The Natural (1984)



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

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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.
PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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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
Philip Mankowski
as Hank Benz
Danny Aiello III
as Emil LaJong
Joe Castellano
as Allie Stubbs
Eddie Cipot
as Gabby Laslow
Ken Grassano
as Al Fowler
Ralph Tabakin
as Al's Customer
Gayle Vance
as Maid at Party
Robert Kalaf
as Cal Baker
Bernie McInerney
as Hospital Doctor
Barry Kivel
as Pat McGee
Steven Kronovet
as Tommy Hinkle
Elizabeth Ann Klein
as Stern Nurse
James Meyer
as Dutch Schultz
Ed Walsh
as Newsreel Presenter
Mike Starr
as Boone
Sam Green
as Murphy
Martin Grey
as Knight
Joseph Mosso
as Knight
Duke McGuire
as Knight
Kevin Lester
as Knight
Ken Kamholz
as Knight
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
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Critic Reviews for The Natural

All Critics (37) | 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.

Full Review… | March 19, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 21, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 21, 2007
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.

Full Review… | March 21, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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.

Manu Gino
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...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

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.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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