older man now, who decides to give a 2nd shot as his dream to play in the Major league. He joins up with a struggling baseball team, and the spark that he used to have asserts itself, turning him into a household name. Sadly he is too old to become the greatest of all time but he has the time to become the greatest now....more info
  • one of my favorite movies
    This is one of my favorite sports movies. It is about life and dreams and how one does not have to stop the other at any age.
    I am glad I bought it.
    Just a side note, I am always amazed at how many movies Robert Duvall has been in. I forgot his role in this one.
    ...more info
  • My favorite sports movie
    I'm really torn with the Director's Cut. On one hand, I was glad to get the never-before-seen scenes. On the other, I thought this film was fine the way it was. The Director's Cut came off as being much "darker" than the original.

    I guess my one big complaint about the Director's Cut is that even though they added a lot more scenes, they also took a few away. I didn't mind the flashbacks, but they took away some of the dialogue between the Whammer and Hobbs on the train. There were a couple other fairly inconsequential scenes that are no longer in the film.

    The original was easier to follow, and I wonder how easy it would be to follow the Director's Cut without having seen the original. Since Robert Redford played Hobbs when he first set out to start his career, it might be a little confusing for those who see those early scenes, while at the same time seeing a "grown up" Hobbs as he reflects on his life. The only thing that might help clear it up is when Hobbs mentions that he was out of the game for 16 years.

    Also, I gave the original film the benefit of the doubt with regards to the games that were played at Wrigley Field. When Hobbs hits the home run that breaks the clock, it appears as though it was a game ending home run, due to the editing, but if you look closely, none of the players walk off the field as though the game is over (the Cubs would have last at bats.) However, when he hits four home runs the next day, you can clearly hear the announcer's voiceovers describe the home runs as being hit in the bottom of each inning. Oops.

    I don't want to spoil anything, but there was one interesting new scene between Bump and Roy. Given that Bump was just told that he has one more chance to shape up, his actions towards Roy aren't surprising at all.

    Despite his MAJOR flaws with regards to the shady women in his life, Roy Hobbs is still a hero. I would still highly recommend either one of these films, but would probably favor the original. I could have enjoyed a Director's Cut even if they just put the new scenes into their special features disc instead of ingrained into the actual movie.

    Whammer, "Scared?"
    Hobbs, "Not of you, I'm not."...more info
  • One of the Greatest
    I'm an avid baseball fan. I also like movies that aren't crude comedies. This one is one of the best movies I've ever seen.

    The hero, Roy Hobbs, is an over-hyped prospect. We all know what happens to those in baseball. However, he pulls an Adam Hyzdu from July 2002 on us when he is called up.

    Then there's the non-baseball aspect. It shows that...well, see for yourself. It's definitely worth it....more info
  • FIELD OF BROKEN DREAMS! A WONDERFUL FILM!
    A truely wonderful film with an all star cast. A story about baseball, unfulfilled dreams, ultimate redemption and so much more! "Some mistakes you never stop paying for" How true! A sad, but ultimately uplifting film that will satisfy all movie lovers! The DVD transfer looks very good on the older single disc edition. I would like to check out the 2 disc director's cut....more info
  • Suspend Disbelief and Enjoy.
    Whenever I tell people how much I cherish The Natural, I often get the "do you still believe in the Easter bunny" look. Occasionally someone may throw out a dig about Robert Redford, but, even though I'm not a fan, I have to give him his due because he's so authentic in this role.

    Yes, I suppose we could criticize this grand tale for several of its melodramatic conversations and scenarios. We might also wonder as to how "major league" teams continued to pitch, as opposed to intentionally walk, a guy consistently shattering the infrastructure of ball yards and sporting a batting average around .500. However, from the very beginning, we are made aware that this is a tale of fantasy and that it is necessary to suspend our disbelief.

    The cast is superb and it isn't just the stars who glimmer. Wilford Brimley's Pop and Richard Farnsworth's Red are quite special. The chemistry between them is superb and both are extremely believable in the role of baseball old timers. Like Hobbs, they are remnants from a rural, simpler age that is no more. Pop even repeatedly wishes that he would have become a farmer rather than gone into baseball.

