The Natural (1984) Poster



Frank Giroux, not Buffalo mayor Jimmy Griffin, briefly appears as an opposing team coach in the scene where Roy knocks the cover off the ball.
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While the story is an adaptation of the book by Bernard Malamud the plot has been changed for movie to be more "uplifting". Several characters and symbols are heavily influenced by the writings of Homer and Greek mythology: - the line, "Have you ever read Homer?"
  • Roy Hobbs = Odysseus. He is trying to "find his way" [home]

  • Max Mercy = Vulcan, God of Fire and Forging. He can "make or break you" and is always seen in red or brown clothing.

  • Pop Fisher = Zeus, King of the Gods. His uniform is #1 and both the oak tree and lightning bolt a la the Wonderboy bat are his symbols.

  • The Judge = Hades, God of the Underworld. He is always in the dark a.k.a. death, and the dead are "judged" in the underworld.

  • Memo Paris = Kalypso, a sea nymph who had an affair with Odysseus and held/distracted him from returning home; Kalypso means "I will conceal" in Greek.

  • Gus Sands = the Cyclops. Gus has the one strange eye.

  • Iris Gaines = Penelope, wife of Odysseus. Roy's true love from whom he was separated for 20 years while she raised their son.

Borrows from the true story of the bizarre shooting of former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus by Ruth Ann Steinhagen in Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel on the night of June 14th, 1949.
While late actor Darren McGavin had a major supporting role as the bookmaker Gus Sands respectively, McGavin received no credit for his role in the film. In the recent retrospective documentary on the Special Edition DVD of "The Natural", actor Robert Prosky, who plays the Judge, claims that McGavin was cast late in the picture and would have to receive a lesser billing than the other stars. As a result, McGavin chose to go uncredited. Prosky also noted that McGavin wound up "drawing more attention to himself" as a result.
Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams's single goal while playing baseball was for people to say, "There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived" (a sentiment echoed by Roy Hobbs in the movie). Like Williams, Hobbs wears number 9 on his uniform, and both Williams and Hobbs hit home runs in their last career at-bats. According to Roger Angell of the New Yorker, Redford modeled his swing on Williams'. Angell adds that Redford plays so authentically "you want to sign him up".
The patches on the right arm of the Knights' uniforms are special patches commemorating the centennial of baseball, which was celebrated in 1939. This confirms the Knights' season to be the 1939 season.
The quote by Roy Hobbs about what it takes to be a big leaguer; "you have to have a lot of little boy in you", was actually a quote by Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella.
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson was also an inspiration for the character of Roy Hobbs, particularly Jackson's connection to the Black Sox's scandal which can been seen when the Judge attempts to bribe Roy into throwing the game. Also, like "Shoeless" Joe, Hobbs has a special name for his bat.
The filmmakers scouted the country for a stadium to use in game scenes. They needed something nondescript with a pre-WWII feel and found it in Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium. The stadium, built in 1937 and demolished in 1988, had a shorter distance down the right field line than is shown in the movie. The stadium had been renovated prior to filming, which could explain the extra hundred feet displayed on the right field wall.
Hobbs breaking the scoreboard clock with a home run was inspired by Bama Rowell of the Boston Braves doubling off the Ebbets Field scoreboard clock on May 30, 1946, showering Dixie Walker with glass. Though he'd been promised a free watch by Bulova for hitting the company's scoreboard sign, Rowell had to wait until 1987 to receive it.
The Bat that batboy Bobby Savoy gives Roy is called the "Savoy Special". Savoy Special was a brand of beer in the 1930s and was made by the United States Brewing Co.
The second film ever released by TriStar Pictures. It was supposed to be the first film ever released by the new TriStar Pictures, but they felt baseball movies don't do well, so instead Where the Boys Are (1984) was released first, in April 1984, with The Natural following in May 1984. This according to a recent interview of director Barry Levinson on Costas at the Movies.
The newsreel announcer's name is Ed Krichinsky. The last name of the family in Barry Levinson's film Avalon is also Krichinsky and Krichinsky is Levinson's mother's maiden name.
Loosely based on the story of Sir Percival from the Arthurian myths:
  • The broken bat = the broken sword

  • Pop Fisher = The Fisher King

  • The team called "The Knights"

One of the newspaper pictures of Memo and Roy is doctored to show the General Motors Futurerama Pavilion from the 1939-40 New York Worlds Fair in the background.
Among images in a montage of Roy's growing fame, we see copies of Life magazine being printed with Roy's picture on the cover. The magazine is dated August 14, 1939. The actual issue of Life magazine published that day had a photo of baby/child actress Sandra Lee Henville.
The Pirate's manager in the play-off game was played by former major league player and coach Sibby Sisty.
A newspaper in the latter part of the movie shows a date of 7 June 1939.
Newspaper copy on screen doesn't match the accompanying headlines about Roy Hobbs and The New York Knights. The text actually contains stories about bass fishing, a religious service, and a fan of the New York Giants.
Pro wrestler Bret Hart took his catch phrase "the best there is, the best there was and the best there every will be" from this movie.
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Director Trademark 

Barry Levinson:  [Ralph Tabakin]  Ralph (Al's Customer) has appeared in every Levinson picture from Diner (1982) to Liberty Heights (1999).

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