The Natural

Movie review by
Peter Albert, Common Sense Media
The Natural Movie Poster Image
Sappy baseball movie has violence, emotional intensity.
  • PG
  • 1984
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A recurring idea is that it's not enough simply to be born with natural talent; talent must be developed and practiced by the person with the talent. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Roy Hobbs is humble with his talents, always takes the time to sign autographs and meet the fans, especially the kids who go to the ballpark. He doesn't compromise himself by taking a payoff to throw games so his team loses. 

Violence

A woman shoots the lead character in the chest. He falls backwards, presumed dead. Later, an image of this woman dead on a sidewalk and covered with blood is shown. A baseball player dies after being shown running head first into the outfield wall. An infielder is hit in the crotch with a ground ball, falls to the ground writhing in agony. In a flashback scene, lead character's father shown falling to the ground, dying of a heart attack. 

Sex

Implied sex. Woman drops her coat after entering the lead character's hotel room, implied that she is naked underneath; no nudity. 

Language

"Son of a bitch." "S--tkicker." "Hell." "Jesus." 

Consumerism

Players drink Schlitz beer. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigar and cigarette smoking. Characters drink liquor, wine, champagne, and beer; no one acts drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Natural is a 1984 movie in which Robert Redford plays a mysterious and gifted baseball player who emerges as a rookie in his mid-30s and turns his team's fortunes around. For lovers of baseball movies and sports films in general, this is one of the all-time classics. As a movie set in the late 1930s, there's regular cigarette and cigar smoking. The lead character is shot in the chest and falls to the ground bleeding; the woman who shot him is later shown in a picture on the sidewalk dead and covered in blood. Implied sex when a seductive woman enters the lead character's hotel room, removes her coat, and reveals nothing underneath (no nudity). Beer and alcohol drinking, but no one acts drunk. Cursing includes "son of a bitch" and "s--tkicker." The lead character's father dies of a heart attack in a flashback scene.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byjwidrow March 5, 2011

Not appropriate for sensitive children

After grabbing this movie from the library with vague memories of seeing it the first time, I checked with this site for a review to ensure that it was appropri... Continue reading
Adult Written byJake is the best August 25, 2018

Yay!

This is the best movie I have ever seen and it has a great message!
Kid, 10 years old January 19, 2014
Teen, 17 years old Written byGoodOlBoy1130 June 27, 2014

One of my favorite movies

This is a great movie but has some parts that you should skip. For some parts have violence and other elements that you should not show your children yet. But o... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE NATURAL stars Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, a rising baseball star sidetracked by tragedy, who mysteriously reappears decades later as a rookie in the major leagues. His smashing at-bats quickly dispels skepticism about his age, but when he succumbs to temptations his luck runs cold. He doesn't want to help himself out of the funk: his mysterious "lost years" are off-limits for discussion to his girlfriend, his managers (Wilford Brimley and sweet-eyed Richard Farnsworth), and press hound Robert Duvall.

Is it any good?

Off the field, the dialogue is often inexplicable and women, in general, are trouble. Barbara Hershey and Kim Basinger play femme fatales, and Glenn Close is Hobbs' reticent lady in white. Each are given complexity to flesh out character, but some scenes fall head-scratchingly flat: the true trouble stemming from the strain of forcing legend into a modern script.

Still, The Natural has iconic moments (Glenn Close in the stadium under a sunlit halo of a hat, and the cascading shards of popping stadium lights), and is off-kilter enough to temper much of the sentimentality. Baseball fans will appreciate that this movie is at its most intelligent and loosest in the ballpark, where happily, Redford and Levinson are also most comfortable. The lead's unwavering integrity is the movie's heart: The Natural does not glamorize vice but triumphs over it with a wholesome finale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sports movies. How is this similar to and different from other sports movies? 

  • In sports movies, how do the filmmakers heighten the tension and action when the climactic scene involves the lead character who must find a way to win in spite of the challenges? How is The Natural an example of this convention? 

  • What aspects of this movie make it enjoyable and entertaining even for those who might not be baseball fans? 

Movie details

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