    Kim Basinger plays Memo "I've known a million guys" Paris who, along with Barbara Hershey, are the embodiment of the femme fatale. Both are horrendous, and near lethal, influences on Redford. As Basinger's romance with the right fielder escalates, his performance on the diamond declines. In few situations in life or fiction are characters as black/white and good/evil as they are here. The Madonna/whore dichotomy has never been more apparent (outside of The Bible) as Glenn Close's Iris can be perfectly juxtaposed with the two Jezebels. She is as pure as Holy Water. Redford's sincerity in regard to her cannot be questioned. Indeed, he says, "Are you married?" seconds after being reunited with her after. When he looks at Iris, Redford's mind is fixed on only one thing: lifelong devotion.

    As far as classic moments in film go, I can think of few as touching as when the camera catches Pop's expression as Roy Hobbs runs the bases while, in his glasses, we see the bursting of stadium lights. Few experiences are as rewarding as helping another when you are the only hope they have left.

    The Natural is a marvelous antidote to societal reserve and restraint; even if it only lasts a few hours. It's cleansing to cheer for characters who lack a dark side, and inspirational to watch them trounce the bad guys. ...more info
  • Great Movie!
    This is definitely a movie you can enjoy as a couple, great story not only for baseball fans but also for the love story fans. I love this movie!...more info
  • Completely Dissatisfied!
    I couldn't even play my new DVD, The Natural, in my my DVD player or my 2 computers. It came scratched in the wrapping. I have never before received a inoperable product until now. Buyer beware!!...more info
  • Read the book as well!
    My son recently had to read for school the Bernard Malamud novel, "The Natural," on which the film was based. I was quite intrigued to read that the book ends very differently from the film. I won't ruin the ending for you; you'll have to buy a copy for yourself! (Of course, you should order it from Amazon.com.) Having read the book enhanced by appreciation for the movie, that's for sure....more info
  • Best Baseball Movie Ever..Period!
    The original movie was amazing and this version is even better and more complete. It gives more background to Roy Hobbs and the transfer is flawless. It is a must for any baseball fan!...more info
  • The Natural
    'The Natural' (1984)

    Robert Redford is an extraordinary guy. Never a word of scandal is written
    about him. He lives quietly with his family on a ranch in western United
    States. He runs the annual Sundance Film Festival and he is politically
    active as a loyal democrat. He has had his share of bad films as all
    Hollywood stars have but he has evened it all out with a Best Actor Oscar
    nomination for 1973's 'The Sting' and a win in the Best Director category
    for 1980's 'Ordinary People'. His other impressive list of credits include
    such diverse films as 'Quiz Show' (1994) for which he received another Oscar
    nomination as Best Director and 1988's gem and little seen 'The Milagro
    Beanfield War' which squeezed its way in to win an Oscar for Dave Grusin's
    music score. Redford's 1998 film 'The Horse Whisperer' should have had more
    success but this film will become a buried treasure of the future and will
    take its time to truly get noticed.

    Redford's 1984 film 'The Natural' is a film that greatly divided the
    critics. Some accused it of being an obvious soap opera while others
    praised it as being an old fashioned story which brought back memories of
    Hollywood's golden era. The plain truth is that 'The Natural' is a story of
    lost youth with one man wondering how things would have turned out if his
    life had gone in a different direction. What makes it extremely worthwhile
    and fascinating to watch is the fact that the circumstances in this man's life
    that hand him a sour lemon are determined by fate and not by choice.

    Set primarily from the early to mid 1920's to about 1940, Redford plays Roy
    Hobbs, a man who can do anything that the game of baseball requires.....and
    he excels at it. As a friend of his says to a sports writer: "I thought you
    might have heard of his 8 no-hitters." The story of 'The Natural' is truly
    filled with fairy tale like qualities and sentimental charm. As a boy,
    Roy's father helps him develop a talent for baseball and after his dad dies,
    Roy makes a bat from a tree that was struck by lightning and appropriately
    names the bat "Wonderboy" as he brands the name on his bat along with the
    image of a lightning bolt. Roy also has a special lady in his life named
    Iris Gaines (Glenn Close). Roy leaves her behind and intends to send for
    her when he makes it in the big leagues.

