The Natural (1984)



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An average baseball player comes out of seemingly nowhere to become a legendary player with almost divine talent. Full summary »

Genre: Drama,Sport

The Natural (1984)
Release Date: 11 May 1984 (USA)
Country: USA
Director: Barry Levinson
  • Robert Redford
  • Glenn Close
  • Kim Basinger
  • Wilford Brimley
  • Barbara Hershey
  • Robert Prosky
  • Richard Farnsworth
  • Joe Don Baker
  • John Finnegan
  • Alan Fudge
  • Paul Sullivan Jr.
  • Rachel Hall
  • Robert Rich III
  • Michael Madsen
  • Jon Van Ness

33 Responses to The Natural (1984)

  1. pyro498
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    Can anyone tell me who does most of the play by play for the Knights games. I know I have heard the voice before. Thanks

  2. cryofry
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    This film has the most unforgettable final scene than any other movie I have ever seen.

    "I don’t break character until I do the DVD commentary." Kirk Lazarus

  3. AfraidofVirginiaWoolf
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    I thought his playing ability seemed like Mickey Mantle.

    His fame mixed with betting on baseball felt like Shoeless Joe.

    And if you’ve ever read Casey at the Bat, it is somewhat like that for the ending of the BOOK not the FILM.

    What MLB do you find him similar as?

    "I goddamn near lost my nose. And I like it. I like breathing through it."

  4. sloanrules
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    Uhm, the Robert Redford @ 48 or almost fifty playing roughly a 20 year old ?? LOL i dont think so , he wasnt even believable at playing roughly 36 (being almost 50) i thought that was kind of hilarious, he looks really old in this movie, his pretty boy looks were starting to disappear around then… Lol it still makes me laugh !! Decent movie, but they should of cast a younger actor …I also thought is was kinda funny how the 16 years pass and Robert Duvall doesnt age either lol…Just my op

  5. ronnieronb73
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    I hated that fat pig for trying to put Roy to sleep.

    bushtony and his mother suffer from Congential Stupidtiy and they didn’t see it coming.

  6. gameengineer
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    Even as a child of 8 I got it. He makes the ultimate sacrifice to win the pennant. So, he gets in death what he couldn’t have in life: he gets to play the game he loves with the son he never knew.

    Everything about the last scene tells me it takes place in heaven: the lighting, the trajectory of the story, the music, the blood on his jersey. Nothing makes sense otherwise.

    How can people miss this? How did Roger Ebert? (Simple lack of sports aptitude perhaps?)

  7. cjr3559
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    The money values in this movie have always kind of confused me, so I used an inflation calculator to convert the 1939 dollar amounts into 2008. I come up with some strange things:

    In the scene at the club when Max says Gus is a 10 million dollar a year bookie, that would translate into 150 million dollars a year in 2008. That seems kind of high, but I could be wrong since I don’t gamble.

    In their first meeting in the dugout, Pop says that the ballclub is giving Roy $500 to play with the team. I get the impression that Pop thinks that’s a lot. In 2008 money, that’s just over $7,000. Over the course of a year, that’s poverty level. Does Pop mean $500 per game, per week, per month, what? If Pop thought it was a lot for such an old player and he meant 500 per GAME, that would mean over the course of a 154 game schedule, Roy would make $77,000 in 1939 money, or 1.1 million in 2008 dollars!! I’m going to figure he meant $500 per month, which is still a $90,000 yearly salary in today’s money.

    At the nightclub, Gus tries to guess how much money Roy has in his pockets. He guesses 10 bucks, which doesn’t seem like much. In 2008, this equals $150, which is a lot of cash to carry around. I get the impression that Roy isn’t real rich when he makes it to the big leagues to play. Maybe they should have said he had $5 on him, then he could have gotten a Quizno’s sub. ;) (By the way, a Quizno’s sub in 1939 would have been 35 cents.)

    During the Cubs game, a seller is shouting "Get your official Cubs programs, 10 cents". That’s a buck-fifty in modern cash. If I go to a MLB game and buy a program, I’m out a least 5 dollars. Maybe a dime was an accurate price for 1939.

