The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)



Critic Consensus: Despite all the underdog sports movie conventions, the likable cast and lush production values make The Greatest Game Ever Played a solid and uplifting tale.

The Greatest Game Ever Played Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The true story of an upset victory that helped change the sport of golf forever provides the basis for this period drama. Francis Ouimet (played by Shia LaBeouf) was born in 1893 to a working-class family in Massachusetts, and grew up fascinated by golf. However, at that time golf was considered a pastime of the wealthy and privileged, and British and Scottish players dominated the professional game. Ouimet's familial home was near the Brookline, MA, Country Club, and over the stern objections of his father, Francis got a job there as a caddy. Honing his skill in his spare time, Francis displayed a tremendous natural talent for the game and an understanding of its strategies, and 1913 he became the first amateur to play in the U.S. Open, held at the Brookline Country Club. Ouimet's presence was considered little more than a novelty at the time; Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane), a British champion with six tournament victories under his belt, was considered a shoo-in to win, with Ted Ray (Stephen Marcus) his only serious competition. However, Vardon, a fellow working-class boy who had overcome tuberculosis to become Britain's premier professional golfer, had more in common with Ouimet than anyone expected, and the tournament unexpectedly became a hard-fought competition between an established star and a promising unknown. Directed by Bill Paxton in his second directorial effort, The Greatest Game Ever Played also stars Elias Koteas as Francis' father, Josh Flitter as the ten-year-old boy who becomes Francis' caddy, and Peyton List as Sarah Wallis, Francis' sweetheart.more
Rating: PG (for some brief mild language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Mark Frost, Melissa Carter
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 11, 2006
Box Office: $15.3M
Buena Vista Pictures - Official Site


Shia LaBeouf
as Francis Ouimet
Stephen Dillane
as Harry Vardon
Elias Koteas
as Arthur Ouimet
Josh Flitter
as Eddie Lowery
Peyton List
as Sarah Wallis
Marnie McPhail
as Mary Ouimet
James Paxton
as Young Harry Vardon
Tom Rack
as Black Top-Hatted Man
Armand Laroche
as Black Top-Hatted Man
Peter Hurley
as Black Top-Hatted Man
Gregory Terlecki
as Black Top-Hatted Man
Jonathan Higgins
as Embry Wallis
Matthew Knight
as Young Francis Ouimet
Luke Askew
as Alec Campbell
Amanda Jane Tilson
as Young Sarah Wallace
Jamie Merling
as Young Louise Ouimet
Eugenio Esposito
as Young Raymond Ouimet
Robin Wilcock
as Bernard Darwin
Peter Firth
as Lord Northcliffe
Michael Sinelnikoff
as Lord Bullock
Justin Ashforth
as Ted Hastings
Arthur Holden
as Club Secretary
Len Cariou
as Stedman Comstock
Nicholas Wright
as Phillip Wainwright
Max Kasch
as Freddie Wallis
Nicolas Wright
as Phillip Wainwright
Danette Mackay
as Mrs. Wallis
George Asprey
as Wilfred Reid
Joe Jackson
as Pub Pianist
Luke Kirby
as Frank Hoyt
Timothy W. Peper
as Walter Gibbs
Tim Peper
as Walter Gibbs (as Tim...
Dawn Upshaw
as Soprano
Mike Nahrgang
as Baritone
James Bradford
as Robert Watson
Marc James Beauchamp
as Assistant Pro
Michael Weaver
as John McDermott
Pierre Boudreau
as Northcliffe's Valet
Johnny Griffin
as Jack Lowery
Dennis St John
as Wallis' Butler
Terry Reid
as Vardon's Caddy Tommy
Philip Pretten
as Comstock's Assistant
Philip Preten
as Comstock's Assistant
Walter Massey
as President Taft
Patrick Whitebean
as McDermott's Caddy
Melissa Carter
as Reid's Escort
Melanie Beaulne
as Reid's Escort
Melanie Beauline
as Reid's Escort
Jeremy Thibodeau
as Raymond Ouimet
Alexina Cowan
as Louise Ouimet
Frank Fontaine
as Wallis' Chauffeur
Marcel Jeannin
as Office Worker
Charles S. Doucet
as Irish Crew Boss
Brian Wrench
as Gallery Member
Nicole Braber
as Girlfriend
Kyle Macdougall
as Vardon's Assistant
Jesse Rath
as Runner
Howard Ryshpan
as Gallery Member
James Scavone
as Copy Boy
James Scovone
as Copy Boy
Paul Cagelet
as Passerby
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Greatest Game Ever Played