    At a carnival one fine day, after being provoked and taking on a bet, he
    strikes out a heavy hitter in the major leagues whose nick name is "The
    Whammer" (Joe Don Baker in a take on Babe Ruth). Traveling with "The
    Whammer" is sports writer Max Mercy (Robert Duvall). The amazing feat
    accomplished by Hobbs stuns everyone including the mysterious Harriet Bird
    (Barbara Hershey) who is instrumental in Hobbs' future. The rest of the
    story can be explored from here at your own convenience for fear of
    spoilers.

    Other notable members of the cast are Kim Basinger as a floozy who tries to
    seduce Roy in a set up by gamblers and swindlers. Robert Prosky is the
    film's villain as a judge determined to take over the team from Pop Fisher
    (Wilford Brimley). A sly performance which goes uncredited in the film is
    by Darren McGavin as an unscrupulous bookie who makes 10 million dollars a
    year (about 100 million by today's standards).

    Directed by Barry Levinson with a screenplay by Roger Towne and Phil
    Dusenberry based on Bernard Malamud's novel, 'The Natural' is a fulfilling
    drama of hope and inspiration that captured four Oscar nominations for Caleb
    Deschanel's sunlight enriched photography and scenes of silhouettes and many
    dark passages which make the film stand out in a truly visual fashion.
    Glenn Close was the only member of the cast to receive a nomination, this
    time in the Best Supporting Actress category and the art direction/set
    decoration made the era look totally authentic as it and the triumphantly
    rousing music score by Randy Newman were also nominated.

    For those who have flocked away from the game of baseball in recent years
    since the devastating loss of the World Series in 1994 due to labor and
    management difficulties, 'The Natural' and 1989's 'Field of Dreams' are two
    great films that renew your faith in the game and may draw you to it even if
    you were never a baseball fan to begin with.

    "I believe we have two lives. The life we learn with and the life we live with after that"....more info
  • Read the book
    The book was one of the best sports novels I've ever read, the movie pales in comparison. Bernard Malmud deserves the recognition for this great story, not Redford. If you've already seen the movie, don't spoil it for your kids, get them to read the book first....more info
  • Now this is a GREAT Director's cut!!!
    I've always been a fan of "The Natural" and was highly skeptical about the announced Director's cut when I heard that it was not just adding a few scenes here and there but actually changing the flow of the movie. Well, the changes Levinson made have made the movie better, really enhancing the background story of Roy Hobbs and creating a true air of tragedy to the character that did not exist in the original movie.

    A GREAT Director's cut!!!!...more info
  • Maybe the best baseball movie of all time - but there's one glaring flaw
    Let's get this out of the way: I LOVE this movie. It's one of the best, if not the best, baseball movies ever made. The sports action is believable, Hobbs (Redford) is an incredible character, and the musical score is phenomenal. Hobbs is, indeed, the natural. He can hit the ball so far and hard that the cover has no choice but to fly off, and an entire electrical system in a stadium is destroyed with a well-placed 750-foot homerun - surge protectors and transformer boxes be damned! Simply incredible, awe-inspiring, and it's a requirement for any fan of sports movies.

    As a kid, he was essentially a combination of Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez from The Sandlot and Kelly Leek from The Bad News Bears, except for the fact that he caught better, hit harder, and ran faster than either of the others, and didn't have the smoking habit or the girly hair. The man was made for baseball; he's been a superstar his entire life, the big man on campus. Then he got shot by that evil black-widow, wench Barbara Hershey for absolutely no reason (she should have shot Glenn Close).

    Then he takes a ten year layoff with a bullet in his abdomen, and he's still a BAMF sporting an average over .500 and roughly one home run every three at bats! There is simply no comparison to how awesome he was/is. He would have hit the ball right through Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn's chest if he were on Major League (Wild Thing Edition). He would have made Kevin Costner retire before he even met Kelly Preston on For Love of the Game. He would have made Henry Rowengartner from Rookie of the Year pee himself. He would have made Jim Morris from The Rookie (Widescreen Edition) look so bad all the kids from the high school team would have quit and tried out for football. Deniro would have demanded a pay raise for Hobbs if he were in The Fan. The Angels would have just shrugged their shoulders at those two kids in Angels in the Outfield and watched the homerun sail over the fence as the Angels lost. And Hobbs would have simply murdered the entire cast of Fever Pitch (Widescreen Edition) if he were anywhere near that abomination. With all of that said, with Hobbs' legendary status confirmed, with hordes of women no doubt swooning over his rock star status, how am I supposed to believe he would find Glenn Close attractive?

