7.5/10
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115 user 85 critic

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

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In the 1913 US Open, 20-year-old Francis Ouimet played against his idol, 1900 US Open champion, Englishman Harry Vardon.

Director:

Bill Paxton

Writers:

Mark Frost (book), Mark Frost (screenplay)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Paxton ... Young Harry Vardon
Tom Rack Tom Rack ... Black Top Hatted Man
Armand Laroche ... Black Top Hatted Man
Peter Hurley Peter Hurley ... Black Top Hatted Man
Gregory Terlecki ... Black Top Hatted Man
Jonathan Higgins ... Embry Wallis
Matthew Knight ... Young Francis Ouimet
Luke Askew ... Alec Campbell
Amanda Tilson ... Young Sarah Wallis
Elias Koteas ... Arthur Ouimet
Jamie Merling Jamie Merling ... Young Louise Ouimet
Eugenio Esposito Eugenio Esposito ... Young Raymond Ouimet
Marnie McPhail ... Mary Ouimet
Stephen Dillane ... Harry Vardon
Robin Wilcock ... Bernard Darwin
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Storyline

Near the turn of the twentieth century, young Harry Vardon becomes a champion golfer but learns that his amazing skill is no match for the class boundaries that exclude him from "gentlemanly" English society. A dozen years later, a young American, Francis Ouimet, fights against the same prejudice, as well as his own father's disdain, for a chance to participate in the U.S. Open against his idol -- Harry Vardon. The struggles of both men for acceptance provides the background for an amazing contest of skills. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El juego que hizo historia See more »

Filming Locations:

Kahnawake, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,657,322, 2 October 2005, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$15,331,289, 27 November 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed at the Kanawaki Golf Club outside Montreal, Quebec. The producers had the white clubhouse painted yellow for the film. Members liked the change so much they kept the color after filming. See more »

Goofs

During the playoff, Harry Vardon's ball blocks Francis Ouimet's ball's path on the green, a play called a "stymie." That only applied to singles match play. The playoff for the 1913 US Open was medal (stroke) play, and the stymie rule would not have applied. This USGA eliminated the rule in 1952. See more »

Quotes

Lord Northcliffe: [notices Eddie caddying for Francis] What's that carrying his bag... a pygmy?
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Soundtracks

Roses From The South
Written by Johann Strauss (as Johann Strauss)
Arranged by Marshall Bowen
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User Reviews

 
Good Show, Mr. Paxton
9 October 2005 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

Actor turned director Bill Paxton follows up his promising debut, the Gothic-horror "Frailty", with this family friendly sports drama about the 1913 U.S. Open where a young American caddy rises from his humble background to play against his Bristish idol in what was dubbed as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." I'm no fan of golf, and these scrappy underdog sports flicks are a dime a dozen (most recently done to grand effect with "Miracle" and "Cinderella Man"), but some how this film was enthralling all the same.

The film starts with some creative opening credits (imagine a Disneyfied version of the animated opening credits of HBO's "Carnivale" and "Rome"), but lumbers along slowly for its first by-the-numbers hour. Once the action moves to the U.S. Open things pick up very well. Paxton does a nice job and shows a knack for effective directorial flourishes (I loved the rain-soaked montage of the action on day two of the open) that propel the plot further or add some unexpected psychological depth to the proceedings. There's some compelling character development when the British Harry Vardon is haunted by images of the aristocrats in black suits and top hats who destroyed his family cottage as a child to make way for a golf course. He also does a good job of visually depicting what goes on in the players' heads under pressure. Golf, a painfully boring sport, is brought vividly alive here. Credit should also be given the set designers and costume department for creating an engaging period-piece atmosphere of London and Boston at the beginning of the twentieth century.

You know how this is going to end not only because it's based on a true story but also because films in this genre follow the same template over and over, but Paxton puts on a better than average show and perhaps indicates more talent behind the camera than he ever had in front of it. Despite the formulaic nature, this is a nice and easy film to root for that deserves to find an audience.


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