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Sometimes, dreams do come true !
steve russell1 December 2001
Very rarely, you see a film that means one thing when your father is alive, and another when he is dead. When I first saw this movie, my father was still alive, we had not spoken for 8 years, and I thought, cute, but it knows nothing about real life ! When I saw it again, he had been dead for over a year, and I cried like a baby.

I'm English, so for me the baseball element was lost, but what did hit home was the awareness that we are all flawed people, and the expectations we have for our parents, are way and beyond what we achieve ourselves as we grow older.

The film is not about baseball, it is about a second chance ! An opportunity to say hiya Dad, I was didn't know then, but I'm older now and understand more about the way the world works.

In terms of the film, Cosner has never had a better role, Lancaster as Doc Graham finally showed what a great actor he really was, and James Earl Jones was simply perfect.

In short a great film, James Horner's theme music is wonderful, the visuals are fantastic, the acting is as good as you could hope to see.

For most this is a feel good movie, for me this is a reminder that it is never too late to make amends, I just miss my Father
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A cathartic film
dwmarshall128 June 2006
I've just joined the club and the first film I felt the need to comment on was this, "Field of Dreams". Why? Because, firstly, it's haunted me since its release and secondly, because it had such a cathartic effect upon me. Like so many young people, I lost my dad when I was in my teens. I was fifteen. I'm fifty-nine now. The lost opportunity, the grief, cling to you like lead. When you need to discuss the paradoxes of this world with someone, you find they are gone. They will not return. Though by no means a perfect film - would we ever really want to see a perfect film? - it has heart, a centre to it that opens gateways for those bereft, even though unaware, by loss. I remember watching it the first time on the back row of a cinema with my ex-wife - long after back rows had any import - and, at the end, having to physically contain the need to sob uncontrollably. This had never happened to me before (unless you go back to Elvis riding into the hills at the end of Flaming Star when I was but a snivelling - and probably dysfunctional - early teen. The movie is a masterpiece in that it lives with you decades after its first viewing. In that you cannot analyse it, breaking it down cynically into manipulative parts. I've seen thousands of films and with each one that I feel has entered my soul I always ask myself, has it reached beyond Field of Dreams? In some respects the answer is yes, yet these are technical analyses of product. I've never had to do that with Field of Dreams. It is itself and defies scrutiny as would Gandhi defy psychoanalysis. It is, to itself, true. The cast are great. To this day, despite much, I like Kevin Costner. My sole concern is, why the hell can't I buy "Shoeless Joe", the novel upon which it was based and which I read in the late eighties? It contains much more background and is, in itself, an absorbing read. Dave Marshall
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A magical experience
justafanuk26 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first time I've commented upon a film at IMDB, but after watching Field Of Dreams for the, ohh, dozenth or so time, I just wanted to share my ramblings and musings on this film.

I first saw this film almost a decade or so ago, I was watching it alone on video after idly looking through some tapes for something. I was caught by the amount of glowing recommendations on the cover, and although it seemed to involve lots of baseball, something that I have never been even remotely drawn to, I thought I'd give it a chance. An hour and 40 minutes later and I had dissolved into a steam of tears, that were only broken up by the smile stretched right across my face. To me, this is the closest film I've seen that I would consider being perfect. My favourite film is The Godfather, with Godfather Part Two right alongside, but no film gives me such an emotionally rewarding experience as Field Of Dreams. This truly is a film dipped in magic waters.

Why do I love this film so?

The acting right across the board is naturalistic and strong. We believe the characters when they say what they say and do what they do. The whole tone and design of the film let us believe in the choices the characters make, we want Ray to build the field and have Shoeless Joe appear, we want Terrance Mann to go Finway Park with Ray, we want Archie Graham to get to play his dream, and most of all, even though we don't expect it or see it coming (well I didn't), we want Ray to get to throw a catch with his dad.>

The design, again, is wonderful. The lighting, and cinematography make your eyes and your heart ache, the magic hour lighting, the little break in Ray's voice when he asks his dad if he wants to have a catch, the moment Doc steps over the field and into the present to save Karin, when Mark mouths "What the f..." upon first seeing Doc Graham, the score, the fact that they talk about smoking grass and trying acid in what is essentially a family film in content and marketing, when Archie Graham gets picked up on the way back home and says "Hi, I'm Archie Graham", the sheer MAGIC!!!

Anyone thinking they may even be slightly put off by thinking the film is a baseball film, don't be. It's not about baseball, the sport serves as the backdrop for a story about loss, reconciliation, parents and family, dreams and having the courage to go through them. It really is a universal and timeless film, which is a cliched saying, but this is really one of those cases where it more than justifies the comment. Simply beautiful.
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Wonderful, joyous piece of America where dreams are possible!
movieman916 October 1999
I truly believe that every once in a blue moon, a film can contain a sense of wonder, magic, and the power of dreams. The title says it all. "Field of Dreams" is destined to become (if it hasn't already) an American classic, and easily one of the most engrossing films of the eighties. Throughout the decade, we have seen a crock of films that capitalized on getting as much of anything the characters could grasp (hence the "me decade"). This film, made in 1989, reaffirmed what we learned from Hollywood in the forties, that dreams can come true and people can be saved by what they choose to believe in. And to top it all off, baseball is its subject. The great American pastime takes on a mystical quality that is nothing but immortal.

Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a corn farmer that seems to be stranded in his life, only choosing his profession because it allowed him to get away from the idealized dreams of his father that never became reality. One day, while roaming aimlessly through his cornfield, he hears a unknown voice speak to him, saying the words that have become synonomous with the film itself, "If you build it, he will come." He is compelled by the strange message, and even convinces his wife what he heard was real and definite. He believes that the simple words mean he is to build a baseball diamond in his field, and he sets out to do just that, and he indeed does one heck of a job. After at least half a year passes, following endless strains on their patience, who should show up in the field but Shoeless Joe Jackson, the famous alleged criminal from the 1919 Black Sox Scandal who was dismissed from the game of baseball forever, until now...

After all that is said and done, the film takes a back road and curves it into this storyline brilliantly. Ray receives a second message which he deciphers as getting a famous civil rights writer, Terence Mann (played wonderfully by James Earl Jones), to come visit his new ballfield. Of course it is to be expected that Mann begrudgingly resists Ray to join him, but he too becomes propelled by the power of the field's magic, and his life (like Ray's) is changed forever. Even Burt Lancaster shows up out of thin air (literally), but that's a different part of the plot altogether that I wouldn't dare reveal in fear someone reading this review has incompetently not seen this picture.

"Field of Dreams" is one of the strangest films I've seen, and possibly one of the best. When it throws its subject matter at you, you wonder how a story so preposterous can ever work. But somehow, I was deeply moved like Costner and Jones were by the miraculous incidents put in front of me. This film is not like any fantasy film I've seen, but in a way, it is like many that I've encountered. Some of my favorite movies elicited such an amazing feeling of warmth and grace in me that I was afraid to analyse it for fear that it would ruin the awesome impact I received. "Field of Dreams" is exactly like that, an odd piece of moviemaking that overwhelms you with its wonder and positive qualities that in turn leaves no doubt it is a classic, just from the way it moves you while watching it. Therefore, I'm not going to try to pick it apart and attempt to show the world my "field" of brilliance. All I will say is this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be reeling out more often, a tiny masterpiece that lets others be refreshed in their faith and believe in their crazy little fantasies. Ray Kinsella did, and now, so do I. Rating: Four stars.
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"...and the memories will be so thick they will have to brush them away from their faces."
jaws-1322 January 1999
It's American. It's corny (pun intended, I'm sorry). When I stop and think about it, it's laughable but the immutable truth is that this is naively beautiful on almost every frontier. I have watched this film so many times and though inside I know the ladled sentiment should be cringeworthy-especially for a cynic such as somehow never fails to utterly absorb me.

Horner's musical score is haunting and mesmerising and adds so strongly to the whole ethereal feeling that this film exudes.

The acting is extraordinary in that they pull off corny lines without provoking me to laughter or cringing, with the possible exception of James Earl Jones speech "...the one constant is baseball...".

I even have to admit that Kostner is good (painful though it is).

You may not like or understand doesn't matter. This is not a film about baseball. Its about relationships (particularly about father son relationships) and it tugs on every heart string.

There was a review of this film which first intrigued me enough to watch it several years ago. I cannot remember who said it but if memory serves me well his summation of Field of Dreams was this...

"Could you ever really love someone who didn't cry at this film, even just a little?"

Nuff said.
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Touches you in all the right places
Rob8 September 2004
Films don't get better than field of Dreams. When you got back to the late eighties and early nineties you will find that Kevin Costner was the biggest actor to employ at that time as he starred in lots of major films like Dances with wolves which of course he directed, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, A Perfect World, JFK and Field of Dremas which I think delivers his best performance of all those films.

Costner is Ray who one day takes a walk into his corn field only to hear a voice saying 'If you build it, he will come'. This sends him crazy as it's all he can hear. He thinks on to what the voice maybe wants him to do and let's his feeling be known to his family and the only idea he can come up with is that he should build a baseball pitch in the middle of his field. He does with the backing of his family and nothing comes of it till one night somebody in a 1920's baseball kit turns up on his field out of the blue ready to play Baseball. This happens to be the great Shoeless Joe Jackson who is now dead but has come back to play the game he was once banned from playing. The story unfolds to more odd goings on and sends Ray onto a journey of self discovery with some beautiful moments ahead. Field of dreams is not a film that gets mentioned when it comes to Costner's career but I think it holds his best and most touching performance. Anybody who likes a feel good film like It's a Wonderful Life will ultimately fall in love with this film by the end as the more it goes on the more you find out why Ray was guided to build the pitch and follow the voice which he throughout the film makes no sense of what it he is looking for.

It touches you in all the places and just makes you feel good about yourself and sends an important message out about spending as much time your family as much as you possibly can til it's to late.

Trust me, you cannot go wrong with this film.
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Beautiful Film
yisraelharris10 June 2006
It is truly a rare movie indeed to which I would give a 10. But this is one of my all-time favorites.

