Film: Field of Dreams

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Film:

Field of Dreams

Director: Phil Alden Robinson
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Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

A phenomenal hit when it was released in 1989, Field of Dreams has become a modern classic and a uniquely American slice of cinema. It functions effectively as a moving drama about the power of dreams, a fantasy ode to our national pastime, and a brilliant adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s exquisite baseball novel Shoeless Joe. Kinsella himself found the film a delightful surprise, differing greatly from his novel but benefiting from its own creative variations. It is the film that cemented Kevin Costner’s status as an all-American screen star, but the…

Reviews

Amazon.com

A phenomenal hit when it was released in 1989, Field of Dreams has become a modern classic and a uniquely American slice of cinema. It functions effectively as a moving drama about the power of dreams, a fantasy ode to our national pastime, and a brilliant adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s exquisite baseball novel Shoeless Joe. Kinsella himself found the film a delightful surprise, differing greatly from his novel but benefiting from its own creative variations. It is the film that cemented Kevin Costner’s status as an all-American screen star, but the story resonates far beyond Costner’s handsome appeal. As just about everyone knows by now, Costner stars as Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who hears the mysterious words “If you build it, he will come,” and is compelled to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. His wife (Amy Madigan) supports the wild idea, but a reclusive novelist (modeled after J.D. Salinger and played by James Earl Jones) is not so easily persuaded. The idealistic farmer is either a visionary or a deluded fool, but his persistence is rewarded when spirits from baseball’s past begin appearing on the ball field. Past and present intermingle in the person of “Moonlight Graham” (superbly played by Burt Lancaster), an unknown player who sacrificed his dreams of baseball glory for a dignified life as a small-town physician…but what all of this means is unclear until the film’s memorably heartfelt conclusion. A meditation on family, memory, and faith, the film balances humor and magic to strike just the right chord of thoughtful emotion, affecting audiences so deeply that the baseball field created for the production has now become a mecca of sorts for dreamers around the world. Universal’s widescreen Collector’s Edition DVD is a real treat, offering extensive production notes, full-length commentary by writer-director Phil Alden Robinson, and the extensive behind-the-scenes documentary The Making of Field of Dreams. —Jeff Shannon

Related Works

Book:Shoeless Joe

Shoeless Joe: A Novel

W.P. Kinsella

“If you build it, he will come.” Them mysterious words of an Iowa baseball announcer lead Ray Kinsella to carve a baseball diamond in his cornfield in honor of his hero, the baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. This is a book “not so much about baseball as it is about dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American,” said the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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