    Max says his paper will pay Roy $5,000 for the story of his life. Today that would equate to $75,000. Do newspapers really pay that much for stories?

    The only plausible money amount is when the Judge offers Roy $20,000 to not play in the playoff. That would be $300,000 in current day money, which would be enough to buy a house or get a business started, but still not nearly enough to make the likes of Memo happy.

    I know this movie is all about fantasy, but if they made such a big deal about making the uniforms look historically representative of 1939, they should have done their homework in other areas as well. Still, I love this movie.

  8. bobwas99
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    What do you think Hobbs avg/HR/rbi were for the season? Based on what I saw and an overall lack of hitting behind him, why wouldn’t teams just walk him (like Barry Bonds)?

  9. dave4248185
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    After Hobbs’ fantastic debut, Pop threatens to bench Bump Bailey unless he starts getting more hits and playing better. Bump’s play improves. Pop seems contented. Memo eludes to the same dilemna when she says…"right field, that’s Bump’s position." Were they implying that if Bump continued to play well, Hobbs would be benched again? Any fan of the game knows that position players, especially outfielders, are interchangable. Hobbs (or Bailey) would simply have been moved to center or left field. The last place Knights probably had lousy players there. The ’68 Detroit Tigers had four excellent slugging outfielders and one of them was moved to SHORTSTOP in order to get them all into the lineup…..and that was on the eve of the World Series!!

  10. WRVavra
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    Anyone know of a good replica hat like the one Roy usually wears? Most modern-made fedoras of the same sort of design– at least the ones I’ve come across– look stupid.

  11. gbromberg
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    Interweaved in this movie with the many memorable baseball scenes was a scene in which Roy Hobbs walks around Chicago explaining to Iris what had happened to him and why he had disappeared for 16 years.

    I thought it was a terrific scene and I connected with it. I think the reason I did was because a lot of the people I trust are those that I grew up with in my neighborhood — family and friends.

    Roy Hobbs was carrying a huge burden inside him and this cathartic dialogue with Iris was, for me, a pivotal moment in The Natural. He talked about his mistakes, that "he should have seen it coming" and how it changed his life. He had regrets.

    Great scene. Honest. Terrific writing. Terrific acting.

  12. fabcasper
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    Dumb movie, one of the most overrated of all time. How did the VISITING team wind up batting in the BOTTOM of the ninth? How did Glenn Close cause a home run just by standing up—especially since Robert Redford didn’t even know she was there? Why was he shot? And speaking of stealing from real life: a very good left-handed pitcher becoming a slugger—how original, Babe!

  13. MitchellSG-1
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    Never seen this movie and will be picking up the Blu-ray disc coming soon. I have a couple friends who are baseball fans and we love watching movies at my place, but one of them is a young woman whose only real conservative hang up is sexual scenes in movies. If she’s watching with us guys it only serves to make us uncomfortable on top of it all. So if there is sexual content in ‘The Natural’ can you describe, in a non spoilerific way, what it is. If its brief, we can get by it.

  14. jacc1515
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    I watched this last night and saw the part where she shot Hobbs. Right after, she is gone. The window is open and I guess she might have jumped out of it, but I always assumed she just ran off, waiting to find the next great athlete to shoot.

    Any comments/insight would be great.

  15. kconner21685
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    Harriet: Have you ever read Homer?

    Roy: Homer? Well, only homer I know

    has four bases in it.

    Harriet: Homer lived ages ago

    and wrote about heroes and gods.

    And he would’ve written about baseball

    had he seen you out there today.

    Roy: You know what? Someday…

    …l’ll break every record

    in the book. I know I got it in me.

    Harriet: What will you hope to accomplish?

    Roy: When I walk down the street, people

    will say, "There goes Roy Hobbs……the best there ever was."

    Harriet: Is that all?

    Roy: Well, what else is there?

    Harriet: Don’t you know?

    Roy: Isn’t there something more? More glorious?

    Harriet: Do you have a girl?…I’m gonna say good night now.