    Other than that, I love the movie, and I feel it's nearly perfect. It's not only one of the best baseball movies ever, it's one of the best movies ever....more info
  • Disappointing, inferior "Director's Cut"
    When I was first made aware of this new "Director's Cut" of The Natural, I wanted to rent it before deciding whether to buy it or not. Unable to find it for rent, I bought it. Having watched it twice (alternately with the original theatrical version DVD), I will probably toss it.

    Director's Cut? Even the director, Barry Levinson, concedes in the introduction to this new version that it is not meant to replace or be better than the original theatrical version. It's merely an intriguing chance to see the movie edited to match his original vision more closely (made impossible in 1984 by post production time constraints). He makes no judgment that his original vision was better. For me, this cut is quite inferior.

    Not only were 15 minutes of footage added, but 9 minutes were deleted. In the original version, the opening act (before Roy returns to the game after 16 years) ran 20 minutes. In the new version, despite a lot of added material, it runs 17 minutes. The relaxed, natural pace of the original sequence is now full of somewhat abrupt, quick edits. Gone also are some beautiful shots, such as the young Roy and Iris running towards each other at night across the horizon of a field. Gone are moments of character development, such as The Whammer's wisecrack on the train, "Oh, first Pete and now Repeat?"

    And much later in the film, one added scene derails a major theme. Iris is a positive influence, and Roy excels in the game under that influence. Memo is a negative influence, and under her spell Roy fails. Yet in this new verson of the film, Roy returns to New York after several highly successful games (under Iris' influence) on the road, and then a scene has been added where Memo welcomes him home in a hotel lobby and gets cozy with him in a phone booth. In the following scenes, Roy continues his successful run! It makes no sense. In the original version, his success ended as soon as he reunited with Memo at the welcome home party. In fact, the addition of the phone booth scene results in her welcoming him home twice, which is somewhat odd.

    On the positive side, the new 5.1 sound is very nice most of the time, but sound effects that were subtle in the original film have been amped up at times to the point of being distracting. Originally, the two gunshots sounded appropriate to the rooms in which they happened. They now sound like recordings of shots in an echo chamber, edited into the film. Still, I have to say I loved the enhanced sounds of thunder throughout the movie.

    The second disc of Special Features has some interesting stuff on it. So I'll keep the Special Features disc, put it with my DVD of the original theatrical version, and toss the so-called Director's Cut disc. But I will miss those great thunder sounds....more info
  • This is in my top ten of all time favorites movies.......
    and it works on so many levels.There is the sporting theme(baseball the American game, set in an innocent era,) The potential, and innocence of youth. Dreams that never die, as well as an indicment of the press(build em up to knock them down) but at the end of the day it is an enjoyable film. Would have given it 5, but you could say that the end is corny, but in the same way that you are caught up in the emotion, of say a Rocky film, this film leaves you with a warm feeling inside. Try it and see. ...more info
  • The Natural Brew
    The Natural is like a good beer. When you are young it tastes different than when you get older. As a kid, the first time I watched The Natural I dreamed to be the hero like Robert Redford, helping the losing team become a respectable and a winning team. I didn't understand the flashbacks but I believed in the magic.
    The story begins with a young Roy Hobbs practicing baseball. One summer night a huge lightening bolt strikes an oak tree outside of his bedroom window. Hobbs makes a bat from the fallen oak tree. He carves a lightening bolt onto the bat and carriers the bat throughout his baseball career. This event is where Hobbs is transformed; he can play infield, the outfield and has unnatural power when at bat. Robert Redford plays the part of Roy Hobbs perfectly. He is quiet, determined and focused, he appears to be a natural athlete. The story takes a turn due to bad luck; all baseball players are superstitious as the movie gives a lot reference to that.
    Women are Hobs' weakness and cause him to have bad luck in his life. This is a problem for athletes because they get distracted. Kim Bassinger plays her role well as a beautiful seductress. And the reason this story is great is that Hobbs' love for the game gives him the power to give every once of his strength to the game he loves. This story gets better each time you see it and it never goes flat. It is a classic....more info
  • Could this be the best baseball movie ever?
    Having not read the book, the movie was not a disappointment. On the contrary, I think it ranks with, if not, the best baseball movie every made. It is a story of second chances both in baseball and in love.

