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The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 109
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 41

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.


Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 14

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 62,168

My Rating

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



Melissa Carter

Apr 11, 2006


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All Critics (114) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (41) | DVD (21)

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.

October 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Village Voice | Comment (1)
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[An] overloaded movie.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As sports movies go, it doesn't get more exciting than this.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sweet-natured, prettily photographed and at times genuinely exciting drama, bogged down by some thinly written characters and syrupy music.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film will have to settle for a bogey rather than a par.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

June 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

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

June 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
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

If you're not willing to stand in the rain during a major tournament, you're gonna get bored with these movies.

April 21, 2006 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

[Director Bill] Paxton's narrative is confusing at first, but the film is entertaining overall.

April 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

Better suspense than many sports movies, in spite of clichés and anachronisms

April 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

...the film is so well made, the acting so good, the period so well captured, and the photography so captivating that it's hard not to like it.

April 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The Longest Movie Ever Made.

November 21, 2005
Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)

Despite the endless heart-tugging cliches and predictable storylines, Disney once again demonstrates its ability to push the right sentimental buttons in an underdog sports film.

November 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Riddled with underdog cliches and embellishments, and lays the sentimentality on thick at every opportunity, making the emotional response feel more manipulated then genuine.

November 9, 2005 Full Review | Comment (1)
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

More than any such movie I remember, The Greatest Game Ever Played celebrates the ideal of sportsmanship.

October 13, 2005 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

The most visually and emotionally dynamic film ever made about a game of golf — perhaps the most visually and emotionally dynamic possible film about a game of golf.

October 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

As a film replay, The Greatest Game is hardly that, but it's at least a pretty good one.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

A great underdog film that is absolutely stolen by the 10 year old caddy played by Josh Flitter. If you don't love him, you have no soul.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source:

I'm going to bet that Bill Paxton loves golf. Because, despite his deftly directed "Frailty," "The Greatest Game Ever Played" rolls all over the place.

October 7, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

not a feel-good, root-for-the-underdog movie, but a caricature of one

October 6, 2005 Full Review Source:

This charming film (editing tricks aside), is rich in humor and period detail, and amazingly suspenseful considering we already know the outcome.

October 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Movies about golf are seldom, if ever, 'great.'

October 6, 2005 Full Review

It may not be, as the title says, the greatest game every played, but it certainly is a darn good round of golf.

October 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A pretentious and predictable Game.

October 5, 2005 Full Review Source:

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.
August 24, 2012
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

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.
September 18, 2011
Mike S

Super Reviewer

Cast: Tyler Brody Stein, Shia LaBeouf, Elias Koteas, Josh Flitter, Max Kasch, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth, Peyton List, Jackie Burroughs, Luke Askew, Len Cariou

Director: Bill Paxton

Summary: With a pint-sized caddie (Josh Flitter) at his side, amateur golfer Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) shocked the world at the 1913 U.S. Open when he outplayed defending British champ Harry Vardon in what was dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played." But Ouimet's rise to the top wasn't easy, with a hard-nosed father (Elias Koteas) and a hard-knock life to overcome.

My Thoughts: "I didn't think I would ever enjoy a golf movie, but I did. I don't like the sport personally, I find it to be a complete bore. But my reasonings for choosing to watch this film was based on the fact that it stars Shia LaBeouf. He was quite good in this too. Francis's father believes they are but common folk so Francis should expect to be just that. He believes Francis is striving for something he is not meant to achieve based on what society has labeled their family as. So I think the father really wasn't against his dream, he just didn't want his son to feel any despair if he failed. Of course the story is predictable, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing it. I really liked the character Eddie played by Josh Flitter. He is a funny little kid. The acting is great and so is the directing by actor Bill Paxton. It is a golf film worth seeing.."
October 27, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Harry Vardon: How'd you sleep?
    2. Ted Ray: Like a baby. Woke up every two hours and cried.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Eddie Lowery: Let it roll and it'll seek the hole.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Eddie Lowery: You gotta settle down now Francis.
    2. Francis Ouimet: Yeah? And how we gonna do that?
    3. Eddie Lowery: You're just gonna have to play better... Keep your head down.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Freddie Wallis: Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
    – Submitted by Kelly B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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