    This conversation is the only really revealing thing about Harriet’s motive in the movie. Some people have theorized she worked for Gus, but that doesn’t hold up if you pay attention to the dialogue.

    Harriet has some sort of mental disorder, obviously, but what fuels her targeting of Roy is that she sees athletes as mythical heroes and gods. It’s why she makes the statement she did about Homer and baseball.

    She’s the one who killed the Olympic athlete and the football player that are talked about by Max Mercy and The Whammer at the beginning of the football train. That’s proven by the fact that they were killed by silver bullet, and a silver bullet was taken out of Roy.

    Therefore, she’s obviously targetting the best athlete in every sport.

    As to why she does this, it’s one of two reason:

    1) She views the athletes as unworthy of their ‘god-like’ skills because they don’t recognize the poetic nature of it. She asks Roy if he wants anything more, and Roy really can’t understand what she’s saying. She then immediately moves into setting up a future meeting between the two where she can kill him.

    2) She believes by killing these so-called ‘god-like’ people, she herself will either attain eternal fame or some kind of god-like ability herself.

    Reason #1 is probably most likely.

  16. SorcererForChrist
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    Right aftter that fat kid gives Roy his "Savoy Special" bat, he just stands there and stares at Roy with this big gay grin on his face. He should have gone back in the dug out. That kid delayed the game!!

    "You almost made me mad." – Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski

    April 11 1935 – March 5 2006

  17. FraxelandFred
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    This guy is due to make another film soon isn’t he? I mean a biggie. It’s been kind of quiet from him lately. RAINMAN was the best.

  18. glocktwentyseven
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    This is one of the funniest sports articles I’ve ever read!


    Who Ever Said Roy Hobbs Was an Angel?

    by Jim Caple, ESPN.Com

    September 20, 2007, 11:49 AM ET

    When former pitcher Rick Ankiel returned to the majors as a home run-slugging outfielder after years in baseball purgatory, people compared him to The Natural. Then when he was linked to HGH, these same people were aghast that they might have undeservedly bestowed the Hobbsian nickname on someone. Similarly, some found it ironic when the Yankees played the theme song to "The Natural" after one of Jason Giambi’s recent home runs.

    Think Robert Redford’s character in "The Natural" was admirable? You might want to think again.

    But why do people always hold up The Natural as a paragon of virtue anyway? A close look at the movie reveals that Roy Hobbs was hardly a role model.

    He Was a Deadbeat Dad: Hobbs told his high school sweetheart that he wanted to marry her, impregnated her and then skipped town the next morning. Not only did he not return to the girl, he did not even contact her again with so much as a phone call or a postcard — and he certainly never paid a dime of child support — until she finally tracked him down 16 years later.

    He Was a Womanizer: As mentioned above, Hobbs deflowered his girlfriend in a barn after promising to marry her. Yet less than 24 hours later, he hit on a mysterious older woman on a train, then visited her for a little canoodling action in her Chicago hotel room. Later with the New York Knights, he started sleeping with his late teammate’s fiancée while the dead player’s body was still warm. This was a particularly cozy relationship for him, given that she also happened to be the manager’s niece. Hobbs’ playing time skyrocketed about the same time, and once his role was secure with the team, he dumped the niece.

    There are three women with meaningful roles in the entire movie, and Hobbs slept with two of them and wanted to sleep with the third. As far as we know, he bedded every female he ever met, including the mothers in the maternity hospital. He also frequently broke curfew, drinking until late into the night and attending a party to celebrate the clinching of a tie for the pennant (a clear violation of baseball etiquette).

    He Consorted With Gamblers: The first time Hobbs met a major league player, he and his scout immediately proposed a bet that Roy could strike out the Whammer on three pitches. Was this just a one-time transgression by an impressionable teenager? Hardly. As soon as Hobbs reached the majors, he started hanging out with a known big-time gambler, even after the gambler made it clear he wanted the outfielder to throw some games.

    Worst of all, when Hobbs was offered $20,000 to throw the playoff game for the pennant, he did not turn down the offer right away. Although he eventually returned the bribe, he failed to report the offer to the league. This is the same transgression that got Buck Weaver banned for life in the 1919 White Sox scandal, and it also is a clear violation of baseball rule 21 (a) which specifically requires a player report all such offers or "be declared ineligible for no less than three years."