    The movie avoids the usual Hollywood pitfalls of making a statement where no statement is needed (Holly Hunters library speech in Field of Dreams) and by avoiding meaningless cliques by the effective use of archetypes. For instance, the mystery woman who abruptly ends Hobbs fledging career is dressed in black as contrasted to Iris, Hobbs lost love, who stands in the bleachers backlighted by a halo of light. Also the use of lightening at critical movements of Hobbs life and career are but two examples of powerful archetype.

    Aside from a good story, this is movie making at its best. The cinematography is beautiful. Case in point: The contest between Roy Hobbs (the Robert Redford character) and the Whammer (played to the tee by Joe Don Baker). Cool summer evening, setting sun, beautiful light, the cottonwood fluff floating gently in the air and steam periodically erupting from the locomotive- it is a visual masterpiece. Add to the beautiful cinematography, the musical score from Randy Newman. Nineteen years after the making of this movie when one hears Newman's score we think- Baseball!

    The attention to detail and editing were also superb. Who make those advertising signs in the outfield? Bump Baileys meeting a premature end crashing into the outfield wall next to the crying baby sign? That is what I call attention to detail. How about this? In the train scenes the train actually rocks on its tracks as it speeds along its way- Roy has to steady himself as he talks to the woman in black. The editing is surperb- especially the water stop scene and the final at bat scene. Could this be the best baseball movie ever made?...more info

  • The Triumphant Return of the American Hero
    I have not read Bernard Malamud's novel on which this movie was based; I will admit that I have no desire to do so, as I have heard how it differs from the movie, and I am convinced that this movie is the only correct way the story can be told.

    In a big country like the United States of America, we need big heroes, bigger than life, Achilleus-like in scope, touched (or at least favored) by the gods. Fairly or unfairly, since the dawn of the 20th Century, we've tended to select such heroes from the world of sport, traditionally from baseball, a game which, due to such much of it having been played before the advent of mass (or even general) media coverage, seems better given to legendary, even mythic historical representation.

    The heroes from baseball's past consistently shade those of its present; the names of Ruth, Williams, Mantle, Mays, (Walter) Johnson are men whose accomplishments seem more and more impossible as time leaves them further behind...and as their successors consistently disgrace their legacy by self-centeredness, greed, and scandal -with the notable exception of Curt Schilling bleeding most "Natural"-like as commented by Bob Costas on the pitcher's mound while pitching the Red Sox to victories in Yankee Stadium and the World Series in the 2004 postseason.

    In "The Natural" we have a mythical story of a fictional team, the New York Knights, a moribund franchise seemingly based on any of three traditionally bad teams, the old St. Louis Browns, the Washington Senators, and/or the Philadelphia Phillies. This team has nothing going for it; their star player ("Kill Bill" and ESPN's "Tilt" star Michael Madsen) is a whining prima donna, their manager (Wilfrod Brimley) is believed to be "jinxed", and their owner has just signed a 36-year old (well...a hard-living 36 if Redford's wrinkles are to be believed) with the intent of finishing last in order to bilk the manager out of his ownership share of the team.

    But Redford's Roy Hobbs isn't the has-been/never-was he is taken for; he is "The Natural", the one for whom The Game seemingly was created. From an early age he displayed an uncanny knack for the game, a "phee-nom" of a lefthanded pitcher who, upon leaving his childhood sweetheart (Glenn Close) becomes distracted by a mystery woman (Barbara Hershey) and nearly pays with his life, losing "The Way" and floundering in obscurity for the better part of the next two decades.

    In America, we not only love our heroes, we love tales of redemption. And it is this aspect of "The Natural" that is typically overlooked. We see our hero losing his focus not only on the way to realizing his dream as a young man, but also once he seemingly has his dreams realized as a supposedly more mature man (perhaps understandably under the influence of Kim Basinger). And, in his reunion with Glenn Close in Chicago, we see him again find the path, "The Way" that restores his harmonious place within the game and the universe.