This is a movie about themes like reconciliation, destiny, redemption, idealism, disappointment, the difficulty of relationships, especially that of the father-son relationship.

In this movie, the baseball field is where all such issues achieve resolution.

This is such a gentle movie, full of such sincerity, and moving emotions. Although it is by no means an upbeat movie, it is nevertheless ultimately a very optimistic and positive movie.

As some reviewers have noticed, some suspension of disbelief is required.

A movie with no guns, violence, gangsters, no gratuitous sex, just down-to-earth good people, and a good message. What a gem.

P.S. Interestingly, there really was a Moonlight Graham. See his baseball career stats here: Some of the details of his life are altered in the movie; cf.
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My favorite
brux27 December 1998
A classic combination of sport, family, fantasy, faith, reconciliation, and redemption, all set in the heartland combine to put this film at #1 on the all-time list for me. I know, I know,...what about Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Godfather? You're telling us that Field of Dreams ranks higher? I saw Field of Dreams on Father's Day following its release, having no clue how the issue of father-son relationships would be addressed in the film. By the time the closing credits were rolling, this film had left a lasting impression because I could identify with so many of the themes in the film. The acting is fine/adequate, and as a whole this film may not compare to the "greats" I've previously mentioned. But it delivered in a powerful way with things I can relate to and treasure. I'd appreciate any comments and strongly recommend it to those who haven't seen it. Thank you.
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Can't Watch It Anymore
donsveen1 June 2004
I've always considered myself a bit of a film buff, and have always been leery of baseball movies. Most are pretty stupid, especially when you get to see what a bunch of weenie-arms most actors are (OK, Charlie Sheen, Costner and Kurt Russell actually know how to play...) I did read all 170 of the comments about this movie, because I was intrigued to read what people who are undoubtedly from all persuasions think of it (even many from other countries). One thing that amazed me was the number of baseball fans who recommended Bull Durham, which I found just average and Major League, which was slapstick at its worst. Anyhow, I digress...

I've read a lot of user comments on this site and usually there is a widely divergent range of opinions. Not with this film, though. My rough estimate was about 160 "excellent/changed my life" to about 10 "overrated/corny/historically incorrect". That's a pretty amazing record.

That all being said, and I apologize if this has been a little long-winded, but this is a wonderful movie. I can relate especially now as I am about to move my family to New Hampshire (with few prospects) just because it will be a little closer to the ideal America I am looking for. I'd like to think this movie helped give me the courage.) Yes, this is about the only time Costner is perfectly cast. It seems he is playing himself. The others are excellent, as well.

I think this movie needs some revisionist historians to take another look. The conventional wisdom seems to be a 3 to 3.5 star film. No way, I say. It's much too magical to be anything other than 4 stars. The "It's a Wonderful Life" comparisons are apt. Perhaps it should be put in a time capsule. Another thing I thought was particularly interesting is that how many people who either don't like or understand baseball (their loss) seem to love this movie. They even go so far as to say "it's not even about baseball." What a great compliment, indeed, for a movie- that so many people get so much out of, for so many different reasons. Of course, if you do love baseball for the sheer beauty and grace of it, along with the undeniable impact/fabric it has had on America, then this movie does border on the religious experience (which many have alluded to).

All in all, I have greatly enjoyed all of your comments, (especially those from our UK, Aussie, and Kiwi friends), and the reason I have stopped watching Field of Dreams (in reference to my summary's title), is because I'm tired of how my wife laughs at me for always crying in the end...and by the way, I get along just fine with my Dad!!
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Without a doubt the most magical vibe to ever come on the screen!
josh-hall21 December 2004
I have now seen this film around 12 times in two months and i can safely say this is one of my all time favourite pictures!It has everything1 excellent acting from Costner,Earl Jones and the great late Burt Lancaster in one of his last film roles which is definably one of his finest.Ray Liotta also was amazing for one of his first roles as Shoeless Joe Jackson which i felt could not of gone to anyone else but Liotta.The storyline is dazzling as well as the acting and the dialogue.This movie is an incredible and a times comical experience.Every actor in this film should feel more than proud they were in this amazing feel good movie which has never deserved a bad review. This for me is definitely a 10 out of 10 picture which i might watch again tonight actually even though i only saw it yesterday.
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Indulge Me!!!
dataconflossmoor5 November 2007
It is simply amazing to realize what length a person will go to in order to pursue a conviction!! Kevin Costner's character in "Field of Dreams" is one whereby he feels that a devotion to a belief is far more important than the day to day rigors of living...Baseball was indeed a passion for him, as were the 1960's a passion for him!! These culminating interests resonated an end result whereby Kevin Costner's fascination with a prominent writer, Terence Mann became imminently pertinent. Terance Mann was a writer who necessitated viewpoints concerning the emerging radicalism during the tumultuous era of the 1960's!! Mann purveyed many ideologically poignant philosophies which had left an indelible impact on many individuals!! The characters that Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan played in this movie, were two such people!!