    He Was Surly and a Difficult Teammate: Hobbs repeatedly was rude to the media, refusing to cooperate with columnist Max Mercy’s simple interview requests. He also operated under his own rules, walking out of required team meetings and not even glancing back when his manager ordered him to do so.

    Was It the Lightning Bolt or The Cream? Hobbs reached the majors at 34 (or perhaps 35), an age, as manager Pop Fisher said, when most players retire. Hobbs hadn’t played organized ball since high school, when he was a pitcher. And yet he was somehow good enough to play in the majors 16 years later … as an outfielder. Wielding a bat of his own manufacture (and kept in a special case), he not only literally knocked the cover off one baseball, he hit a home run that broke the scoreboard clock at Wrigley Field and another home run that caused the stadium lights to explode in a spectacular fireworks display. Does any of this sound remotely "natural"?

    Whether Hobbs’ performance came naturally or not is unclear but he definitely was no saint. Anyone who wants to compare a real player to a wholesome fictional star should pick someone of stronger moral character. Like Kelly Leak.

  19. FraxelandFred
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    We all were watching this over dinner and just remarking that it’s such a good movie.

  20. joeandcharle
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    Just wondering, cuz this is as American as it can get and i read one guy mentioning the word "fanboy" in some other post. i presumed only Brits used that word, so now im curious

  21. Dalton1962
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    *** Some minor spoilers ***

    I watched the director’s cut of The Natural last night and really have to wonder why Levinson couldn’t just leave well enough alone. There are 15 minutes of new footage, but some original footage was excised, resulting in a running time difference of around 6 minutes. None of the new footage clears up any of the plot holes in the original version and we get no new insight into Redford’s character. Most of the changes take place in the first 15 minutes of the film, although a few very brief scenes are added throughout the film. The final game and ending remain completely unchanged.

    The problems for me started straight away, with an interminable series of credits over a black screen in total silence. Horrible. Then, Levinson has disected the original’s fine prologue section and incorporated parts of it as a series of short flashbacks the 1939 Roy has as he presumably prepares to travel to New York. (Also hacked up and tortured is Newman’s score – it’s pretty obvious he wasn’t involved in the recut and the result is not pretty.) For example, the death of Roy’s father is separated from the lightning storm that inspires Roy to make the bat. The unearthly feverish quality and heightened sense of mythology in the original’s prologue sequence gives way to a much more prosaic and langorously-paced new cut that only detracts from the movie’s ability to draw you into the slower-moving central part of the story. A pointless scene even has Roy returning to his abandoned house in 1939 to pick up "Wonderboy" from a dusty upstairs closet – he sees no one and heads straight up the stairs to retrieve the bat, doing nothing else along the way. Barry, we know he had to get the bat – he showed up with it in NY. But if no important plot point surrounds that little errand, why bother showing it?

    Roy’s early interaction with The Whammer and Max on the train is shortened. The scene where Roy strikes out The Whammer at the carnival seems only slightly shorter, but ends up losing much of its impact somehow. Back on the train, Max’s conversation with Doc is gone; we don’t see the cartoon Max draws of the event until near the end of the film, so the connection that Max finally makes with Roy is diminished. I can only presume that all these cuts were made to make it more believable that Max would have completely forgotten Roy. In fact, we get a few more scenes of Max trying to figure out who Roy is during the 1939 season. But why? When Max confronts Iris with his evidence of Roy’s past, just as in the original version nothing is told that we didn’t already know. Max has discovered nothing about Roy’s life in the 16 years between being shot by Harriet and joining the NY Knights. This entire subplot is so beside the point and adds nothing to the film for either the fans of the original version or new viewers. I can’t for the life of me figure out any reason why Levinson wanted to put more emphasis on this part of the story.

