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Field of Dreams (1989) Poster

Trivia

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After the movie was completed test audiences didn't like the name "Shoeless" Joe Jackson because they said it sounded like a movie about a bum or hobo. Universal called director-screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson to tell him that "Shoeless Joe" didn't work, and the studio changed the title of the film to "Field of Dreams". When Robinson heard the news of the change, he called W.P. Kinsella, the author of the book, and told him the "bad" news, but apparently he didn't care, saying that "Shoeless Joe" was the title the publishing company gave the book. Kinsella's original title was "Dream Field".
"The Final Shot" was a big community event, enlisting 1,500 volunteers to drive for the last scene. For only a brief time could the headlights and also the blue of the sky be shown in one shot. The first take was too bright. On the second shot the lighting was perfect, but the camera f-stop was messed up. Just before the third and final shot, the director realized that as with any heavy traffic, most of the cars weren't moving. They would just look like lights on posts. He relayed a quick instruction through the local radio station: flash your high beams on and off. Though the cars are not moving, this simulated the appearance of lights passing behind obstructions to perfect effect.
The shot of the line-drive knocking over the bag of baseballs next to Kevin Costner was sheer luck off the bat of Ray Liotta.
The studio built the baseball diamond on an actual farm in Dyersville, Iowa. After the filming was completed, the family owning the farm kept the field, and added a small hut where you could buy inexpensive souvenirs. As of 2012, visitors were free to come to the field and play baseball as they please.
Burt Lancaster was unaware that Timothy Busfield was part of the cast, and had him fetching water and chairs before realizing Busfield was going to be in the scene with him.
You can enter the following in Google Maps - 42°29'51.8"N 91°03'18.4"W - for the location of the field built for the film.
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson remarks about Ty Cobb's desire to play at the Field of Dreams (1989), "None of could stand the son of a bitch when he was alive, so, we told him to stick it." In real life, both players were very close friends. In Jackson's later life, when he ran a liquor store in South Carolina, Cobb stopped there to buy bourbon. During the sale, Jackson made no sign of recognition to Cobb, until Cobb finally said, "For God's sakes, Joe, don't you remember me?" Jackson somberly replied, "Well, sure, I remember you, Ty. I just didn't think anyone wanted to remember me anymore."
The movie's line "If you build it, he will come." was voted as the #39 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).
According to supplementary material on the DVD edition of this film, shortly before shooting began, the actor who played Ray Kinsella's father, Dwier Brown, was notified that his father unfortunately passed away. Immediately after the funeral, he traveled directly from the funeral to filming in Iowa for the scene. He stated that although the emotion was too fresh and painful, it had an effect on how he eventually played his scene with Kevin Costner.
Tom Hanks was originally offered the role of Ray Kinsella but turned it down.
The last cinema film of Burt Lancaster. He was 74 at the time of filming.
Thousands of pallets of green grass were brought in to make the baseball field, but due to the haste in planting because of the shooting schedule, the grass was not able to grow appropriately and died. In order to keep the grass green, the production crew painted the grass.
Then unknown, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are among the thousands of extras in the Fenway Park scene, and are uncredited. Over a decade later, when Phil Alden Robinson welcomed Affleck to the set of The Sum of All Fears (2002), Affleck said, "Nice working with you again." Robinson asked, "What do you mean 'again'?" and Affleck explained the connection.
Archibald "Moonlight" Wright Graham was a real baseball player. On 29 June 1905, with the New York Giants, he played one Major League Baseball game. Following that one game he continued playing professionally through the 1908 season, mostly in the New York State League, until retiring at the age of 30.
Ray Liotta bats right-handed and throws left-handed. The real 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson batted left-handed and threw right-handed - exactly the opposite of the way he was portrayed. In Eight Men Out (1988) Jackson was portrayed correctly.
Ray Liotta had no baseball experience and batted right-handed, although Shoeless Joe Jackson was a leftie. Phil Alden Robinson allowed Liotta to bat with his right but still put him through several weeks of extensive training with University of Southern California baseball coach and former Brooklyn Dodger Rod Dedeaux in order to be convincing as one of the sport's greatest hitters. Liotta eventually developed a good swing. The scene where he hits a line drive straight back at Kevin Costner actually happened. Costner's fall on the mound was real, and although it was a surprise, he kept in character.
The famous line "If you build it, he will come" was featured in a Daily Telegraph (UK) article on the 10 most misquoted film phrases. It's often misquoted as "If you build it, they will come."
Although his character delivers the movie's signature speech praising baseball, James Earl Jones in real life actually hates baseball.
