An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.
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When it comes to computers, my ex-boss used to call me "wonderboy"... so named after the baseball bat the starring character hits his 'homers' with... when everything else goes wrong, "wonderboy" can hit the home run.There's so much in this movie that makes it a bases loaded favorite.If you like sports, get it. If you are into a touching story with true meaning and depth, characters that have been painted as deep as the scenery... there's so much to love about it.I guess the most wonderful thing I liked about this movie is that it has many wonderful philosophical/religious/mystical messages, so many meanings, so many great things... and there's no hammer over each message slamming them brutally out to you, screaming "Look at me, Look at me..."The messages come across in such subtle ways, when it finally catches up to you, you gotta slap yerself on the forehead and say "DUH"... Not one of the messages was telegraphed across before it's time.A home run. A must have. Maybe someday you'll have the name "wonderboy" and truly know what it means.Get it.
What a film. Stunning cinematography, excellent acting, and well-thought-out direction by the great Barry Levinson (of Rainman fame) add-up to create this film student's all-time favorite work. You can smell the infield dirt, and hear the sharp crack of horsehide on Ash while watching this film. To me, it's about as close to a "full" sensory experience as a film can come. Lest we forget, Randy Newman's soundtrack surely ranks as one of the top two or three of all time (With deference to the great John Williams). The music itself is what first drove me to collect soundtracks, and indeed, provided me with much of my love of film, and of the national pastime.
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.
A movie I watch 2-3 times every year right about spring training time to get myself into that baseball mood. It really gives you that feel for baseball and why people dedicate their lives to it, in whatever capacity. The color and camera work captures the feel of baseball in yesteryear. So much of this story is told without detailed dialogue- a sign of a great movie. And so many words of wisdom - truisms, are uttered so casually that if you miss them, you miss so much of the very essence of this film. Redford is perfect as Roy Hobbs, as is Wilford Brimley as manager of the lowly New York Knights. But Robert DuVall and Kim Bassinger play great supporting roles, as do the rest of the supporting cast members, many who will be familar character actor faces. I never read the book, but know that those who have take umbrage to the license the movie takes with the story and how they present it. If you haven't read the book that won't affect you. What will affect you is Levinson's direction and the feel for the era he creates with the simplicity of the dialogue, the cinematography, and the color and lighting used, not to mention Randy Newman's period setting musical score, which is magical in setting the necessary moods. You feel like you're in another era. This Natural also contains my favorite quotes in movie history, when Glen Close utters, "I believe we have two lives- the one we learn with, and the one we live with after that." That quote embodies this film, and is my credo. Redford's hospital bed quote of "some mistakes we never stop paying for," also is quite profound. A great movie with a great ending, that was almost reenacted in the 1988 World Series with Kirk Gibson's magical game winning home run in game one against the Oakland A's. A must watch for even non-baseball fans.
On average, sports movies either leave me cold, make me laugh at thejingoistic stuff they put in, or on rare occasions actually work and moveme. This is one of the latter movies.While using the standard recipie of 'slow down the action and make thingslook like ballet', the film actually transends the stereotypical Baseball IsLife thing.The story is a bit hokey, and steals from the old Aurthurian legends toooften, but it does so in such a sweet way that you have to loveit.What does not work is the lack of resolution in several story lines, which Iwon't go into, but suffice it to say that you'd like to see more tidiness inthe details in a picture this beautifull. Also, Redford appears as asupposedly 17 - 20 year old version of himself early on and you have toremind yourself that he's supposed to be some young phenom, not a 40 yearold trying to look younger. Sorry, Bob.Generally a fine movie for a Sunday night when spring training hasn'tstarted getting everyone bogged down with the hype that has ruined a gamethat is best played by fathers and their sons in the neighborhood ballpark/vacant lot.
This review is from: The Natural [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray) A wonderfully remastered edition of this classic movie. Bought it, along with Major League, for my dad for Christmas to go with his new Blu-ray player. His eyes lit up just as much for this as for his new Kindle Fire that he opened five minutes before! Fantastic quality HD picture for such an old film.
