Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Natural (1984)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Natural (1984)

In Barry Levinson's allegorical and mythical fairy tale baseball film based on Bernard Malamud's 1952 story (and the Camelot legend) - and with Randy Newman's soaring score:

  • the opening sequence set on a farm in Nebraska - a young and sports-gifted Roy Hobbs (Paul Sullivan Jr. as boy) was playing 'catch' with his elderly father Ed Hobbs (Alan Fudge); shortly later (during a dialogue-free sequence) while chopping wood outdoors, Mr. Hobbs suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack at the foot of the farm's large oak tree; when the tree was struck by lightning that evening during a storm, the tree trunk was split, and from the wood splinters, young Roy crafted a baseball bat, nicknamed and inscribed with the name "Wonderboy" (and a lightning flash symbol) - Roy's magical "Wonderboy" bat was reminiscent of Arthurian legend with a lightning bolt inscribed on it and carved out of a tree struck by lightning
Opening Sequence

Young Roy Pitching to His Father

At the Foot of Oak Tree, Roy's Father Died

Roy's Handcrafted "Wonderboy" Bat
  • years later, pitcher Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) received news of a try-out with the Chicago Cubs (Roy was overjoyed: "I gotta reach for the best in me" he told his neighborhood's childhood sweetheart girlfriend and prospective fiancee Iris Gaines (Glenn Close)); presumably, they slept together that evening, and he - unknowingly - impregnated her before leaving
  • while on a train trip to Chicago, he stopped at a county fair-carnival during a beautiful sun-set, and impressively delivered three strike-out pitches thrown as a wager to a Babe Ruth-like big league slugger named "The Whammer" (Joe Don Baker)
Roy's Pitching Wager Against "The Whammer"
"The Whammer"
(Joe Don Baker)
Pitcher Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford)
Bystander Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey)
  • shortly later, the shocking and unexplained scene of Roy's shooting (with a silver bullet) by a mysterious, deranged, black funeral-clad, veiled Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey), who had lured him to her Chicago hotel room; he was confused and asked: "What's goin' on?" - she responded with a question: "Roy, will you be the best there ever was in the game?"; when he answered: "That's right", Roy was shot in the abdomen - it sidetracked his career for many years
  • 16 years later (in the year 1939), middle-aged, 35 year-old 'rookie' Roy joined the last-place New York Knights, managed by Coach Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley), who believed he was too old to play; during his first batting practice, he repeatedly knocked balls into the stands with his "very special bat" - the "Wonderboy"
  • the scene of Roy's first time major-league at bat when pinch-hitting for star outfielder Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey (Michael Madsen) against the Phillies in the bottom of the 7th inning; after striking the baseball, its cover came off and was picked up by the shortstop, while the ball sailed into the field - as lightning dramatically struck - to give Roy a triple and put the Knights into the lead - it was a miraculous comeback
Roy's First Major-League at Bat
First Time at Bat in Major Leagues
The Baseball Cover
  • the sequence of the end of Roy's long slump in Chicago with the appearance of the pure and angelic "lady in the white dress" in the stands - Roy's ex-girlfriend Iris Gaines stood up just before he slugged a tremendous blast of a home-run that shattered the giant clock on the scoreboard in Wrigley Field (it ended the game although the Chicago Cubs should still have had a turn to bat the bottom of the inning); after Roy rounded the bases, he attempted to look up into the stands, but was blinded by popping flashbulbs
  • Iris' visit to Roy who was recuperating in the maternity ward of the hospital after an attempted poisoning; at first he told her: "Some mistakes we never stop payin' for"; he admitted that he didn't expect the earlier assassination attempt: "I didn't see it coming"; they had a discussion about having two lives, and how we learn from our mistakes: (Iris: "You know, I believe we have two lives....The life we learn with and the life we live with after that"); she reminded him about his impressive legacy: "With or without the records, they'll remember you. Think of all those young boys you've influenced. There are so many of them"; he asked: "That day in Chicago, why did you stand up?" - she answered: "I didn't want to see you fail"
  • the feel-good Hollywood ending -- the scene of the last game of the playoffs between the Knights and the Pittsburgh Pirates [Note: Roy had been under pressure through bribery to 'throw' the game, and had just learned that Iris' son Ted was his!] - when in the bottom of the ninth with two men on and two outs, Roy (without his "Wonderboy" bat - after he shattered it hitting a foul ball) requested of Bobby Savoy (George Wilkosz), the batboy: "Go pick me out a winner, Bobby" - the Savoy Special)
  • although bleeding from his abdomen (his past injury), Roy (who was inspired by a note written by Iris, again in the stands, about fathering an out-of-wedlock child years earlier with her) struck the ball with a mighty whack, and hit the giant set of stadium lights - to win the series for his team and advance to the World Series; there was a cascade of exploding floodlights and showering electrical sparks, as the announcer delivered the film's final line as he rounded the bases: "And it's spinning way, way back up, high into the right field! That ball is still going. It's way back, high up in there. He did it. Hobbs did it!"
Roy's Splintered "Wonderboy" Bat
Roy: "Go pick me out a winner, Bobby"
"Savoy Special"
  • the final (tacked-on) concluding scene (a book-end to the film's opening) of a redeemed Roy with Iris and their 16 year old son Ted (a blonde carbon-copy of young Roy); she watched affectionately as he played catch on the Nebraska farm

Hobbs' Shooting by Deranged Harriet Bird

Roy's Impressive Batting Practice (Slugging with his "Wonderboy" bat) For the Last Place New York Knights

Coach Pop Fisher With Roy's "Wonderboy" Bat

Angelic "Lady in White Dress" (Iris) in Stands

The End of Roy's Slump - His Home-Run Ball Struck the Scoreboard's Clock

The Hospital Room Discussion - Roy & Iris

Concluding Scene - Roy with Iris Watching, Playing Catch With His Own Son


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