In the novel, instead of seeking fictional author Terrance Mann, Ray Kinsella seeks real-life 60s author J.D. Salinger. In 1947, Salinger wrote a story called "A Young Girl In 1941 With No Waist At All" featuring a character named Ray Kinsella. And in his most famous work, the novel 'The Catcher in the Rye', one of Holden Caulfield's classmates is Richard Kinsella. (In the original novel, Ray has a twin brother named Richard.)
Amy Madigan was offered a job as a bartender at a local bar during filming. The owner did not know Madigan was an actress.
When Ray asks "Shoeless" Joe Jackson what he likes about about playing baseball, Shoeless Joe responds "the thrill of the grass", the title of W.P. Kinsella's 1985 book of short stories about baseball.
W.P. Kinsella, author of the original novel, was asked to write a review of the movie for a Canadian periodical. He gave it four stars out of five for two reasons: he didn't think the character of Mark was villainous enough, and he didn't think that Gaby Hoffmann (Karin) looked like she could be Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan's child.
In 1991, Hawaii's House of Representatives filed House Resolution 95 to plead the case for "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's reinstatement. Among the reasons given was a quote given by James Earl Jones's character in the movie that "grasps the essence of an American tradition, baseball." Among those receiving a copy of the House Resolution were Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams writer-director), Charles Gordon and Lawrence Gordon (Field of Dreams producers), and cast members Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, and James Earl Jones.
There was an actual Archibald "Moonlight/Doc" Graham.

The scene where James Earl Jones' character is interviewing the men in the bar, were people who knew the real "Doc" Graham.

They found out about the movie and the inclusion of Doc Graham's character. They drove from Chisholm, Minnesota to Iowa. The stories the men shared were actual stories about Doc Graham.
The owners of the site of the baseball field in Iowa canceled their 20th anniversary event due to the economic turn down and donated the money raised for it to a local food bank (2009).
At first, James Horner was unsure if he could work on the film due to scheduling restrictions. Then he watched a rough cut and was so moved that he accepted the job of scoring the film.
According to an AFI top 100 quotes list, 'The Voice' is that of Ray Liotta. In an ESPN commentary author W.P. Kinsella shares that he was told the Voice is that of Ed Harris, Amy Madigan's husband.
During filming, Iowa was in the middle of a drought, and the cornfields surrounding the diamond had to be given lots of extra water in order to grow tall enough for the actors to disappear into the stalks. As a result, the corn grew too fast for the Costner shots. In the one scene where corn is above his shoulders, he is walking on an elevated plank.
Moonlight Graham's one-game baseball career is not as rare as might be suspected. In fact, there are nearly 1,500 players whose entire Major League career consisted of just one game.
J.D. Salinger, on whom the character Terence Mann is based, was very offended by the fictional portrayal of himself in W.P. Kinsella's novel "Shoeless Joe", upon which the film is based. His lawyers said that they would be "unhappy if it [the story] were transferred to other media," so the studio created the character of Terence Mann.
Several deleted scenes include Ray getting his hearing checked; Ray buying baseball equipment; Ray getting lost on the way to Fenway with Terrence; and Ray and Terrence watching batting practice.
In W.P. Kinsella's novel, protagonist Ray Kinsella is reunited with his identical twin brother, Richard Kinsella (a subplot that was discarded for the movie).
Burt Lancaster originally turned down the part of Doc Graham, but changed his mind after a friend, who was also a baseball fan, told Lancaster that he had to work on the movie
The director has said that his greatest regret about this film is that he never used any African-American baseball players. The use of African-American players might have compromised the historical accuracy of the film since no African-American players were known to have played Major League baseball between 1884 (Fleet and Welday Walker for the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association, considered a Major League from 1882-1891) and 1947 - the year Jackie Robinson broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, the point was to focus on the plight of African American ball-players in that similar era. As much as Shoeless Joe was banned from Baseball, many African American players never got a chance simply because of their ethnicity.
The Cracker Jack baseball cards shown in the beginning of the film are based on real baseball cards produced in 1914 and 1915. However, the actual set does not include cards of Babe Ruth or obviously Lou Gehrig. There is, however, a "Shoeless" Joe Jackson card very similar to the Jackson card shown in the film, which has become very popular with collectors since the film's release.
The field was constructed over the July 4 weekend under the direction of the Los Angeles Dodgers groundskeeper.
Karin's line "They'll come to Iowa City. they'll think it's really boring..." is a reference to the original "Shoeless Joe" Novel. In the book, the Kinsella Farm was located near Iowa City, Iowa and J.D. Salinger's monologue (similar to Terrence Mann's) included ideas about people touring Iowa City before coming to the farm. In the film, the closest major city to the farm is Dubuque, Iowa.
The first day of shooting was the town hall scene. Amy Madigan was nervous about screaming in front of such a large group of people the first day.
