Average review score based on 54 user reviews
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I can't help but LOVE this movie. Just like Costner's character, Ray Kinsella, I was born in 1952. A South Side Chicagoan, I was born a White Sox fan, and was disappointed to discover the BLACK spot in their history. Luckily, I didn't have the kind of issues with MY Dad that Ray Kinsella had with his. Mine taught me to catch, took me to my first major league base, hockey and football games and was a great example for me.
For me, there isn't a bad performance in this film. Costner and Amy Madigan (A hoot at the PTA meeting!) are excellent. Doc "Moonlight" Graham a great role for Burt Lancaster's next-to-last big screen performance. James Earl Jones is outstanding (big surprise, eh?) as Terrence Mann as is Ray Liotta as "Shoeless' Joe Jackson. They both deliver moving monologues and if Jones' "People will come" sermon doesn't put a lump in your throat you'd better check your pulse.
1 MINOR quibble. There is a player in catcher's gear among the original 8 "Black Sox" who appear from the cornfield. This does a great disservice to 1919 season White Sox catcher, Ray "Cracker" Schalk, who not only did not particape in the fix, but was eventaully inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Great movie that captures the American love of baseball as a tradition and an integral part of our culture. One of Kevin Costner's better performances - he's not quite so wooden in this one. James Earl Jones is very good as Terrance Mann (a fictional author from the 60s/70s), though it would have been nice to have the actual character from the book - J.D. Salinger. As good as the movie is I kind of liked the book ("Shoeless Joe") better, mostly because the book left it up in the air as to whether the ghost ballplayers were really there or were simply a metaphor. Nice bit part by Burt Lancaster as Moonlight Graham.
Those who know & love baseball will really appreciate the writer's love of the game and its place in American culture, but it's a move that can also be enjoyed by lay persons, as well. "If you build it, he will come" has become a classic phrase in our culture.
While walking in his cornfield, novice farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice that whispers, "If you build it, he will come", and sees a baseball diamond. His wife, Annie, is skeptical, but she allows him to plow under his corn to build the field.
Nothing happens, and Ray soon faces financial ruin. Ray and Annie discuss replanting the corn, but their daughter, Karin, sees a man on the ballfield. Ray discovers that he is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a dead baseball player idolized by Ray's father. Thrilled to be able to play baseball again, Joe asks to bring others to play on the field. He later returns from the cornfield with the seven other players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Ray's brother-in-law, Mark, cannot see the baseball players, and warns Ray that he will go bankrupt unless he replants his crops. While in the field, Ray hears the voice again, this time urging him to "ease his pain." After attending a PTA meeting involving a resolution to ban books by author and activist-turned recluse Terrence Mann, Ray decides the voice is referring to Mann. Ray finds a magazine interview about Mann's childhood dream of playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers and his heartbreak when the team moved to Los Angeles, and convinces Annie that he should seek out the author after they both dream about Ray and Terrence attending a baseball game.
Mann denies making the statement in the magazine, but Ray persuades him to attend a baseball game at Fenway Park. Ray hears the voice again, which urges him to "go the distance." The scoreboard shows statistics for a player named Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, who played one game for the New York Giants in 1922, but never had a turn at bat. Mann eventually admits to sharing the vision, and they travel to Chisholm, Minnesota where they learn that Graham became a doctor, but died 16 years earlier.
During a late night walk, Ray realizes that he is in 1972, the year of Graham's death; he finds Graham who confesses to him that although he regrets never getting to bat, he would have regretted not being a doctor even more. He declines Ray's invitation to fulfill his dream.
The Field of Dreams, Dyersville, IA—May 2006.
While driving back to Iowa, Ray picks up a hitchhiker who introduces himself as Archie Graham. While Archie sleeps, Ray reveals that at age 14 he refused to play catch with his father after reading one of Terrence's books. Terrence replies that he is tired of being blamed for stories like Ray's. At the farm, enough players have arrived to field two teams, and Archie finally gets to bat.
The next morning Mark implores Ray to sell the farm. Karin says that they won't need to because people will pay to watch the ball games. Terrence agrees that "people will come" to relive their childhood innocence, and Ray refuses to sell. Frustrated, Mark scuffles with Ray, accidentally knocking Karin off the top of the bleachers. Archie runs to help and, stepping off the field, becomes the old "Doc" Graham. After he saves Karin from choking, Ray realizes that Graham can not return to the field as a young man. After reassuring Ray that his true calling was medicine, the players shake his hand and he leaves. Suddenly able to see the players, Mark urges Ray not to sell the farm.
After the game, Joe invites Terrence to enter the cornfield. Terrence accepts the offer and disappears into the cornfield, but Ray is angry at not being invited. Shoeless Joe rebukes his desire for a reward, then reminds him why he sacrificed so much,
Is there a higher rating than excellent? This film deserves it
This is one of my favorite films of all-time. When I saw this in the theatre in 1989 it was an emotional experience for me. Having lost my father in 1986 this film brought a flood of memories and emotions regarding my dad. All the way through the movie I kept thinking of him and remembering moments of our relationship with baseball. When I was a kid in the 50's and 60's baseball was THE game. My hero was Willie Mays even though we lived in Allentown, PA and were big fans of the Phillies. I, all the guys did too, knew all the players and the stats on all the teams. We collected hundreds of baseball cards of course and played the game every day in the summer. Those memories came flooding back when watching this film.
That set the scene. The film itself is simply amazing. The story is a fantasy for sure but the message is Don't stop dreaming! Ray is overwhelmed with this idea. He has to see it through. I can't review this film any further. It would take a book to do that and I'm no writer.
Suffice it to say I rate this in the top 10 of all-time!
This is a re-purchase. Our first copy would no longer work in our player. We love this movie so much. In fact, last summer we took part in the Netflix "Field of Dreams" sponsored event in Dyersville Iowa. It took place at the farm where the movie was filmed so we got to see the house and sit on the baseball field and watch the movie on a huge screen. Kevin Kostner was there and played with his band for an hour. It was a magical evening and made us love the move even more!