"Field of Dreams" is a 1989 American sports fantasy drama film written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson, based on W. P. Kinsella's 1982 novel Shoeless Joe. The film stars Kevin Costner as a farmer who builds a baseball field in his cornfield that attracts the ghosts of baseball legends, including Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and the Chicago Black Sox. Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, and Burt Lancaster (in his final film role) also star. It was theatrically released on May 5, 1989.
"The film received generally positive reviews from critics,and was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. In 2017, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant'."
“It was like coming this close to your dreams... and then watch them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.” - Moonlight Graham, one of the most profound lines in cinematic history.
"Leonard Bernstein was the first choice to compose the score, for the film but he was overbooked. At first, James Horner was unsure if he could work on the film due to scheduling restrictions. Then he watched a rough cut and was so moved that he accepted the job of scoring it. Robinson had created a temp track which was disliked by Universal executives. When the announcement of Horner as composer was made, they felt more positive because they expected a big orchestral score, similar to Horner's work for An American Tail. Horner, in contrast, liked the temporary score, finding it "quiet and kind of ghostly". He decided to follow the idea of the temp track, creating an atmospheric soundtrack which would "focus on the emotions". The score was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score but lost to the Alan Menken score for The Little Mermaid. In addition to Horner's score, portions of several pop songs are heard during the film. They are listed in the following order in the closing credits:
"Crazy", written by Willie Nelson and performed by Beverly D'Angelo "Daydream", written by John Sebastian and performed by The Lovin' Spoonful "Jessica", written by Dickey Betts and performed by The Allman Brothers Band "China Grove", written by Tom Johnston and performed by The Doobie Brothers "Lotus Blossom", written by Billy Strayhorn and performed by Duke Ellington
James Earl Jones portrayed Terence Mann, and he delivers the magnificent monologue:
"Ray, people will come. Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it.
"They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.
"And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters.
"The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.
"This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."
This film brings emotions to the surface for me. I viewed the film in Edinburgh and when the lights came up at the end, everyone was leaving, apparently unmoved. I was the only person still seated, sobbing like an (American) idiot.
This film brings emotions to the surface for me. I viewed the film in Edinburgh and when the lights came up at the end, everyone was leaving, apparently unmoved. I was the only person still seated, sobbing like an (American) idiot.[/]
You’re not alone. I watched this a while back and the tears still run. Fantastic film with a perfect score.
Honestly speaking, unless you ABSOLUTELY love the film and/or score, it's not an essential upgrade to me (and I did buy it). It's mainly more short, ghostly cues...variants on what was already on the original album...and some extra band/jazz cues. There is one really good new cue - The Decision - which would have made the old release perfect, had it been included. I didn't notice any major sound upgrade either...but then the old album always sounded fine to me. But it's a lovely package and presentation, with obviously a more thorough booklet and notes compared to the original release. So it all depends where you stand on the score itself and the old edition.
I occasionally wonder if this is Horner's most original score? Or maybe just his most unique? It's the one I find that doesn't borrow (borrows the least?) from his other work and it's one that I don't hear repeated later in other films.
Buy the expansion? If you love this score? Yes. If it's a score that you revisit no and again and think "Oh, I have this, don't I?" maybe not.
There are a few great new tracks. Dinner's Ready is more of Horner's Big Band work that is lovely. The Decision is a pivotal moment in the film and I'm glad to have it. It's actually really great.
But listening to the original album I never thought "Boy, is this missing my favorite moments." This isn't The Rocketeer. The original album? Well, it covers all the bases. (Sorry.)
Arguing against myself: This is the best presentation of this score. The album did it well. This does it better.