The Natural - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Natural Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 16, 2008
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.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2006
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...
Super Reviewer
½ January 27, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
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.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2010
Norse mythology, Greek mythology and even stories from the bible all lend themselves well to baseball, a sport that has been steeped in myth since it's inception. Babe Ruth calling his shot, the mighty Casey striking out, the game of baseball has an aura of mystery about it. The Natural seeks to capture that elusive mysterious quality in Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), a natural born baseball player who, like Hercules or Thor, displays a near super-human skill that seems born of the gods. Every legend needs a legendary weapon like excaliber, and Hobbs is no exception: he has a bat crafted by his own hands from the remains of lightning split tree, a devastating thing which knocks balls through steel and concrete. Hobbs' first great feat of legend is striking out "The Whammer" (Joe Don Baker), a fictionalized version of Babe Ruth. Unfortunately, in so doing he attracts the attention of Harriet Bird (Barbara Hersey), a serial killer who's been shooting with silver bullets all the best athletes of each given sport. Sixteen years later, Hobbs returns, finally in the major leagues (although playing for a fictional team), and still with his special bat. Pops, the coach (Wilford Brimley) doesn't have any use for a 36 year old rookie, and keeps him benched until, one night at batting practice, he sees the power of Hobbs firsthand. With the help of Hobbs' bat, the team makes a run for the pennant. Of course, every sports film needs a bad guy, and in this case, it comes in the form of Gus Sands (Darren McGavin), a big time bookie who wants Hobbs to throw a couple of games on purpose and make him some money. With the help of a hot blonde temptress (Kim Basinger), he almost sidetracks Hobbs for good. It's not until his childhood sweetheart (Glenn Close) comes back into his life like a Guinevere to his Lancelot that he regains his composure and puts his team back on track. Though made in 1984, The Natural feels like a classic hollywood picture, it's pure fantasy, and although it fictionalizes baseball to Paul Bunyon-esque proportions, the end result is quite a loving homage to the game.
Super Reviewer
½ July 3, 2007
Just an absolute classic, start to finish. Great performances from so many big names, again showing Levinson's ability to capture humanity on film. His characters are always so real, and even if his movies ever seem a bit cheesy or clichéd, it's impossible not to become emotionally attached. This movie invented the "baseball in a wheat field" shot, and it's possibly the best sports movie ever made.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2007
The bestest of 1930's baseball history film about the rise and fall of a baseball star.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2007
great but over the top baseball flick
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2007
The BEST baseball movie ever!
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2011
Ladies and gentlemen, a true baseball epic. By epic I mean long. I could tell this was gonna be tough to sit through by the first 2 minutes, in which Rob Redford just sits around, waiting for a train. Yup, as expected, it got more dull and drawn-out and added forced scene changes, heavy sentiment and a major cop-out ending to the flaws mix. Probably the biggest problem is that the storyline and just plain pitched and stitched together in a not-so-clean fashion, making it confusing. However, this hardly matters, as "The Natural" features an extremely compelling story, remarkable performances and other pros to make it a well-crafted and powerful sports film classic.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
This movie had everything for me: It's taken from an excellent author's book, it's a study in people by the people director, Barry Levinson, it's got baseball as a backdrop, and it has Robert Redford and a great cast to watch. It's not an exact adaptation of Malamud's story, because it has significant differences in the actual outcome, but it captures the spirit of the writing better than I expected. Laying the book aside, it's just a really great film.

If you're a sports fan, you'll appreciate it's nod to the good old days of baseball, and it's allegorical nod to various baseball scandals, as well as honoring real sports figures like Ted Williams. If you're not a baseball fan, there's still a lot to like here: The considerable onscreen presence of Redford as Roy Hobbs overcomes any quibbles, in my book, about his 'baseball playing skills'. It's a fable, guys, it's not Bull Durham.

The thread of mythology and superstition is a strong theme here. Pick a favorite herculean story, with its flawed hero, and this is it. It has so many nice touches, and so many great little 'french scenes' between characters. Pops and Roy; Roy and Memo; Roy and Iris, etc. The supporting cast is very strong all around, even if they only have small parts.

There are so many great lines, it would be hard to capture them all here, so I'll leave it to you to pick your favorites, but briefly...

"I believe people have two lives...the life they learn with and the life they live after that"

Pops: "Batting practice there!"
Hobbs: "I have been, every day."

Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2008
A well delivered sports drama about an older guy's attempt to get back in the game.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2009
Good sports drama. Robert Redford plays Henry Cobb, an ageing baseball player with a mysterious past, who's given one last chance. The story although very sentimental, was very watchable, and the performances were all top drawer. It's strange how most of the great sports movies are about baseball, and how the sport in reality is the most boring.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2009
Best. Sports. Movie. Ever.
½ February 12, 2010
Slow and odd at times, but there are some magical baseball moments in The Natural. (First viewing - Late childhood)
December 31, 2013
Embellished version of a true event, with the meaning and values that are considered quaint and pase by today's standards, but as American as peanuts, hot dogs and Cracker Jacks, yet with a twist: this is actually not one of the good ole boys.
October 15, 2013
A great baseball movie classic, that gives America's Past-Time a mythic quality, with it's older rookie turning a bum team around to Pennant race contenders, with his magic bat he made out of a tree that was struck by lightning. It is the kind of movie that reminds me why I love baseball. Redford is good as the mysterious man who starts playing baseball when most are ending their careers, trying to pick up where he left off many years before after being shot by a crazy woman. While it is about baseball on the surface, it is really about both success and failure in this country, which is really what baseball is about in the end.
July 11, 2012
Beautifully made, and a film that helps you remember that there was a time when Barry Levinson was a great director. Hey, at least he had a good period at one point. Other directors can't say the same! Direction, cinematography and film score are the stars here. The overt, heavy-handed melodrama hurts the film, stopping it from being a true classic.
April 26, 2010
The Natural is pure Americana through the eyes of Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), as a 35 year old rookie looking to succeed as the greatest underdog the game has ever seen. Strong acting and dialogue throughout make The Natural enjoyable to anyone who watches (I don't particularly like baseball), but it is Levinson's use of dramatic lighting and Newman's score that make this movie a real winner.
½ September 27, 2011
As a baseball lover and fanatic, this is my quintessential baseball movie. It has a few flaws (very long, a little over dramatic) but this movie manages to capture that special sort of magic and wonder that only a baseball diamond can hold.

The acting is top notch all around, not just from Redford, but from secondary characters like Duvall, Brimley, Farnsworth and Close. This is loosely based on a true baseball story, and that makes it all the more compelling.

I have to mention the score as well, as it features one of most iconic and well known themes in movie history. In addition to its place as a great baseball movie, its also a great period piece, taking its audience back to the sports golden age. The story is inspiring and a commentary on the human spirit. Even if you're not a baseball fan, this is a terrific movie, and one of Redford's greatest roles.
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