What was the significance to baseball in this movie? Essentially, it was the pursuit of how an American icon which upholds the rigid beliefs that following your dreams can materialize into a higher social consciousness. Such a fervor would be the prevailing concept which astutely sums it up!! Baseball had made a tremendous resurgence in the 1980's, and a philosophical fixation, as demonstrated in "Field of Dreams", which was made in 1987, accommodated such a pique!! If it is a lifelong goal to be the best baseball player in the major league that you can possibly be, than, this is not just another job for a baseball player, it is, in fact, an adamant attempt to be a legend!! What person in their right mind would put a baseball field in the middle of valuable farmland? Who would drive 1,200 miles away to Boston for no real reason whatsoever? Someone who recognizes the importance of building a dream!!

So!! What is to indulge in this movie?

Basically Everything!!!

What this means is that none of this movie is realistic, all of it is hypothetical, something that we have chosen to leave to the imagination!! This is what makes this film so marvelous!! The movie "Field of Dreams" is a proliferation of the idea that your persistent curiosity has the yearning desire to unearth a spiritual and emotional fervor which is truly genuine!! Why is this so important? Because we know that spiritually, and emotionally, there is so much more to get out of life than we wind up attaining!! It is very enlightening when someone is motivated by an ideological passion!! This baseball field cultivated a panacea for dedicated believers in a lofty concept about understanding the human nature of anyone who played and loved baseball!! This movie, as well as "The Natural", were two baseball movies which emanate a seemingly worthwhile tenet of cogency concerning an acquisition of a feasible idealism!! I truly feel that this movie is a must for all movie viewers.. The historical perspective in this movie is truly incredible!! The acting in "Field of Dreams" is sensational, Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, and even a cameo appearance by Burt Lancaster made this film a bonanza for acting brilliance!! Robinson's directing efforts for this movie are absolutely spectacular!! The revelation that baseball has homogenized the kindred spirits of someone's ideological premise for their intellectually tenacious ambitions, only means one thing, this is America!!! In my books, this film gets a resounding THUMBS UP!!
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A Memorable Film For Most Men
ccthemovieman-110 January 2007
The movie is a rarity in one respect: a non-violent film that is almost strictly a man's film, one that brought tears to millions of men who watched it. For one thing, anyone who has ever played catch with his dad will be very touched by this story.

This is pure fantasy and has some schlock, if I'm using the right word, mixed in with some sickeningly-Sixties Liberalism but the good parts are SO good that they far outweigh anything else and make this film one I've always treasured.

To me, this movie has many memorable scenes, too many too mention here especially since there are enough reviews already. Suffice to say it's hard to beat those nighttime shots of the ball diamond between the house and cornfield and those mystical moments when the players suddenly appear on the diamond. My favorite character in the movie was "Doc" Graham, played superbly by Burt Lancaster in the last movie role he ever played, and by Frank Whaley as a younger "Archie."

Kevin Costner, as "Ray Kinsella," the star of the film, is outstanding, too. It's nice to see a guy who knows how to play baseball. Costner is a fine ballplayer in his own right.

I didn't care for his wife, "Annie," in here, played by Amy Madigan, who supplies us with a lot of the Liberal propaganda with her PTA "debate," a few other comments and just the way she sees things, although she is a great wife in here to a husband who appeared to have lost his marbles. She was supportive and loving: what more does a husband need?

James Earl Jones is good as the former leftist radical who would rather leave his past behind and just extol the virtues of baseball, which he does here expertly. I loved the scene with he and Kevin Costner at Fenway Park in Boston. Ray Liotta, who plays "Joe Jackson," became a star because of this movie.

Politics aside, this a special movie to anyone who has dreams, yearns at times for the good 'ole days, loves baseball, enjoys a good time-travel-type of story and is a sentimentalist at heart. I plead "guilty" on all counts.

If you own the special-edition, or rent it, please check out some of the features. They are among the best I have ever watched on a DVD. This is one of those films that inspired me to buy the book, too.
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Capra meets Serling for 1980's joyously multi genre hankie wetter.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
Coming back to Field Of Dreams over 20 years after its release finds this particular viewer beaming with happiness that the warmth I felt way back when still washes over me in the same way. Director Phil Alden Robinson (All of Me/Fletch) manages to turn W.P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe, into a multi genre film with deep emotional heart for both sexes to latch on to. It has a beautiful mix of mythology and family values that come together to realise a dream that ultimately rewards those viewers who are prepared to open themselves up to pure fantasy with a deep emotional core.

It was nominated for best picture in 1989 because it struck a cord with so many people, it's not just the thematic heart of the film that delivers, it's also the actors on show who perfectly realise this delightful tale. Kevin Costner is surrounded by great workers in Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan and Burt Lancaster, and he wisely lets these actors dominate the scenes that he shares with them, it's something that is an often forgotten good point of Costner's performances; that he is comfortable to let his co-stars dominate important narrative snatches. However, he is the glue that binds the whole film together, it's quite a naturally engaging performance that rightly gave him the star status he would achieve post release of the film.