Robert Redford shines in this classic tale of baseball mixed withattempted murder, betrayal, testing of faith and survival. Redfordplays Roy Hobbs who aspires to be a Major League player afterdiscovering he has a great pitching talent at a young age. Roy's dreamsare ended when a mysterious woman (Barbara Hershey) shoots him in amurder attempt and then she commits suicide. Years later, Roy takes uphis dreams again and heads to the Minor League team, the New YorkKnights who are the worst team in their league. Eventually Roy is facedwith a repeat of his past when another mysterious woman (Kim Basinger)enters the picture. I normally don't like sports movies, but 'TheNatural' is a huge exception. Robert Redford is one of my favoriteactors and he does not disappoint in this film. He has the charm andstrength that Roy has, but he plays on Roy's weaknesses so well that heevokes the sympathy that he gets at the opening of the film. If you areinto sports, "The Natural' is just the one for you.
This review is from: The Natural [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray) ACTUALLY, I THOUGHT THE MOVIE, "JERIMIAH JOHNSON" WAS THE GREATEST MOVIE ROBERT REDFORD EVER MADE, WITH "OUT OF AFRICA" AND "INDECENT PROPOSAL" COMING IN A CLOSE SECOND AND THIRD, BUT, "THE NATURAL" JUST BLOWS THEM OUT OF THE WATER! MAYBE ITS BECAUSE I'M A BIG BASEBALL NUT, I DON'T KNOW, BUT THIS IS THE GREATEST MOVIE REDFORD HAS EVER MADE, HANDS DOWN!!
I've waited for 2 years since I bought my DVD player for this movie to be issued on DVD. I just bought it today, and must say it was worth the wait. I've worn out copies on both BETA and VHS tape so needless to say I'm excited to have it on DVD. The video transfer is in flawless widescreen format. The audio, while not in 5.1 Dolby Digital, is in a very acceptable 4.0 Dolby Digital format that more than adequately transmits the true sounds of baseball. There really are only a couple of extras included w/ this DVD. There are the ever present Theatrical trailers, Cast biographies, and an excellent 45 minute documentary on the movie with Cal Ripken, the future Hall Of Famer from the Baltimore Orioles. This is a DVD that any sports fan MUST HAVE. Along with Hoosiers, this is one of the greatest sports films of all time.
As a writer, I am often compelled to read the books on which myfavorite movies are based. Since its original release, I have loved TheNatural as one of my favorite movies of all time, but it was onlyrecently that I read Bernard Malamud's novel on which the movie wasbased. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was.Malamud was a great writer, and was best known for winning a Pulitzerand the National Book award for The Fixer. His award winning workusually dealt with themes closer to his own heart, and Malamud didn'tseem to "get" baseball in this book. Either that, or he had some axe togrind about baseball, and wanted us to hate it and all the peopleinvolved in it. The Natural was Malamud's first novel and, as such, it suffers fromshallow, simplistic characters, a muddy, at times almost unintelligibleplot, and poorly attenuated subplots that almost seem likeafterthoughts or clumsy devices slathered on to shore up weak storyobjectives. He does, however, have a historical understanding ofbaseball, and most of the events related to baseball in this story arecomposites of everything from the Black Sox to Babe Ruth to ChristieMatheson and a string of other legends.The main character, Roy Hobbs, is almost certainly based on the reallife character Eddie Waitkus, and Malamud does little to imbue him withlikable traits that would deepen him as a literary character. He eventhrows in a little Joe Jackson to compromise the character evenfurther. The fact that he is called "Roy" is an obvious allusion to SirThomas Malory's 15th century opus "Le Morte D'Arthur." (Recall that"roi" is French for "king.") Why Malamud chose this story as a model isa mystery, since although he goes to great lengths to reinforce theAurthurian connection (the baseball team is called the "Knights", thebat, "Wonderboy" is obviously "Excalibur"), he creates little of theArthurian heroism in Roy Hobbes, or, for that matter, the sport ofbaseball as an allegory for the jousting of Chivalric heroes. The character of The Whammer, played in the movie beautifully, if alltoo briefly, by Joe Don Baker, is more Ruth than Ruth, but he's gone ina flash, leaving yet another heroic void in the original story. And thewomen in The Natural are shallow, conniving and cheap and I have neverbeen able to understand Malamud's literary allusions with regard toMorgan LeFave and Guinnevere, the women in Arthur's life. The Bad Guysin the book are ALL Bad, everyone else is mostly neutral, and thereisn't any real good, or anything uplifting or affirming or positive inthe whole thing.Thank god for the movie. Barry Levinson's direction is gilded andglowing, and the whole film has a luminous aura that seems magical andenchanted and, compared to the wooden novel from which it came, asatisfying recast of the Arthurian legend. The screenplay was doneRoger Towne, who