Critic Reviews for The Greatest Game Ever Played

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (32)

Ouimet versus Vardon probably was the greatest golf game ever played, and Paxton and Frost do it justice, but I wouldn't sit through another simulated hole of it for Tiger Woods's salary.

Full Review… | October 4, 2005
Village Voice
Top Critic

I know it's all about how well they construct the journey, but I just kind of felt like, okay, we know exactly what's going to happen here.

Full Review… | October 3, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

The game is full of suspense, twists and turns. The characters are fascinating. The locations, sets and costume designs are all first-rate. The story is held back by the Disney formula, but is strong enough to overcome it.

Full Review… | September 7, 2014
Laramie Movie Scope

The characters model some wonderful behavior for youngsters%u2014things like tolerance, restraint, persistence, good manners, and good sportsmanship. Things that, sadly, seem to have gone the way of knickers.

Full Review… | June 16, 2009
Movie Metropolis

I don't want to just take their word for it! Show me what was so special about this guy's game!!

Full Review… | June 12, 2009
Cinema Signals

Greatest Game succeeds because it has enough history and authenticity to please golf enthusiasts while maintaining enough heart and human drama to appeal to the rest.

September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

Audience Reviews for The Greatest Game Ever Played


The Greatest Game Ever Played is an excellent family-friendly, underdog, sports-themed film in the Disney tradition. I thoroughly enjoyed the cast; the young Shia LaBouf was perfect for the role. Sure, it's clichéd at times; the class conflict/social structure theme permeates the movie and is too heavy-handed at times.

It's a period drama which may not be familiar to viewers not schooled in golfing history. In the early 1900s, golf was new to America and dominated by British champions such as Harry Vardon. Furthermore, the game belonged to the upper crust of society, those who inhabited exclusive country clubs. However, both Vardon and Francis Ouimet (LaBouf's character) arose from humble beginnings and signaled changes to come. It's predictable in the Disney tradition but positive and uplifting nonetheless. The golf itself is interesting, but this isn't Rocky in terms of sports excitement. The film even has several fine comedic moments, especially those featuring Ouimet's caddy, a plucky fifth-grader. In short, it's an enjoyable film, and you don't have to like golf to appreciate it.

Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer


Good film! Shia LeBeouf was good, and Stephen Dillane was perfectly cast.

Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer


Why had I not heard of this film before? It would have gone completely under my radar, if it weren't for me catching it on TV, when randomly zapping through some channels. I'm surprised it hasn't received more attention than it has, because it's quite a remarkable and inspiring story, about a young boy from an unprivileged background, who blows everyone away as he defeats his own idol in the 1913 US Open. Being a golf player myself (or was at least, I haven't played for years now), it was very interesting learn a bit of its history, and to see what the game looked like at its humble beginnings, almost a century ago. Shia LaBeouf, who in my opinion is a very underrated actor, excels in his role and brings some of his finest acting to date. Better yet, it also reminded me of all the good times I've had during my golfing years, and made me wanna pick up my clubs again and head out on the grass fields. It's only handicap (pun intended), is its rigid adherence to the big book of sports-movie clichés: An underdog from a poor background, who fights against the odds. The unsupportive father, who thinks he's wasting his time and should get a "real job". The upper class snobs, who mocks his every breath, until they are forced to recognize his incredible talent. The list could be made very long. Other than that though, it's an uplifting true story that, however ironic it may sound, goes well below par in its final score.

Mike S

Super Reviewer

The Greatest Game Ever Played Quotes

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