Phil Alden Robinson had created a temp track which was disliked by Universal executives. When the announcement of James Horner as composer was made, they felt more positive because they expected a big orchestral score, similar to Horner's work for An American Tail (1986). Horner, in contrast, liked the temporary score, finding it "quiet and kind of ghostly." He decided to follow the idea of the temp track, creating an atmospheric soundtrack which would "focus on the emotions".
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During the "search for Terry" scene, Ray can be seen driving up Huntington Avenue in Boston, and in fact at one point, he's just a matter of a few blocks from the very site where the very first World Series was played between the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903, which were played on what they at that time referred to as the "Huntington Avenue Grounds."
When they hold up the Terence Mann book that is going to be banned in the school auditorium, it has the same cover design as the first edition of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel "On the Road".
The story depended on the farm having row after row of high corn, but when shooting was set to begin the crop was stunted due to the worst drought in Iowa since the Dustbowl. Three weeks before shooting was scheduled for the fields, the company spent $25,000 to truck in water from the Mississippi River to help the corn grow. As a hedge against that possibly failing, production designer Dennis Gassner ordered 50,000 silk corn stalks from Korea, but it turned out not to be necessary as the crop began to grow in time. Producer Charles Gordon later related how the production and farm owner Lansing became unpopular among the locals whose own crops were suffering in the drought.
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Because of the drought, the sod for the field began dying quickly. The Dodgers groundskeeper suggested they do what he did at his stadium, paint the dead grass green.
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James Earl Jones said that he had J.D. Salinger in mind and worked hard to translate him into the black journalist character.
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Although Terrance Mann ends up admitting that he heard and saw the images at Fenway Park, there is a subtle hint that he was aware of what was going on during the game. If you pay close attention to Mann, he suddenly stiffens up when Ray hears the voice say "Go the distance." He then leans forward in his seat when the scoreboard lights up with Moonlight Graham's stats.
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At some point during principal photography, Phil Alden Robinson began to lose confidence in his ability to tell the story effectively. He dreamed angry fans of the book were coming at him with knives. Producer Larry Gordon had to call him with a pep talk, telling him his script was great and that he just needed to trust it and shoot what he had written.
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Phil Alden Robinson wanted very little said between Ray Kinsella's character and his father's ghost in the last scene. He originally wrote and shot it to have Ray catch himself as he was about to introduce the ghost of his father to his wife. Preview audiences were either confused about who the character was or thought Ray was cruel for not acknowledging their relationship. Robinson added the line, "Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?" It tested very well.
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Phil Alden Robinson and the producers did not originally consider Kevin Costner for the part of Ray because they did not think that he would want to follow Bull Durham (1988) with another baseball movie. Costner, however, did end up reading the script and became interested in the project, stating that he felt the movie would be "this generation's It's a Wonderful Life (1946)". Since Robinson's directing debut In the Mood (1987) had been a commercial failure, Costner also said that he would help Robinson with the production.
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James Earl Jones, Timothy Busfield and Lee Garlington would all reunite for directer Phil Alden Robinson's next movie, Sneakers (1992)
Ranked #6 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.
The production scouted more than 500 farms in Iowa before finding one near Dyersville that had all the physical qualities they wanted plus enough isolation to make filming easier.
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Kinsella's book was suffused with references to the 1960s, so the art director and set decorator put 60s relics and images in the house, even though they seemed incongruous with an Iowa farm.
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The shooting schedule was very tight, so as soon as the full cornfield scenes were completed, the crop had to be cut down to begin construction of the baseball field.
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To get the most evocative visuals, director of photography John Lindley shot during the "magic hour" as the sun was setting. The term is a misnomer, as the right lighting lasts only about 10-15 minutes. Single scenes had to be shot over a period of several days each.
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Except for some weather delays and other time constraints, production rolled six days a week.
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Gaby Hoffmann's first feature film performance.
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Sheila McCarthy and Reba McEntire both auditioned for the part of Annie.
Anne Seymour's last film.
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Don Lansing, the owner of the property chosen, agreed to let the production reconfigure his house and open it up inside to accommodate cameras and equipment. He was paid $12,000 for his consent. An air conditioning system was installed, a porch built, and the floors levelled.
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The aerial shot near the end showing cars lined up coming to the field required a complete blackout of the town. About 1500 locals were enlisted. The number of cars, however, brought the traffic almost to a standstill. Drivers were instructed to flash their brights on and off to create the illusion of movement.
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The shooting schedule was built around Kevin Costner's availability because he would be leaving in August 1988 to film Revenge (1990).
