The Natural

D: Barry Levinson
Tristar/Delphi (Mark Johnson)
US 1984
134 mins


W: Roger Towne & Phil Dusenberry [based on the novel by Bernard Malamud]
DP: Caleb Deschanel
Ed: Stu Linder
Mus: Randy Newman 
PD: Angelo Graham & Mel Bourne
Cos: Bernie Pollack & Gloria Gresham

Robert Redford (Roy Hobbs), Robert Duvall (Max Mercy), Glenn Close (Iris Gaines), Kim Basinger (Memo Paris), Wilford Brimley (Pop Fisher), Barbara Hershey (Harriet Bird), Robert Prosky (The Judge), Richard Farnsworth (Red), Joe Don Baker ('The Whammer')

Even if you're not a fan of baseball or even sports movies in general, The Natural has plenty about it to enjoy. 
Robert Redford plays an ageing player who is scouted by a struggling team who are initially reluctant to let him play due to his age, but when they subsequently let him loose on the field, he turns their season around.
The story may seem cliched and just like countless other triumph over adversity tales but it's actually a lot more clever than what you take at face value. There's plenty of references to Arthurian legend, including a homemade bat substituting for the legendary sword, Excalibur.
Set during the Great Depression, there's meticulous attention in period detail from director Barry Levinson and the rest of the production crew and Randy Newman's uplifting music must be one of the great music scores of all time (there's a good chance you've heard it even if you haven't seen the movie).

Robert Redford in The Natural
Robert Redford in The Natural