The Natural (DVD, 2001)
Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is a baseball player. His dad always wanted him to be a baseball player too. He is a great pitcher and can hit and field also. He just may be the best there ever was! One night during a storm, lightening struck an old tree next to the barn and split it open down the middle. That same night his daddy died. Roy made a special bat from that tree and named it "Wonder Boy". After finishing school he is off to Chicago with an old scout to go and try out. His girlfriend, Iris (Glenn Close) is sad to see him go, but is excited for him. On the train he meets a famous player "the Whammer" who is supposed to be Babe Ruth. On a bet made by the agent escorting him, with a sportswriter, Max Mercy (Robert Duvall), Hobbs pitches against The Whammer and strikes him out on three pitches. Roy is very young and inexperienced with women, and is flirted with by a mysterious woman on the train named Harriet Byrd. She is a nut case stalking ball players, and when the old agent says that he will be the best ever, she later at his hotel shoots him in the stomach almost killing him. He is in recovery for more than a year and loses all confidence in his abilities. Fifteen years later he again tries baseball with a semi-pro team from nowhere. A big league scout for the New York Knights sees him and signs him to a contract. Now he's back, but the team manager, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley), won't play him. Pop is majority owner of the knights, but had to enter into a deal with an old Judge, who is crooked and corrupt, and he will take over the team 100% unless Pop can get the team into the World Series. Pop doesn't want to trust a player from nowhere, who is retirement age, brought in by a scout friendly with the Judge. Hobbs wants to play, but is constantly ignored. Finally he and Pop have a showdown and Pop plays him. At the plate Hobbs hits everything, homers, tripples, doubles, etc. You name it Hobbs does it! The Judge tries everything to make Hobbs fail, even bringing a beautiful girl into his life named Memo Paris (Kim Basinger). She is also working with Max Mercy a crooked gambler and sportswriter. In a terrible slump, Hobbs just can't get on line, and Iris, his old girlfriend shows up at the ballpark to give him moral strength. He hasn't seen her since leaving the farm as a boy. She lives in Chicago and has a son who is about fifteen. Roy tells her about what happened years ago, about how his dreams were smashed, and how he has just gotten back to baseball. She really cares, and she makes him regain his confidence. Roy is beginning more and more to see that Memo is just like the woman who shot him years earlier, and no good. After a row with the Judge where he is bribed to throw the games, he makes a vow to win. He is suddenly poisoned or something at a party at Memo's place and winds up in the hospital. The last big game is coming up and if he can't play, the Knights will probably lose. The doctor recovered an old bullet from his stomach that had been there for fifteen years, and tells Roy that if he plays, he may die or never be able to play again. Roy decides to play and his batting wins the league championship and saves Pop's team. Roy gets back together with Iris, and finds out that her son is his son too. This is a good movie and very well acted.