As a born and bred Englishman I don't profess to appreciate just how much a way of life Baseball is to Americans, but I do have my own sports in England that I'm happy to dream the dream with in equal measure, and with that I understand all the themes in Field Of Dreams big time. Most of all, though, I can involve myself with its family values, the dream of dreams, and because it's undeniably pure escapist cinema for those who aren't afraid to let their respective guards down for a wee short while, the rewards are many. With a lush James Horner score evocatively layered over the top of it and John Lindley's photography almost ethereal at times, production is suitably in the fantasy realm.

Never twee or over sweet, Field of Dreams is a magical movie in more ways than one. A film that manages to have its cake and eat it and then closes down with one of the most beautiful endings of the 80's. Field of Dreams, still hitting Home Runs after all these years. 9/10
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Baseball, science fiction, romance of America
amctcm6 March 1999
As a casual baseball fan, who does truly love the game, I realized how much I see it as a major symbol of America when I listened to James Earl Jones, aka Terrence Mann, give the soliloquy about the game toward the end of the film. It truly does go on as something basically good and fine, even through the scandals. I cry every time Ray meets John, no matter how much I try to fight it. Who doesn't giggle when Mann enters the corn field, knowing we'd like to go there too?

Who doesn't get the same choking up when Ray realizes that Doc Graham can't play again? Who doesn't remember times that people like Mark have refused to "see" things that require faith.

The casting of this film was true genius. Every single time I watch it, I see more. Unfortunately, when I show it to my seventh grade students, I do have to "zap" out the PTA meeting because of the language. works; the kids love it!

Watch it again and again...for the baseball, for the science fiction, for the metaphors about the game, and for the sheer fun of being a kid again and not worrying if it makes sense!
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B. Caesar Cubillos8 September 2002
I literally bawled like a baby at the end of this movie. It is still easily one of my favorites. Kevin Costner makes great movies about baseball, since this one and Bull Durham are both fantastic. I can't describe the emotions you'll feel during the movie's climax, which I won't ruin for anyone who hasn't yet seen the film.

Perhaps my own issues with my own father made this movie even more personally emotional to me. Anyone who has ever had issues with a parent needs to watch this.

Great performances by James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster. A must see movie, IMO.
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is this heaven?
timlastik15 January 2007
Totally illogical.

No one is able to realize how fascinating this movie is until they have the right feeling to watch the inner voice and sense it whenever they reckon it is one of theirs.

The introduction sound and view of the corns behind Kevin Costner's shoulders are perfect.If you build it he will come...

I don't know which part is the best yet.But one of the most touching part is the moment that Doc is crossing the line to save Karin although he knows he could never be a Moonlight Graham again.Afterward everybody congratulates him.This is free will.Thus when the time comes we should make a choice.

Maybe there is some place called heaven, maybe not.If we build it at the right time at the right place, you might have some idea what heaven is.

Everybody should see this movie to understand the flawless value of our lives.Because there would be no other chance.
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He was growing something more than just corn...
katt10130 May 2005
I won't say that this was the worst movie I have ever seen, because there are sure a lot of stinkers. However this seems to be the worst well reviewed movie. A lot of people thought it was great; I just found it to be moronic. The reluctant corn farmer (played by Kevin Costner) hears voices telling him to build a baseball field in his corn field. He somehow is able to obtain the lights and necessary equipment to do so. Don't even try to make sense of any of the logic in this movie - there isn't any. Once the field is built a bunch of ghost baseball players come out of the cornfields to play ball. However only a few people (probably those who have used LSD) can see them.

Through it all despite the fact that his loss of cropland used to build this ball is going to cause the them to lose the farm Costner grinds on with steely resolve. Farmer Costner's wife played by some actress that I thankfully have never seen before.) supports him all the way with a kind of annoying perkiness and pluck that she must have learned from watching tapes of Kathy Lee Gifford and Katie Couric. As this ludicrous farce progresses Costner drives off to pick up a washed-up hippy author played by James Earl Jones. The character of Jones has nothing to do with the plot of the movie but apparently those who made it just wanted him in the movie. Costner and Jones then pick up the ghost of a ball player turned doctor (played by Burt Lancaster.) Lancaster loved being a doctor but always regretted giving up playing ball now he has a second chance until he save Costners daughter from choking on a hot-dog. She was accidentally pushed off the bleachers by the farmers evil banker brother-in-law who has come to foreclose on the farm's mortgage. Once Lancaster has become a doctor to save the child's life he can no longer play ball. As I wrote before don't even try to figure out this. films logic. Everything ends well however since there are cares lined up in front of the farm to pay 20 dollars to watch ghosts play baseball. the ghost of Costner's character's father, a one time ball player then shows up to play catch with his son - Oh how sweet! The best thing about the movie was that it finally ended. Do not watch this piece of garbage.
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Uninspired, wishy-washy drivel
silvercreature29 September 2004
This beloved movie has irritated me for years. I'd seen it many years ago, before knowing just how popular it is and didn't really have much of an opinion on it one way or another.

However, within the past year, I've twice viewed it and I now feel compelled to say that the fact that it has such a favourable score on this site, along with dozens of glowing reviews, is absolutely baffling to me.

