For Love of the Game (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance, Sport  |  17 September 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 25,056 users   Metascore: 43/100
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A washed up pitcher flashes through his career.



(novel), (screenplay)
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6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Perry (as JK Simmons)
Ken Strout (as Carmine D. Giovinazzo)
Davis Birch (as Bill Rogers)
Tow Truck Driver
Arnetia Walker ...
Airport Bartender
Yankee Fan in Bar


Detroit Tigers Veteran Pitcher Billy Chapel (Costner) has always been better at baseball than at love. Just ask Jane (Preston), his on-and-off girlfriend. After a bad season, just before he is about to start in what could be his final game, Jane tells Billy that she's leaving him...for good. Now with his career and love-life in balance, Billy battles against his emotional and physical limits as he strives for a Perfect Game. The suspense is never drawn back in this heartwarming drama about life, love, and risking it all For Love of the Game. Written by Zac Abrams

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Billy Chapel must choose between the woman he loves and the game he lives for.


Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

17 September 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

For the Love of the Game  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,041,685 (USA) (17 September 1999)


$35,168,395 (USA) (26 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene in which the ball bounces off of Mickey Hart's head is based on the famous incident in which the same thing happened to Texas Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco. Afterward, when Billy and Mickey are talking in the clubhouse, Mickey jokes "It'll probably end up on ESPN." In fact, Canseco's incident became blooper reel fodder for ESPN for the remainder of that year. See more »


At Boston's Fenway Park, a batted ball could not bounce off Mickey Hart's head upwards into the stands for a home run. Mickey plays Right Field for the Tigers, and Boston'd Right Field Stands are almost right at field level. The Right Field 'wall' is about waist level for most outfielders. See more »


[Billy and Jane have sex in her bed for the first time, and Billy finds a flashlight by his feet]
Jane Aubrey: It's not mine.
Billy Chapel: You mean it doubles as a flashlight?
See more »


Featured in Stuart Little 2 (2002) See more »


Written by Joe Lervold (as Joel Evans) & J.Elle (uncredited)
Published by Revision West (BMI)
Performed by The Joel Evans Quartet
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari / Master Source
See more »

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User Reviews

Even If You Hate Baseball -- and Kevin Costner -- This Movie Still Rocks!
12 October 2006 | by (Troy, NY) – See all my reviews

Why do I love this movie so much? I'm not a baseball fan. I didn't really like FIELD OF DREAMS. And I hated BULL DURHAM. Yet this movie just captivates me every time I watch it.

Part of it is the tight, real-time structure -- the whole movie takes place in a man's head while he pitches a perfect baseball game on the mound. It therefore combines the tension of a thriller with the poignant emotions of an elegy.

But what I loved most about this movie is that there are no clichés. Kevin Costner's character, Billy Chapel, is not a "sports underdog." It's very clear he is a great athlete who has had a great career, and that he can walk away at any time with lots of money and lots of respect. The only reason that pitching the perfect game matters to him is purely for the perfection of his art -- for the love of the game.

At the same time, not all the action is on the baseball diamond. In the romantic drama, Kevin Costner does much more than play the usual Costner "nice guy." Billy Chapel can be cold, egocentric, and difficult -- just like any other creative artist. But he always surrounds himself with people who are strong enough to challenge him and help him stay grounded. It's no exaggeration to say that the supporting cast in this film -- John C. Reilly as the catcher, Kelly Preston as the girl friend, and Jena Malone as the girl friend's adorable teenage daughter -- are very much the stars. They really set Costner up for an unusually mature, disciplined performance. Just the way Chapel's team mates set him up for the perfect game! This movie wasn't that well received by the critics. I remember one frightfully cultured fellow at the NEW YORKER sniffing that Costner's character is "arrogant." Note well that if an artist or an intellectual is cold and demanding, it's okay. But athletes should be jolly, ape like simpletons, the kind who know their place. This complex, poignant movie is actually quite subversive, since it forces you to realize that baseball is a thinking man's game and that athletes (and their working class fans) are not nearly as stupid as the real simpletons who write for the NEW YORKER.


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