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For Love of the Game (1999)



Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 12

Baseball wins, romance loses.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 43,063

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Michael Shaara, For Love of the Game brought Kevin Costner back to the world of baseball after his successes with Bull Durham (1988) and Field of Dreams (1989). Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is a star pitcher with the Detroit Tigers, standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium and throwing what is shaping up to be a perfect game with the help of his best friend and catcher, Gus Osinski (John C. Reilly). However, Billy is having a hard time keeping his mind on the game; he's come


Drama, Romance

Dana Stevens

Aug 15, 2000

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (78) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (35) | DVD (15)

A perfect game in Yankee Stadium is no big deal these days; two have been pitched in the past 16 months. But a good baseball movie, that's hard.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For the first 100 minutes or so I found this hokey but serviceable; after that my watch became more meaningful than anything I could locate on-screen.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thinking back through the movie, I cannot recall a single thing either character said that was worth hearing in its own right, apart from the requirements of the plot.

March 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Costner is as uneven as the storytelling itself, stone cold at moments, shimmeringly real in others.

June 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The] game stretches over most of the film, but any anticipated suspense is undercut by the sepia-tinted inserts charting the couple's bumpy uninvolving five-year romance from first meeting to acrimonious split(s)

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At two hours-plus, it doesn't just seem long, it sometimes feels like a double rain delay.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like Billy this movie is good on the field, but not so much once off it.

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

Memo to all involved: It's a game.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An old-fashioned Hollywood sports story/romance.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Costner and Preston's convincing work together go a long way in keeping the audience interested and involved.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source:

For Love of the Game is painless, but it's also pompous and pious about baseball in a way that doesn't mean much to a non-fan like me.

February 13, 2008 Full Review Source:

Costner and company do a fine job getting you into the head of an aging sports idol at a pivotal moment in his life.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

*For Love of the Game continually pushes its luck past the breaking point.

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Like Chapel, Costner believes himself to be great, even when he's slowly getting worse.

May 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

While For Love of the Game has much to recommend it, particularly Costner's strong, understated performance, Raimi throws too many unnecessary curves.

June 6, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

Preston is forgettable as "this week's blonde," adding her name to a list of women wooed by this poster boy for the strong, silent type.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

[Raimi's] involvement in this grating star vehicle is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of For the Love of the Game: the Evil Dead are, presumably, turning in their grave.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Costner baseball flick is great at motion, not so hot at emotion.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Instead of quitting while he's way ahead, Costner takes on For Love of the Game, a melodramatic film version of Michael Shaara's novel.

August 2, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The copious footage devoted to Billy and Jane's encounters might have been easier to sit through is there was any magic between Costner and Preston, but they're acting in two different films.

June 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Audience Reviews for For Love of the Game

Vin Scully: The cathedral that is Yankee Stadium belongs to a Chapel.

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

For Love of the Game is a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's sort of weird that it has taken me this long to get to it. I love baseball and I really like Costner because of his love for two of my loves, movies and baseball. This may not be the best baseball themed movie he's starred in, but it's another great one. There's passion in it and in the end it is a really worthwhile, heartfelt, and inspiring film.

Billy Chapel is an aging pitcher for the Detroit Tigers; he's forty to be exact. He was drafted right out of high school at the age of 18 and he quickly became one of the best pitchers in the game, and a sure fire hall of famer. Now with his career coming to close, he finds himself in New York and he's getting the start. The day of the game he finds out two pieces of bad news, firstly the owner of the Tigers, whom Chapel has been extremely close to for years is selling the team and the buyers plan on trading Chapel after the season. Secondly, Chapel's girl, who has been casually seeing for years is leaving for a job in London. When Chapel takes the hill for the game, he begins flirting with a perfect game, as a he flashes back to his relationship with the girl he loves.

The movie can come off as somewhat corny at times, but for the most part it seems honest and real. It's hard to describe exactly how this movie made me feel throughout, but there was a lot of emotion that came with the story and the backstory. I loved the way the flashbacks were used throughout the game and I loved the raw emotion of the character that is Billy Chapel and how Costner brought that character to life.

