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The Legend of Bagger Vance

4.4 out of 5 stars 473 customer reviews

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(Apr 03, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

A disillusioned war veteran, Capt. Rannulph Junah (Matt Damon), reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. He finds the game futile until his caddy, Bagger Vance (Will Smith), teaches him the secret of the authentic golf stroke which turns out also to be the secret to mastering any challenge and finding meaning in life.

Special Features

  • HBO Making Of: "Robert Redford Storyteller"

Product Details

  • Actors: Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Writers: Jeremy Leven, Steven Pressfield
  • Producers: Chris Brigham, Jake Eberts, Joseph P. Reidy, Karen Tenkhoff, Michael Nozik
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2001
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (473 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXI4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,433 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Legend of Bagger Vance" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a drama. Don't watch it looking for action of a lot of laughs, but don't think you won't enjoy it just because it doesn't have tons of humor or action. It deals with very real pain and develops some very strong characters.
The movie is set in the Savannah, Georgia in the middle of the Great Depression. Rannulph Junuh, played by Matt Damon, is a war veteran and former golfer who at one time possesed a lot of talent, but has now lost his "swing", not to mention his faith. Despite this he has been asked to play in an exhibition match against the two greatest golfers of his day. His caddy is Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith. Bagger is an angel, Junuh's gaurdian angel. He is the guide who shows Junuh the way to rid himself of his inner demons, and move on with his life.
This movie is wonderful film, and another of Redford's works of art. The acting is superb, and will be hard to surpass. The casting was done very well, and the story extremely well written. Don't miss this one.
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Format: DVD
One of the things I love best about Robert Redford's movies is the singular visual quality he employs in each, and the way he uses the environment to add to the telling of the tale. Whether it be in the breath-taking "A River Runs Through It", in which the stunning Montana countryside is a virtual unattributed co-star in the film, or "The Horse Whisperer", in which every rugged natural element about the pristine rural surroundings add to the tale, he always uses his topography, climate, and setting to charm the audience into the frame of reference he is using to spin his yarn. This is no less so here, where he uses the gorgeous background of the rural countryside in telling this tale of a man coming to terms with his potential.
This is a classic tale of a professional golfer with almost unlimited potential who is content to let it all ride because he is basically afraid of success. And with Matt Damon, he finds a believable and sympathetic protagonist who decides to take the chance and make the effort based on the mysterious appearance and subsequent profound influence of Bagger Vance, an almost angelic figure who we are finally left to wonder about. Will Smith steps out of his usual cocky roles to give a thoughtful and whimsical performance, and add immeasurably to the film.
Smith acts as a fulcrum throughout the movie, showing us the wisdom of homespun realism as opposed to city wisdom, of simple virtues as opposed to more sophisticated aims and pursuits, and of honesty and craftsmanship over gamesmanship and conniving.
This movie is very much in line with his previous efforts in "the Natural', another whimsical tale about a man coming to term with his talents and his demons, learning to finally accept both as coming from him at the same time he resolves his existential situation.
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Format: DVD
I absolutely love this movie. I know it gets some mixed reviews but I think it is because the world is way too cynical. Redford does and excellent job with view of sport as Metaphor for life. Juna has lost his swing which in life terms is his soul and must get it back if he is going to get back in the game. Bagger is a spiritual sage (caddy) of some sort who is there to help him find his way.
The cinematography is just breathtaking. The golfcourse looks like the Garden of Eden. I love stories about larger than life characters on a great journey. This is certainly one of them. The movie just makes you feel good about life. I find the score enchanting as it especially enhances the golf scenes. A very pleasing movie indeed. Will Smith does a great job in his untradional dramatic role although he has a few rather humorous parts.
The best is Lemmon's ending line as narrator. "Bagger always said it is a game that can't be won only played. So I played. I play on. I play for the moments yet to come. Looking for my place in the field."
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One aspect of this film not brought up is the fact that it is loosly based on the Bhagavad-Gita (refered to my many as "the Hindu New Testiment"). Anyone who has read this great masterpiece of literature should see this movie, if they have not already!
Will Smith's Character Bagger Vance reprsents Krishna, who is also called "Bhagavan"; Matt Damon plays Randall Juna ("R. Juna") who represents Krishna's friend Arjuna. Instead of Arjuna's chariot driver, Bagger is Juna's caddy. While this doesn't follow the story of the BG exactly, for those who know the story and the philosophy, both shine through in a beautiful and endearing way. Juna has returned from WWI with a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(called Shell Shock back then) and refuses to pick up his clubs and play golf in a tournement held in his hometown (like Arjuna's refusal to fight at the opening of the Barata War). Bagger tells Juna that "Inside each one of us is our one true authentic swing" and once, when someone asks him what is wrong with Juna, Bagger answers "The problem is, he still thinks he's Randall Juna!" Hindu philosophy is peeking out of ever dark corner in this film. It is truly a Gem, and I'm not usually a Will Smith or a Matt Damon fan...
If you're a student of Indian religion or philosophy, you MUST see this film!
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