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The Natural (1984)

tomatometer

82

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 6

Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.

63

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

Though heavy with sentiment, The Natural is an irresistible classic, and a sincere testament to America's national pastime.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 37,104

My Rating

Movie Info

The film version of The Natural pulls off the neat trick of conveying the spirit of the Bernard Malamud novel upon which it is based, even while changing both the outcome and the meaning of Malamud's closing chapters. In his first film appearance in four years, Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a farm boy with a hankering to be a great baseball player. With his faithful homemade bat "Wonderboy" in hand, Roy heads to the big city. En route, he arouses the fascination of the mysterious Harriet Bird

PG,

Drama

Apr 3, 2001

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Cast

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (6) | DVD (22)

Being a baseball fan involves repeatedly experiencing exquisite pain and exquisite joy. Well, there's a lot of both in The Natural.

March 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Levinson must have felt he had to swing for the fences. He can be forgiven for choking up with all The Natural's fans looking on dubiously. In fairness, the official scorer must credit him with a single. And Redford with an RBI.

March 21, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Natural is an impeccably made, but quite strange, fable about success and failure in America.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I've just about had it with directors who use the mythic mode as an alibi for unshaded characterizations, simpleminded plotting, and swells of artificial emotionality.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Let yourself go and be rewarded by the sight of a hero running home to victory through clouds of fire.

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

The message is: Baseball is purely and simply a matter of divine intervention. At about the 130-minute mark, I got the idea that God's only begotten son was playing right field for the New York team.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (2)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Barry Levinson deviates considerably from the wry, ironic tone of Malamud's novel, and if the film is mildly enjoyable it's due to the acting of the supporting cast and polished production values.

August 20, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

An otherwise fine sports fantasy is dragged down by an overindulgence in sentimentality.

March 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

...silly, repetitive, episodic, mannered...

July 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

unabashedly sentimental and grand in its themes of goodness, honor, tenacity, and forgiveness

April 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

No popped-up fly doubles. Just wham, bam, home run. Get the picture?

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Robert Redford isn't playing a 1930s baseball hero ... he's playing an instrument of God.

June 9, 2008 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Somewhat overly sentimental, lacking the novel's subtlety, and less interesting when the action leaves the ball park, Barry Levinson's beautifully shot film is nonetheless a charming fairy tale.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Jammed full with cliches, The Natural never misses a chance to manipulate the audience

March 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A mature and elegiac fantasy done with feeling and sincerity that really captures the mystique of old-time baseball.

September 27, 2005 Full Review Source: FulvueDrive-in.com
FulvueDrive-in.com

The most sentimental movie you needn't be ashamed to love.

July 14, 2004

Sappy fun

March 24, 2003
Beach Reporter (Southern California)

The cinematography is lush, the Randy Newman score is so epic that Hollywood uses it for practically every movie trailer that isn't a Chris Tucker comedy or a Shaft remake, and the period detail, and baseball scenes, are top notch.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Lessons for life, suitable for the Disney Channel and inspiration for people who love fairy tales ... a favorite of people who love sentiment and melodrama.

September 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Natural

He lived for a dream that wouldn't die.

Saw it again! Probably one of the best baseball movies ever made. Robert Redford nail his role as Roy Hobbs, amazing talent! Wicked story! Everything about this movie appears authentic. From the time period, to the baseball scenes. These guys really look like a baseball team. A touching story, without being hokey. You get the feeling you are watching something mystical and magical along with all the characters in the movie, and it is played with just the right note. Thrilling and inspiring. A well-made, well-acted film. Loved the end, one of the best endings ever!

An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.
August 1, 2011
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

I won't call The Natural a bad movie but that doesn't mean I'm going to say that it lives up to its almost mythic status as a truly great movie. Robert Redford is likable and despite some weird aspects of the story (Barbara Hershey and Kim Basinger's bad luck superpower in general) you like him and you root for him. Despite the over 2 hour running time it feels like another 15 or 20 minutes could've smoothed some rough edges out. The mystery behind Roy Hobbs was kind of anticlimactic (I was ALMOST hoping he'd be a ghost or an angel or something.) The "bad guys" were either an unlikable shade of unlikable or just downright creepy (Darren McGavin and his glass eye.) Not great, not awful, but that final home run was pretty wild...
June 30, 2011
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

I remembered this being a childhood favorite, but I hadn't seen it for a long time. It has even gotten better with age, being such a classic example of a true American Dream. Robert Redford really did a great job as Roy Hobbs, a character that has your heart from the moment he appears onscreen. The story is extremely well told with a truly beautiful late thirties backdrop. You don't have to be a baseball fan or a sports fan period to love this movie and feel a sense of attachment to it, that's how strong it is.
November 28, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

Quintessential sports movie with something for fans and non-fans alike. Hobbs rounding the bases in a shower of electrical sparks is iconic cinema at it's best.
November 12, 2010
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

    1. Roy Hobbs: Fred, it took me 16 years to get here. You play me, and you'll get the best I've got.
    – Submitted by George P (4 months ago)
    1. Pop Fisher: It's the right thing to do.
    – Submitted by Jesse K (12 months ago)
    1. Gus Sands: You're missing the whole point kid, I already did.
    – Submitted by Tom K (20 months ago)
    1. Bump Bailey: [after failing to catch a fly ball] I lost it in the sun.
    2. Pop Fisher: [looks up at the cloudy sky] Blinding.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Pop Fisher: People don't start playing ball at your age, they retire!
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
    1. Roy Hobbs: Pick me out a winner Bobby.
    – Submitted by Francis L (21 months ago)
View all quotes (8)

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