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During a lunch with the Iowa Chamber of Commerce, Phil Alden Robinson broached his idea of a final scene in which headlights could be seen for miles along the horizon. The Chamber folks replied that it could be done and the shooting of the final scene became a community event. The film crew was hidden on the farm to make sure the aerial shots did not reveal them. Dyersville was then blacked out and local extras drove their vehicles to the field. In order to give the illusion of movement, the drivers were instructed to continuously switch between their low and high beams.
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The article the Chisolm[sic] newspaper publisher shows to Ray and Terrance is written by Veda Ponikvar. Ms. Ponikvar was a long-time writer (and eventually editor-in-chief) for the Chisholm Free Press.
The corn grew so fast that it became taller than Kevin Costner. Boxes had to be laid out in the field so he could walk between the rows of corn and still be seen by the camera.
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Incorrectly cited as a "goof" is when one player turns around and jokingly mimics the witch from Wizard of Oz by saying, "I'm melting, I'm melting". The Chicago White Sox players of Black Sox Scandal repute were from 1919 while the movie, "Wizard of Oz" didn't premiere till 1939." However, the players remember their lives after baseball since one remarks he hadn't had a cigarette for 18 years, so they all would have known about The Wizard of Oz unless they died before 1939.
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When Joe Jackson asks about the lights at the ball field, Ray comments that every ballpark had them, adding "Even Wrigley." Wrigley Field had famously been the only Major League stadium without lights, not adding them until August 1988, a few months prior to the films release. In the original novel, Ray told Jackson that every ballpark except for Wrigley had lights.
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The movie was released a little over six months following Eight Men Out, which portrayed a historical depiction of the 1919 White Sox and World Series scandal. The proximity of the releases generated public awareness and sympathies towards the team's plight. As a result, public sentiment began to grow in favor of seeing Joe Jackson's lifetime ban from Major League Baseball being overturned.
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In real life Joe Jackson was a soft spoken, humble Southerner. A far cry from the brash New York accented Ray Liotta. Also, in the film, Jackson claims he couldn't stand Ty Cobb. In real life, Cobb and Jackson were close friends,
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After the PTA meeting when Ray and Annie crash into the lockers they are not exiting from the gym that they were originally in. They exit from the women's restroom at the school. There is not an exit from the gym that you could possibly crash into lockers.
Phil Alden Robinson had originally envisioned Shoeless Joe Jackson as being played by an actor in his 40s, someone who would be older than Kevin Costner and who could thereby act as a father surrogate. Ray Liotta did not fit that criterion, but Robinson thought he would be a better fit for the part because Liotta had the "sense of danger" and ambiguity which Robinson wanted in the character.
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Both Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster have played Wyatt Earp. Costner in Wyatt Earp (1994) and Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).
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For the final shot of the film, the Local Dyersville Police Department was required to direct traffic for 4 hours from a widespread of 6 miles after the aerial shots were complete.
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Shots of the auditorium meeting at Western Dubuque were filmed during school hours. Within that time, students were getting noisy, causing multiple re-shoots. Finally, after numerous takes, executives came in the classrooms and yelled to keep it down.
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Preview test audiences did not take well to the original title (taken directly from the book), Shoeless Joe, saying it sounded like a film about a homeless person. The studio decided to change it to Field of Dreams, which Phil Alden Robinson opposed until he called W.P. Kinsella with the news. Kinsella said the change was fine with him because he originally wanted to call his book "Dream Field" but was overruled by his publisher.
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When Ray is in the feed store is being teased by the other farmers, the song "Crazy" can be heard playing on the radio.
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Gaby Hoffmann appears in 2 films with James Horner music. The first is this, and the second is The Man Without a Face (1993) 4 years later.
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The movie was named as one of "The 20 Most Overrated Movies of All Time" by Premiere.
As Ray is taking Terrance back to his apartment, in the reflection of the van's windshield, the word "Books" passes by. This is fitting considering that Terrance Mann is a writer.
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Bull Durham (1988) - also about baseball - co-stars Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon have both co-starred with Burt Lancaster. Costner in this film and Sarandon in Atlantic City (1980).
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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In September 1997 this film was shown on terrestrial TV instead of Lethal Weapon 3, following the passing of Princess Diana.
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Dwier Brown plays Ray Kinsella's (Kevin Costner) father John Kinsella. Brown is actually four years younger than Costner.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The line, "Hey, Dad, you wanna have a catch?" originally didn't include "Dad". Audiences were disappointed in the lack of acknowledgment of father and son, and the word "Dad" was looped in during post-production.
When Ray's brother-in-law yells at him, "Ray, do you know how much this land is worth?" and he responds, "Yeah,twenty-two hundred bucks an acre," the exchange is supposed to connote that the baseball field represents a large, intolerable financial loss. Actually, a baseball field is about two acres in size, which even if it had generous proportions, meant that Ray was losing no more than $5,000 from maintaining his "Field of Dreams".

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