This is one that all baseball fans and fans of baseball movies need to see. It's not the best of the genre, but it is still a far above average addition. It's powerful at times, funny at times, sad at times, and fun at times. The movie is a roller coaster of different emotions and it all ends up working pretty well together.
August 18, 2013
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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

Saw it again! Absolutely love this movie. Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston dazzle completely. The story is quite good and entertaining. Sports movies like this one I could watch every day.

Baseball great Billy Chapel, 40, wants nothing more than to reconnect with his one-time lover, Jane Aubrey. On the morning he's to pitch the last game of the season, she tells him she's leaving that evening for a job in London; he also learns that the Detroit Tigers' new owners plan to trade him. As he pitches that night, he must decide whether to accept the trade or quit the game he loves, and between innings, he recalls meeting Jane, their first date, happy times, miscommunication, and what may be a final break. Meanwhile, with Vin Scully announcing, one Yankee batter after another fails to reach first base. Can Billy pitch a perfect game, and if so, what does it matter if he loses Jane?
November 26, 2011
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is an aging major league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Billy does everything he can to be the best at the only thing he really cares However, Billy lucks up and finds a great woman named Jane (Kelly Preston). Will Billy find someone that he really really cares a lot about with Jane, or will America's favorite pastime, baseball, still be the only thing that Billy Chapel will fight for? I recommend watching the movie to find out.
"Field of Dreams" is one of my favorite movies of all time. I know that just about everybody's question will be "Is For Love of the Game as great as Field of Dreams?" after they see that this is a baseball movie and that Kevin Costner is the movie's main star. In my opinion, they're both great movies and they're two of the best sports movies ever made, but I didn't think that "For Love of the Game" is quite as good as "Field of Dreams" is. This movie has its spectacular times such as when Billy is giving it all he's got to try and get a perfect game. The love interest between Billy and Jane is also interesting and well done. I think the only reason that I didn't think it was as good as "Field of Dreams" is because "Field of Dreams" was VERY original and it was unbelievably captivating. Whereas, "For Love of the Game" is a great movie, but it's not as original and not as captivating as "Field of Dreams."

If you like great sports or baseball movies, and especially if you liked "Field of Dreams," I recommend getting "For Love of the Game." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2001. I was one of the thousands that were hyped to see this to see if it would be as good as "Field of Dreams", but no, not even in the same ballpark, or league.
September 10, 2009

Super Reviewer

A good sports movie but it's more of a drama about a guy that is nearing the end of his career. Costner plays the role well and the rest of the cast works around his character nicely.
September 7, 2007

Super Reviewer

Movies Like For Love of the Game

    1. Billy Chapel: [repeated line] I can always tell when I'm in New York.
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
    1. Gus Osinski: The boys are all here for ya, we'll back you up, we'll be there, cause, Billy, we don't stink right now. We're the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You're the reason. We're not gonna screw that up, we're gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
    1. Jane Aubrey: You ever gotten your heart broken?
    2. Billy Chapel: Yeah. When we lost the pennant in '87.
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
    1. Billy Chapel: [consoling Mickey Hart after an embarrasing play] There's a bunch of cameras out there right now waiting to make a joke of this, Mick. So you can either stop, give them the sound bite, do the dance. Or you can hold your head up and walk by, and the next time we're in Boston, we'll go out there and work the wall together. Don't help them make a joke out of you.
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
    1. Billy Chapel: [consoling Mickey Hart after an embarrasing play] There's a bunch of cameras out there right now waiting to make a joke of this, Mick. So you can either stop, give them the sound bite, do the dance. Or you can hold your head up and walk by, and the next time we're in Boston, we'll go out there and work the wall together. Don't help them make a joke out of you.
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
    1. Billy Chapel: I don't know if I have anything left.
    2. Gus Osinski: You just throw whatever you got, whatever's left. The boys are all here for you. We're gonna be awesome for you right now!
    – Submitted by Francis L (20 months ago)
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