I have no idea how this movie can appeal to anyone on any level. The fact that it's managed to ensnare its fair share of people who aren't even really into baseball is even more disturbing because I always figured that if you're fiercely devoted to a sport, you can make yourself like any movie that paints it in such a positive and mystical light.

Many reviews on this site state that this movie isn't really about baseball, but is instead about deeper things such as family, regret and what it means to live. I can see how the movie may ATTEMPT to be about these things, but it fails quite miserably.

I should also point out that this movie is based on an extremely poorly written book. If you don't believe me, pick it up and try to force yourself to read the entire thing - it's quite a painful experience. The movie obviously changes some things from the book as all movie adaptations of novels do but it certainly doesn't make things any better. The plot is still a lazily slapped-together mash of events that are either cheesy and bland beyond belief or simply nonsensical (and quite often, both at once!)

I've seen movies in which a character is compelled to do something fairly out of the ordinary and is criticized for it by his peers before (in this case, a mysterious voice give Kinsella extremely vague instructions that he decides he MUST follow) but in those films and stories, the character actually winds up ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING in the end. Building a baseball field so that the spirits of a bunch of deceased baseball players who played more than enough of the game in their respective lifetimes can come together and play again strikes me as utterly pointless. True, as James Earl Jones' character puts it in the end, "the people will come without knowing why and they'll pay twenty dollars each or more just to see" - the final shot proves that this is what's happening and it does solve the problem of Kinsella going bankrupt. However, the whole reason he's broke is because he built the field on his farmland, thusly destroying his livelihood! That's pretty circular, doncha think? Pointless? What has he really gained in the end? A chance to play catch with his father? I realize how that can be a meaningful thing but I question whether or not that justifies the entire movie.

As far as I can tell, nothing justifies pretty much any of the paranormal crap that goes on in this film. I know there are tons of movies with magic and over the top stuff that rely on the suspension of belief - hell, a lot of my favourite movies are quite fantastical and weird - but all that stuff seems extremely out of place in this movie. There's no explanation for any of the stuff that occurs and everything happens so haphazardly that it comes across as though the author just made it all up as he went along. Example: on his insane quest across the country for Jones' character, the reclusive author (in the book he was J.D. Sallinger - I have no idea why the filmmakers saw fit to change that), Kinsella suddenly, without warning, warps through time to the early seventies where he meets a former baseball player who is now an aged doctor. Kinsella isn't surprised in the least by this, I might add -Costner wanders through the events of the movie with this terrible, spaced-out look but never shows any range of emotion beyond that - and he asks the doctor to accompany him back to Iowa. (which reminds me - "Is this Heaven?" "No, it's Iowa." how can you hear lines like that and not vomit?) The doctor declines. Not to worry, because on the drive back, Kinsella inexplicably encounters another incarnation of the doctor in the present timeline (in which he would be quite dead) as a much younger man, practically a boy, and picks him and takes him back to the farm where he will perform the immeasurably important and earth-shatteringly significant act of playing baseball with a bunch of other dead guys. (and don't tell me he saves the girl's life - he wacks her on the back!)

I could go on and on, taking this movie down scene by scene but I won't bother. I will, however, point out that the filmmakers did a remarkable job of representing Kinsella's wife as she is portrayed in the book - that is, an insepid halfwit who stands by her husband's lunatic actions and is more effective as background colour in scenes than as a character. The added scene depicting the PTA meeting must be the filmmakers' attempt to somewhat animate her character but, as it has pretty much nothing to do with the rest of the plot, it just comes across as annoying. I realize that in that scene they mention the reclusive author but that only works since the author's identity was changed from that in the book in the first place.

I applaud anyone who is passionately involved with a sport on some level - it's a great feeling and I think that sports can mean a lot more than just a bunch of guys playing a meaningless "game". That said, I feel anyone who's really into baseball should be angry that this movie exists. If anyone made a movie this bad about a sport I love, I'd be beyond horrified.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I know there are scores of you who will disagree with me. But I'm yet to read a review on this site at least, where anyone comes even close to describing the merits of this movie. I hate to say it, but a lot of people come across as though they've simply been brainwashed either by an obsessive love for baseball (which probably isn't a bad thing on its own) or by the fact that the movie tries very hard to be emotionally compelling or perhaps a mixture of both.

As far as sappy movies go, this isn't the worst, but the fact that it's sappy as hell with a whole bunch of meaningless, paranormal garbage thrown in definitely makes it the most annoying. Anyone who says that they were "moved" by this movie would probably go nuts over the book, what with all the horrible clichés, awful dialogue and bland, uninspired imagery that couldn't be crammed into the movie.

Avoid at all costs unless the thought of ghost baseball players coming to life to stand around, scratch themselves and spit all over again makes you tear up. This movie's popularity will forever shake my faith in humankind.
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"Hey rookie... you were good."
anythingyouwant26 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Pure magic.

