The Natural

1984

The Natural

Critics Consensus

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

82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 37,723
User image

The Natural Photos

Movie Info

Nothing was going to stop Roy Hobbs from fulfilling his boyhood dream of baseball superstardom. 14-year-old Hobbs fashions a powerful bat from a fallen oak tree. He soon impresses major league scouts with his ability, fixing his extraordinary talent in the mind of sportswriter Max Mercy, who eventually becomes instrumental in Hobb's career. But a meeting with a mysterious woman shatters his dream. Years pass and an older Hobbs reappears as a rookie from The New York Knights. Overcoming physical pain and defying those who have a stake in seeing the Knights lose, Hobbs, with his boyhood bat, has his chance to lead the Knights to the pennant and to finally fulfill his dream.

Watch it now

Cast

Robert Redford
as Roy Hobbs
Robert Duvall
as Max Mercy
Wilford Brimley
as Pop Fisher
Glenn Close
as Iris Gaines
Kim Basinger
as Memo Paris
Barbara Hershey
as Harriet Bird
Robert Prosky
as The Judge
Joe Don Baker
as The Whammer
John Finnegan
as Sam Simpson
Alan Fudge
as Ed Hobbs
Paul Sullivan
as Young Roy
Rachel Hall
as Young Iris
Robert III Rich
as Teb Hobbs
Michael Madsen
as Bump Bailey
Jon Van Ness
as John Olsen
Danny Aiello
as Emil LaJang
Mickey Treanor
as Doc Dizzy
George Wilkosz
as Bobby Savoy
Anthony J. Ferrera
as Coach Wilson
Danny Aiello III
as Emil LaJong
Joe Castellano
as Allie Stubbs
Eddie Cipot
as Gabby Laslow
Ralph Tabakin
as Al's Customer
Ken Grassano
as Al Fowler
Robert Kalaf
as Cal Baker
Gayle Vance
as Maid at Party
Bernie McInerney
as Hospital Doctor
Barry Kivel
as Pat McGee
Steven Kronovet
as Tommy Hinkle
James Meyer
as Dutch Schultz
Ed Walsh
as Newsreel Presenter
Sam Green
as Murphy
Sibby Sisti
as Pirates Manager
Phillip D. Rosenberg
as Pitcher Youngberry
Christopher B. Rehbaum
as Pitcher John Rhoades
Nicholas Koleff
as Umpire Augie
Jerry Stockman
as Umpire Babe
James Quamo
as Memorial Game Umpire
Joseph Strand
as Home Plate Umpire at Final Game
Darren McGavin
as Gus Sands
View All

News & Interviews for The Natural

Critic Reviews for The Natural

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (8)

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

    Mar 19, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 21, 2011 | Full Review…
  • The Natural is an impeccably made, but quite strange, fable about success and failure in America.

    Mar 21, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top 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.

    Mar 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Let yourself go and be rewarded by the sight of a hero running home to victory through clouds of fire.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top 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.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Natural

  • 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.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 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 tomorrow...be there!" Hobbs: "I have been, every day." Recommended...enjoy.
    Mark K 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.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 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.
    Conner R Super Reviewer

The Natural Quotes

News & Features