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

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Movie Info

On the way to a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, young baseball phenom Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is shot by the unstable Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). After 16 years, Hobbs returns to pro baseball as a rookie for the last-place New York Knights. Despite early arguments with his manager, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley), Hobbs becomes one of the best players in the league, and the Knights start winning. But this upsets the Judge (Robert Prosky), their owner, who wants Hobbs to lose games, not win.

Cast & Crew

Glenn Close
Iris Gaines
Kim Basinger
Memo Paris
Barbara Hershey
Harriet Bird
Darren McGavin
Gus Sands (uncredited)
Joe Don Baker
The Whammer
John Finnegan
Sam Simpson
Philip M. Breen
Executive Producer
Roger Towne
Executive Producer
Mark Johnson
Producer
Randy Newman
Original Music
Caleb Deschanel
Cinematographer
Stu Linder
Film Editor
Mel Bourne
Production Design
Angelo P. Graham
Production Design
John Sweeney
Set Decoration
Bruce Weintraub
Set Decoration
Gloria Gresham
Costume Designer
Bernie Pollack
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for The Natural

Critic Reviews for The Natural

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (8)

  • 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 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • An otherwise fine sports fantasy is dragged down by an overindulgence in sentimentality.

    March 25, 2011 | 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.

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

    March 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • An otherwise fine sports fantasy is dragged down by an overindulgence in sentimentality.

    March 25, 2011 | 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.

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

    March 21, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Barry Levinson's 'The Natural' is a sports drama that gives me a pleasant time for two hours that roll like a pitcher's fastball in the postseason. [Full review in Spanish]

    February 27, 2021 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
  • When "The Natural" opened in 1984, I thought it was the best baseball movie ever made. Thirty-six years later (and after countless "Bull Durham" reruns), I find it falls far short of that original designation, but it's still got merit.

    December 13, 2020 | Rating: 3.5/5 | 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

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