This film, steeped in film legend, is by far one of the best movies Hollywood has ever produced. From the opening line, "If you build it, he will come." to the ending line, "Hey dad... do you want to have a catch?" give me chills every time I watch this movie. Ray Kinsella is played by Kevin Costner (who does a fantastic job I might add), and Terence Mann is played by James Earl Jones; the man could talk about taxes and I would give him 5 stars. Apart from being the greatest baseball movie ever made, this film is profoundly original, riddling one with questions such as: "Where do I go when I die?" and "Do miracles really happen?" It adds elements into it to make the film boundless without the watcher knowing it. I can relate this film to Back to the Future; it transports you to another time where everything is a coincidence, and nothing is impossible. However, nothing in this movie comes close to Burt Lancaster's performance as Archie "Moonlight" Graham. Every line the man gives is profoundly emotional and acted to perfection. I need to choke back tears even more so now, because I have seen the movie a couple times and know what is coming. Dr. Graham gives up his dream to save Kinsella's girl Karen; never able to come back after he steps off of the baseball field. Ray's line, "Oh my God, you can't go back." just brings a smile to the old man's face as he says, "It's all right, it's all right." Perfect. The only word I can use to describe this film. For although some say it has its flaws, historical, factual, or whatever, I believe that this movie more than makes up for them by dragging one into it's world and not letting go. I will give everyone this advice, go home and watch this movie. It doesn't matter if you have seen it before (that may even make it better) go rent it or buy it please. This movie deserves to been seen by as many people as it can.

"Go the distance."
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Best Baseball Movie Ever
49ers4ever5 July 2006
In my opinion, this is the best baseball movie ever created; possibly even the best sports movie ever created. It's got everything; great acting, historic and nostalgic baseball, and just a great story overall. Kevin Costner is the perfect part for movies like this, as he was in Bull Durham and For Love of the Game. If you've ever played or loved baseball, this movie will bring back warm, sentimental memories of those simple times in your life that involved a simple game of catch, or those baseball heroes and villains that you grew up reading about. James Earl Jones is on top of his game as a 60's activist writer, as well as Ray Liotta as the ornery Shoeless Joe Jackson. This is, quite simply, a must-see movie.
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You'll need Aspirin, not Kleenex
martin-benjamin15 May 2005
Within about 15 minutes of starting this movie, my wife was begging me to change the channel. I was curious to find out where an early mysterious moment would lead, and I didn't think that the movie could really be as bad as my wife's radar was reporting, so I talked her into staying with it for a little while. Her natural defense mechanisms kicked in, and she was completely asleep by the time we were 1/2 hour into the show.

Stupid me, I went to IMDb and checked out the user opinions, and saw that the reviews were really positive. Thinking that so many good reviews meant that the movie would have to get good by the end, I stuck with it. Many strange, illogical, and disconnected things happen. It all turns out to be a sappy pop-psych religious parable that doesn't work at all on a theological level. Whereas other readers report rivers of tears by the end of the movie, I was holding my head in my hands, pained both by the insipid movie and my stupid decision to stay with it.

On the plus side, it has some nice cinematography. Also, it is not the usual Hollywood movie formula, so at least you can't predict all of the plot elements long before they happen.

I ended up watching the movie all the way through. My wife had a good long Saturday afternoon nap. I'm sure she got the better end of the deal.
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Hey, is this Heaven? 'No, it's Iowa.'
TxMike22 June 2004
We bought the 15th anniversary DVD of 'Field of Dreams' recently, and watching it all the way through on DVD was quite a treat. I probably saw it on VHS several times over the years, and a few edited versions on TV, but seeing it this way was magical. It is one of my wife's favorite movies. Most viewers know the story by now. Much of the unfolding of the story has to do with mending relationships and helping others achieve unfulfilled dreams. A fine movie, and perhaps the best role of Costner's.

The DVD has a number of interesting extras, but I haven't viewed them yet. Even though the film is from the 1980s, and some grain is noticeable, the transfer to DVD uses a 'superbit' type of high data rate, so we see the images much as they originally were in the theater.

March 2014 update: My wife and I watched it again, a fine, magical story.
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America's National Sport: Hallucinating.
Robert J. Maxwell31 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Kevin Costner is Ray Kinsella, an uncertain Iowa corn farmer with a loving wife, cute daughter, big farmhouse, and many acres of land worth $2200 each. And one night, messing around in the corn, it seems to become alien. "If you build it, he will come," whispers a voice. His wife chuckles and dismisses the experience, as do his fellow farmers at the feed store. But this is a fantasy, not a psychiatric case study, and Costner interprets the command to mean, "Mow down half your corn crop and build a baseball field and bleachers in its place." He does so, putting his farm at risk, although things begin to happen. The whole 1916 Chicago White Sox team appears out of the remaining crop and happily begin to play and cuss each other out, all of them ghosts of course. Costner can see them and so can his wife and little girl but the evil mortgage company can't.

Other commands come to Costner, like, "Ease his pain." And "Archie Midnight Graham." They lead him to spend what little cash he has left on a cross-country trip to enlist the reclusive James Earl Jones, as a J. D. Salinger figure, and Burt Lancaster as a failed ball player who became a country doctor and died years ago, so he must be resurrected too, like the baseball players.