recently gave is The Recruit, and the changes he madeto the story make all the difference in the world, less literary,perhaps, but more beautiful and elegant and not nearly so cynical andpessimistic. Compared to the Levinson/Johnson magic, the novel isalmost amateurish, and recalls Ayn Rand's facile characters andstories, didactic and pedantic, and almost completely obscuring theArthurian magic that Levinson coaxes from the story.Once, when I had the chance to mention personally to Mark Johnson howbeautiful The Natural was, he responded with a sincere modesty that fitthe innocent tone of the movie, and he even gave me a keepsake from thefilm that I have to this day as a reminder of just how amazing anachievement this movie was, coming from so flawed a novel.This was the first movie in which I loved Redford. He was older anddeeper as an actor, and this was the beginning of his real golden age.Glenn Close was delightfully virginal and beautiful as a characteralmost completely created by the screenwriter, not the novelist. KimBasinger is gorgeous and dangerous as the femme fatal, a portrayal thatshe would echo in her Oscar winning turn in L.A. Confidential.Randy Newman's brilliant score was recycled a dozen times in subsequentmovies, but none captured the beauty and nostalgia of The Natural.There are only a handful of movies so magnificently driven by theirscore, and The Natural remains Newman's best and most satisfying work.In short, this is the best baseball movie ever. Whereas Malamud wantedto show baseball as jaundiced and commercial, Towne's screenplay showsus the baseball we loved as kids, and more. Malamud's dark and whollyunsatisfying ending is also rewritten, and if you find the final scenea little sweet, ask yourself if you really wanted to see the dismalfinale that Malamud supplied.
This review is from: The Natural [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray) I am new to the world of blue ray, but not to this movie. this is a great story, one that i watch over and over. but in blue ray, you feel on the diamond with the knights. the cast is a magical fit and never has an akward moment. Except for butch cassidy and the sundance kid, this movie proves robert redford can act and direct. randy newmans score is very supportive of what you see on the screen and the 5:1 doesn't hurt it either. this movie is a natural
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.
I've never really had any love for baseball films; still don't. But it doesn't matter here. This isn't real life, nor meant to be real; it's about much bigger things. A friend told me that the film wasn't about baseball, it's a modern-day myth, a tale of love, of redemption, set not in Greek temples with gorgon-like monsters, but in 1930s America. The result is a beautiful inspiring film (with an ending a little bit different than Malamud's novel); a tale of light and dark, of good and evil, of the choices we make in life -- the ones we regret, and the ones we keep paying for.A pat on the back, too, to the wonderful cast, the breathtaking cinematography, and Randy Newman's break-out film score, the majesty of which still plays in your ears years later.
I saw previews of this movie and thought it would be great. I love baseball and almost everything Robert Redford has ever done. After a very promising start, the movie just went way over the top and became almost a cartoon. Every time the guy hits a homerun the cover actually flies off the ball or he hits the lights, setting off fireworks or something else larger than life happens. I went into this movie with great expectations and left feeling like they blew it. If they hadn't tried to make everything so much bigger than life the movie could have been a believable story.
Baseball is a game about getting good and bad breaks. Robert Redford experiences all the bad breaks possible and when he triumphs and hits a game winning homerun that breaks a light shooting sparks on the field as he runs the bases can't to much more than bring you to euphoria. THE BEST BASEBALL MOVIE.
This review is from: The Natural (Director's Cut) (DVD) When Batboy Bobby Savoy played by George Wilkosz shakes his head with a satisfying grin after Roy Hobbshit's it into the stands from the batting cage with his first smash at the ball, you know things are looking up.Of course there will be some roadblocks along the way. But Hobb's will triumph in the end.The cranky manager,Wilford Brimley is a hoot! Great acting all the way down to the smallest part.Kim Basinger's character play's a beautiful book cover,but with in the book are pages of deceit and selfishness.Glenn Close's character has substance and true love;"You know,I believe we have 2 lives;the life we learn with and the life we live with after that." When a boy becomes a man he recognizes which womanhas lasting value.There is lot's of baseball action here in this feel good lump in the throat fantasy baseball movie epic masterpiece.Great theme & soundtrack music by Randy Newman and directing by Barry levinson ("Diner","Avalon" etc.)+lot's of extra's! Batter up,beat!!!!