    Look for particularly slimy and conniving performances as well from "A Christmas Story's" Darren McGavin ("Gus") and all-career actor Robert Duvall (sports hack -uh, writer- "Max Mercy"), generally cast against type in roles that really make you dislike them; this is further proof of their genius and it only serves to make the conclusion of the story that much more rewarding.

    It doesn't hurt that, aside from the glaring casting faus pas of having Redford and Close play their characters as Midwestern teenagers as well as their mature "present day" selves, Barry Levinson just absolutely shot the daylights out of this movie. Major League Baseball had a marketing campaign a few years back called "Baseball Like It Oughtta Be", but Levinson has trumped them at every turn with the cinematography that is itself every bit as much the star as the actors. The scenes that take place off the field are beautiful enough, but the game sequences are just incredible. And the score adds as much to it as the more memorable efforts of Ennio Morricone do to Sergio Leone's epic Westerns; is that REALLY Randy Newman's work? Every time Hobbs connects with the ball, the grandiose theme and slow-motion photography (very reminiscent of NFL Films' best work for the game of pro football) give the viewer the unescapable impression that there is an element of the supernatural at work with "The Natural". The cyclical rise, fall, birth, death, and rebirth (recovering from a recurrance of his earlier injury in a maternity ward? Get serious!) of Hobbs is irresistible to the baseball fan and the period of the film and the "Old Hollywood" flavor of the storytelling and pacing should be attractive to the non-sports fan as well. Entertainment at the movies just doesn't get any better than this....more info
  • Among My Top Ten of All Time

    I believe the comments of others do a fine job describing this film. I would only add the following:

    There is every chance that other than a mature individual will not enjoy this movie so greatly as others obviously have.

    There are moments in the actors' dialogue, comments on life and its lessons, that the casual viewer will probably miss.

    Robert Redford attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.

    Redford and Hall of Fame member Don Drysdale were starters on the same high school baseball team.

    Don Drysdale is among the best hitting pitchers, ever. He was elected to the Hall of Fame the same year "The Natural" was released at theatres....more info
  • James Fontanetta
    This is one of the finest films in cinematic history. It is a truly insiring story that anyone can relate to. Robert Redford is amazing in this role. It shows the true spirit of the sport. I can watch it again and again....more info
  • The Classic Baseball Story
    This is the best baseball movie of all time which is saying a lot considering all the great baseball movies that have been made over the years. This is Robert Redford's best acting performance and is a must see for any lover of the sport....more info
  • Baseball as the Great American Myth
    A so-so movie, especially when compared to the novel by Bernard Malamud. The plodding Robert Redford plays an aging ballplayer, Roy Hobbs, who years before showed great promise as a rookie, but had that all go down the tubes when a woman shot him in the stomach. So now, recovered, he's hired to play on the crummy NY Knights, whose owner has secretly bet they'd lose. When Redford does good and the team is on the verge of winning, he has him poisoned. But, of course, Redford drags himself to the plate near the end of the deciding game and hits a thunderous homerun that shatters the lights of the stadium.

    Malamud believed that baseball was America's great myth, and he stocked his novel with all sorts of mythological elements: the hero coming through against adversity, the "magic" bat called Wonderboy (think Excalibar), the great final feat. But unlike all great heroes (at least in fiction), Redford doesn't die at the end (in the novel Hobbs does die), but instead gets the girl. Hollywood strikes again. Rather a letdown, but so's the whole movie....more info
  • One of the best baseball movies ever
    Ever since the first time I watched this movie, I have always enjoyed the story line. ...more info
  • Mythical work on baseball
    This ain't the Malamud novel put on screen. Yet this movie is very effective in its own right. While inspired by the book (many scenes are pretty much out of the book), there is a very different sensibility. The book is a kind of morality tale, with a dark view of the human condition. The movie, after an elegaic beginning, also gets dark--but then ends with a dramatic moment and a touching, affecting close.

    There are mythical moments in the movie that are most catching--the lightning bolt and the cover coming off the baseball, breaking the clock at the stadium, the climactic closing baseball moment in the film.