    With all the additional footage, absolutely nothing new is added to explain Iris’ decisions or what Roy was doing for those 16 years. This is where the original really fell short. Instead we get such "indispensible" new scenes as Max vainly searching through a newspaper archive looking for info on Roy (we already intuited he was doing that anyway), or Max trying to duplicate Roy’s torn cover hit using a bat, a ball, and a vise. Yep. A vise. Not to question you there, Max, but wouldn’t gripping the ball in a vise tend to keep the cover on?

    We get a scene of Bump hiding Roy’s bat in the locker room in a menacing way which seems ostensibly included to "deepen" and "darken" his character or at least make him seem less buffoonish. But only seconds later we get the scene of Bump buffoonishly dying by running through the outfield wall. Was the point of the additional footage of Bump to show that the "magic" bat, which he threatened to harm, killed him? With this poor decision, Levinson seems to turn the original cut’s providential death of Bump into voodoo. It’s a pointless diminishment. Is he really that ashamed of his work?

    The 5.1 soundtrack sounds worse than the original’s, the score has been hacked up, and even the look of the film is not appreciably improved over the earlier DVD – and I was watching on a $3500 DVD player and a 106" screen. It could have been worse I suppose. At least Memo doesn’t threaten to shoot Roy with a walkie talkie. But can someone tell me why Levinson thought he needed to revisit this film and spend a little time to make it longer and less effective?

  22. LetItBe117
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    Besides "Pride of the Yankees" this is my favorite baseball movie ever. And people that I know that have seen this movie absolutely adored it. I was surprised to see its score on here.

    "Of course it is happening inside your head but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

  23. dgs516
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    Harriet Bird was going after the Whammer until she saw Rob pitch at the fair.

  24. ol_dj
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    partying with gamblers and their skanks in the post black sox era? and the reporter who set it up? wtf.

  25. ReelClerk
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    It’s America’s national past time, a sport that has affectionately been called The Greatest Game That Ever Existed,it is fair to say that it has been a number of years since there has been anything close to a blockbuster baseball movie.

    With summer coming to a close and the postseason upon us it seems like the right time to discuss what can make a good baseball movie. Looking towards the future is difficult without understanding the past. In regards to baseball in film, let’s take a look at what didn’t work, what was successful, and what has yet to be done.

  26. quarterbacksneak
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    ….where Hobbs meets back up with Iris looks like the same building (set) that was in "The Sting" which is in the backlot at Universal. Anyone know if it is the same place?

    "Man-O-War started rattlin’ yesterday and threw a kid on its head".

  27. moconnor269
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    I don’t understand why the other team is shown gathering around the pitcher’s mound after Roy knocks the cover off the ball to drive in either the tying or winning run (I can’t remember which it was). Can anyone explain this? It’s like the other team won by forfeit or something.

  28. 4friedchickensandacoke
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    After their initial meeting 16 years before when Robert Duval’s character met with Roy Hobbs (Redford),He states have we met? Yet no where else in the film does Max Mercy remember that day when Roy Hobbs struck out The Whammer..

    ( Joe Don Baker) .I was just Waiting for that scene to happen , especially when Hobbs took the mound and struck the player with three quick balls.

  29. oscarflix
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    Is there anybody who had a more soothing, friendlier voice and demeanor? What a likeable actor.

  30. Anonymous
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  31. AfraidofVirginiaWoolf
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    I read Bernard Malamud’s book, and for along time it was my favorite book, until The Great Gatsby. HOWEVER, I thought that the film was very good but not as good as the book. I guess they had to put in the Hollywood ending, instead of striking out. Did anyone else prefer the book?

    "I goddamn near lost my nose. And I like it. I like breathing through it."

  32. snackadj
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    Well, being a massive Dodgers fan, i’d have to go with Kirk Gibson’s game winner, but what would you say?

    Ash: Gimme some sugar, baby.

  33. DoubleDeuce
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    One thing about most sports movies is that they rarely find actors with a combination of realistic mechanics and acting ability. As I watch this movie (which I enjoy) I can’t help but notice that Robert Redford’s swing is incredibly awkward. You can tell he’s not a left-handed batter- his mechanics are really awkward and way out of sync. Anyone agree?

    "Even though you’re a vampire, you’re still my brother."

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