Roy Hobbs path to glory will reel you in, in this outstanding baseball movie...it's all fiction...but it seems so real. In one scene Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, knocks the cover off the baseball and nothing is left but a gobbled mess of strings. The opposing players and coaches look on in amazement. And so will you as you follow Hobbs through an assortment of characters...including amazing character actors like Wilfred Brimley, Richard Farnsworth and Robert Duvall, just to name a few. The cast is wonderful and the movie is simply a "must see" for a baseball player, young or old.
This is a film that whisks you right off you feet andkeepsyou in the air throughout the entire thing. Every camera shotistimed. Every angle is covered. Every chord of music from the great RandyNewman is majestic. Redford is the Arthurian likehero of the New York Knights who "lived for a dream that wouldn't die." Thelighting is also quite wonderful in thefilm. It captures Redford like it has never captured himbefore.We see the age. We see the lines, but we still admire him. We still dream ashis Roy Hobbs does. Dream stories make great motion pictures. It gives ussomething to dream of.
Great reviews are already posted on the content quality, so I' just mention the DVD itself.I just received my copy of "The Natural" on DVD this morning and the quality of playback is fantastic. This did this one right!Buy it!!
"There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was to play this game." For admirers of the original theatrical and, later, DVD version, of "The Natural" this is obviously A MUST. The story of Roy Hobbs, a great young talent in the Ted Williams mode (they even share the same number - 9), struck down in his prime, and then, like a phoenix, reborn into athletic glory, is one of the classic American stories of all time, based on the fine novel by Bernard Malamud. This new "Director's Cut" version is like revisiting a great fairy tale from childhood and being given more - and often longer - scenes with some of your favorite characters. Director Barry Levinson explains, in a video introduction to the film, the reasons for this new edition: how the original film was somewhat rushed into theatres and how he and his editor (and others) wanted a much different first act to the film. And here it is: the new footage deepens and darkens and gradually brightens the film into a much more satisfying experience and still does not diminish the impact of the original at all. In a word, PERFECT. The musical score, by the great Randy Newman, perhaps a little too insistent in the original film, cueing us to how we should feel, sneaks up on you more in this version and makes all the wonderful moments in the film that come later that much more moving. Also, Robert Redford's performance as Roy Hobbs is immeasurably helped here: the new footage (often original scenes with more footage added), even certain quick cuts, make for a more layered, textured performance that gives us greater insights into this troubled, but noble character - and show how a once, great, guileless young ballplayer still exists inside the older, careworn, but still talented, man he has become. There are beautiful moments restored here - often wordless - and some original scenes have been edited, so that even though there is additional footage, the new version only runs about six minutes longer than the original. Personally, I felt all the performances benefited from the new version - Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger, Darren McGavin, Glenn Close, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, all doing splendid work here. And though my only quibble with the film was - and still is - the somewhat stilted staging of some of the scenes (I would have liked to have seen more reactions from the ballplayers and coaches during games - sometimes they just look blank even when watching something exciting going on), this is clearly a TRUE classic - and the new version will only add to its glory. The additional special features include a wealth of information about the making of the film, and a splendid featurette on "The Mythology of The Natural." Clearly this is why this film endures - and will for the next 100 years. It has a timeless feel, from the perfect performances, the superb direction, the obvious care that was taken in the music, costumes, sets (the fantastic scenes in the various ballparks), and, finally, to the story itself, so beautifully articulated by Glenn Close's character later in the story: "I believe we have two lives: the one we learn with, and the one we live with after that." This new DVD "Director's Cut" version drives this theme home with the precision of one of Roy Hobbs's mammoth home runs. It is a darker, more textured, but ultimately more illuminating experience (and perhaps even more moving than the original version) - and one of Barry Levinson's finest achievements. I wish they had re-released it on the big screen first. But here it is in a beautifully packaged DVD (with a great, old-fashioned cover), worth every penny, and then some. A grand slam!