    Roy Hobbs, though, isn't superhuman, although he is less prone to human foibles than his namesake in the novel. He is human and very talented. His life went haywire when he went to try out for a major league team early in his life(with a contract in his pocket). A meeting with a mysterious woman derailed his baseball career for many years.

    He comes back in his 30s and has a brief moment of glory, suggesting what could have been if things had worked out differently.

    Thus stated, this sounds like a sad movie. But the ending, bringing a family back together after a dramatic moment in the playoffs, provides an upbeat ending, testifying to the possibilities that our hopes can be realized.

    Robert Redford's acting style plays well in this movie. Glenn Close provides an affecting counterpoint to Kim Basinger's Memo Paris and Barbara Hershey's mysterious woman. Darren McGavin is wonderful as the gambler and Robert Duvall as Max Mercy, the sports writer. Wilford Brimley is terrific as the gruff old manager. Good acting; nice special effects; wonderful cinematography by Caleb Deschanel.

    I know, it's a baseball movie. But it remains powerful for me after too many viewings.
    ...more info
  • Great movie, a bit slower than I remembered
    Fabulous scenary and a near perfect baseball movie. Beginning was a bit slower than I remember. We had to see the past (19 years old), getting in to the club (NY Knights), and then the rise and fall of "Bump" Bailey before we could see some great moments from Roy Hobbs.

    A definite must for ones collection....more info
  • One of the best baseball films ever produced...
    Nominated for four Academy Awards, The Natural is one of Robert Redford's best pictures. The breathtaking cinematography, coupled with the bold original score by Randy Newman, makes The Natural one of the most memorable films of its time. A classic baseball film, based on the best-selling novel, the movie has managed to insert itself into the pop culture. Certainly no little league player, nor major league player for that matter, can escape the sounds of Roy Hobbs and his mystical abilities when stepping into the batter's box with the game on the line... The Natural is quite simply one of the best baseball films around - up there with Field Of Dreams, Eight Men Out, and Major League...

    Written more like a fairy tale than a modern drama, The Natural follows the life and times of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), a man trained from his earliest days to love the game of baseball by his father. When the boy's father dies of a heart attack on the family farm, Roy uses the wood from the lightning-felled tree under which his father died to fashion a homemade baseball bat. In love with the girl next door, Iris Gaines (Glenn Close), Roy leaves the farm after promising to come back to her in order to pursue a tryout as a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. But Roy never makes it back...

    Mysteriously shot by a woman he meets in a hotel room, Roy's career is nearly ended by internal injuries. When Roy reappears twenty years later as a forty-year-old rookie for a last place team, he faces opposition from the team coach Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley) who believes his business partner, The Judge (Robert Prosky), is intentionally sabotaging the team in an effort to cheat Pop Fisher out of his ownership shares. But when Pop Fisher finds out that Hobbs can not only play, but is the best player to ever set foot on a baseball diamond, the team's losing ways are put to an end - at least until Hobbs decides to complicate his life further...

    Involving himself with Pop's niece, Memo Paris (Kim Basinger), Roy finds the level of his game dropping off. Despite Pop's warnings, Roy develops a relationship with the girl who is in partnership with the Judge to keep the team stuck in its losing ways. However, when Iris reenters Roy's life (along with her teenage son), Roy's play begins to pick up. But the championship is in jeopardy when a familiar reporter, Max Mercy (Robert Duvall), comes dangerously close to uncovering Roy Hobbs's mysterious past and internal bleeding threatens the life and career of the game's greatest slugger...

    Sporting a different (Hollywood-ized) ending from the novel which spawned its release, The Natural is nonetheless one of the most inspiring, feel good movies of all time. The 1930's setting, and the seemingly one-dimensional characters, create an innocence of times past that make this movie seem like a flashback to the Frank Capra era. The musical score will create a literal tingling in your bones, and the hero-wins screenplay is one to be appreciated in this era of cynic realism. All these aspects of the film work together to make The Natural one of the most entertaining films around as well as earn it the designation of a must-see film... Pop this one into the DVD player and go live the magic!

    The DVD Report...more info
  • The Natural (DVD)
    When I ordered the DVD, The Natural, I did not expect it to arrive earlier than originally thought. I was extremely pleased with the speed of shipment as well as the quality of the DVD when it arrived....more info