It has to do with the fulfillment of dreams, I guess. And Costner has personal issues involving his estrangement from his now deceased father. The musical score, which sounds at times as if it were being played on musical glasses, boosts the already high sentimentality quotient. The viewer's eyes brim with tears as he watches the awe with which the ghosts and the living interact, the long impregnated pauses between lines, while the viewer tries not to cry or to swoon.

Warning: Tea Party types, avoid this. Never mind any regard you have for baseball. There is a confrontation at the PTA meeting between Costner's liberal wife and a "Nazi cow" who wants to ban a novel written years ago by Jones because it's pornographic and the author might be a Commie. Jones, who was at the barricades during the 60s, is held up as a hero who is disillusioned with the past. There are references to "Tricky Dick." Not that the movie is a rabble rouser. Costner's wife's attitudes may be liberal but they're viewer friendly. "Whatever happened to the First Amendment?", she asks the PTA audience. And, "Who wants to spit on the Constitution?" The whole movie at times seems to be aimed at recovering the dreams of the 1960s, not 1916, when the White Sox blew the World Series. The message is, "Never give up your dreams." Try to remember that. One of the problems is that the dreams are already lost. Even the illusions are faded and yellow. Forget baseball and the 1960s. It might as well be, "Remember the Maine".

When I was a child there was only one game, the National Sport, and it was professional baseball. But then our patience (or impatience) evolved. Baseball fans had to sit around during time outs, and wait for the pitcher to check out the bases and pause, then the wind up, then the pitch -- as likely as not, a ball at which the batter did not swing. It required forbearance.

Then professional football replaced the college amateurs. It was faster and more brutal than baseball. Then professional basketball, in which the action is constant. And then professional hockey, a metaphor for war in which the combatants are already armed. Do we have professional cage fighting yet? I forget.

Well, the movie is a fantasy, after all, and isn't meant to evoke Deep Thoughts about the evolution of our national character. The ghosts of various period don't seem to follow any particular rules in their comings and goings. The movie doesn't either. I don't know why James Earl Jones was dragged into the story or why he disappears into the now welcoming corn.

But the casting is nearly perfect. If you want two more gentlemanly types than Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, you'd have to search the corn fields for them. Even Burt Lancaster has now grown old enough so that his voice, though distinctively his, has a slight gargle and his presence is comforting. And that Iowa farm, with the big white house perched placidly on its knoll, surrounded by what looks like an infinity of leafy forest green, is unforgettably accommodating, as are the many sunsets.
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fantastic film from an even more fantastic book
bdutchins27 January 2013
I remember seeing this gem for the first time in the theatre and how it affected me emotionally.

Had to be one of the best movies from the summer of 1989, this is an fantastic film from an even more fantastic book. The central theme of this movie is about regret and having the opportunity to get second chances. Even though the audience doesn't learn till the end of the movie what Kevin Costner's character's regret and redemption is, we experience some amazing and interesting co-starring wonderful characters (with Ray Liotta "Shoeless Joe" and Burt Lancaster's as the country doctor). The actors James Jones and Amy Madigan keep the storyline so well grounded, and only at the end of the movie does the magic we have been waiting for really take off.

Kevin Costner is just brilliant to watch in this movie. This movie has to be one of his better performances that he has ever given. There was the potential to get all sappy and go over the top with his role, but much to my satisfaction he keeps everything even keel.

Phil Robinson, the director, has created a wonderful movie with engrossing soundtrack combined with the most amazing and cinematic cinematography. Highly recommended for being a wonderful family movie.
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A little magic + a little baseball = a great film
FlushingCaps19 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
My wife and I just saw this on DVD, having seen the film a few times before. I read the novel "Shoeless Joe" before the movie came out and thought it excellent. Somehow, this movie grows on me. I liked it better on this viewing than ever before.

The negative reviewers seem to have missed the purpose of building the field, which was explained by Ray before he started building the field. He continued on despite the problems because he believed he "had" to.

I think you can argue that the movie is better than the novel, even though large portions are omitted from the film. The PTA scene greatly filled out Annie's role over the novel.

One line I loved that rarely gets mentioned, is when Ray is building the field, explaining some baseball history to his daughter. He asks "How can you explain...(about Jackson's role in the 1919 Scandal)" and she answers, "I can't" as though he really expected her to explain it. This film was filled with all sorts of great lines, most famously led by James Earl Jones' speech near the end, which is one of the great speeches in movie history, in my mind.

To anyone who obtains the DVD, I most highly recommend watching the many extras about making the movie, including the articles about the real life hero Doc Graham actually was in Chisholm, Minnesota. Collectively, these extras were the best I've ever seen on a DVD.

As for the negative critics--I don't understand why you would point out little, factual negatives about a movie that was most definitely light-hearted, fun, whimsical, magical, etc. I do not believe these negatives come close to overcoming the many joys this film delivers.

As an aside, I also urge anyone to visit the filming locations near Dyersville, Iowa. If you forget to bring your glove and ball, don't worry, they will LEND you (no charge) what you need to "have a catch". It is a wonderful place to visit after seeing the movie.
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