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Showing 1-10 of 325 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on May 19, 2003
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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on September 6, 2002
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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on April 14, 2002
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!
22 comments30 of 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 8, 2003
The Legend of Bagger Vance is much more than a movie about a golf caddie. It's a tale of redemption and the indomitable nature of the human spirit. It's about how the rhythm of golf is the rhythm of life, and so much more.
Matt Damon plays Rannulph Junuh, the pride of Savannah and one of the area's best golfers, who returns from World War I shattered and disillusioned from the horrors of war. He reluctantly competes in a local exhibition golf match against golf legends Bobby Jones (Joel Gretsch) and Walter Hagen (Bruce McGill) to give it some local flavor. Junuh is estranged from his socialite girlfriend (Charlize Theron), who is sponsoring the tournament to save her late father's golf resort, and idolized by young Hardy (newcomer J. Michael Moncrief, played as an older man by Jack Lemmon) but still not sure of his ability until the mysterious caddie Bagger Vance (Will Smith) comes in and teaches him about golf, life, and redemption.
Director Robert Redford manages to extract superb performances from his cast, and despite the fact that Will Smith was billed as the star this picture clearly belongs to Matt Damon, who turns in his best acting performance since Good Will Hunting.
The cinematography in this film is spectacular, and Rachel Portman's score is one of the most moving and beautiful I'd heard in a long time. There's a lot to like about this movie...and it has become one of my all time favorites.
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When I saw it at the theater, The Legend of Baggar Vance touched me so deeply that I went back 2 more times to see it (something I've never done before.)

Directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron, this movie is about golf as a metaphor for life. I very much identified with Rannulph Junuh, the disillusioned WW1 veteran who was searching for his 'authentic swing'--as well as himself.

Bagger the mysterious caddy (played by Smith) is a wise and good-natured guru that challenges Junuh to reach deep within him and remember who he was--and who he can become.

The mystical themes that I enjoyed in this movie was how the "mundane" can be a powerful metaphor for spiritual truths, what it means to be authentic, and how life has a rhythm and flow to it that can be eased into when one becomes more conscious.
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on December 6, 2010
First, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" is a wonderful story played out on a golf course that beautifully demonstrates the attitude we should have about the challenges we face in our lives. Second, you do not have to be a golfer to enjoy the movie. And third, if you are a golfer and buy the movie expecting it to be about golf you'll be disappointed.

With golf referenced so many times why the disclaimers? Golf is a metaphor for Life in many ways and director Robert Redford makes the intellectual life-golf connection without getting lost in golfiness. One of great appeals of golf is that it is played within an Eden-like setting, yet a typical round is filled with traps, challenges, goals, problem solving, personal errors, and dramatic successes. Each moment of the game, whether putting or driving, requires focus, yet between each stroke you have time to relax and savor the scenery, just like in life. Romance, tragedy, recovery, personal failure and rising to overcome challenges are all played out in various ways around the movie's fictional course.

The acting and cinematography are first rate. Charlize Theron is powerfully present, majestically beautiful. Matt Damon's personal demons are challenged one by one. Will Smith is wonderfully subdued, demonstrating perfectly that we should face our challenges with an easy smile, anticipating success.

An unexpected jewel in the movie is the whimsical narrative by an uncredited Jack Lemmon. His presence provides a haunting, poignant exclamation to his last movie because Mr Lemmon died the year after the movie was released. If you loved Jack Lemmon in life you have to own this movie. Watch the movie and you'll understand why.

Although the movie is not available on Blu-ray, don't let that stop you from buying the DVD. The widescreen version is a 1.85:1 aspect ratio so it fills an HDTV screen. The DVD transfer is almost as sharp and clear as Blu-ray. The DVD even includes DTS as an audio option, a bonus find on DVD transfers.

If somebody told me I could only own ten movies for the rest of my life, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" would be on the list.
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on March 14, 2005
Using the metaphor of golf as being life, the theme is, "It's only a game that will never be won, only played."

Being one with the ball and the flag represents being one with all things - the trinity, if you will. Oneness is a feeling and when you feel it, great things happen, as Junuh became aware of.

Robert Redford directed this winner and, as always, had an outstanding cast with a twist of thought for the script.

Some people will enjoy the movie only for the golfing theme but it's far more than any golf game. Other reviewers here found that out, and some reviewers have no clue to the deep meaning in the movie and sought out criticism of how the Southern accent was portrayed. Those people are still in the 'rough'.

Junuh had to dig deep down within himself to gather the feeling that drives him on to a winning situation salvaged from a beaten-down self-image and having the odds against his favor. Such is life and we all have that same within-ness to draw from. Bagger Vance was only the outward appearance of one who comes into and out of our lives or he was one who appears for a short time, bringing a message of hope and inspiration (much like Jesus), then leaves because he knows we'll never discover ourselves unless we HAVE to.

An excellent film. A BIG two-thumbs-up for anyone who likes the profound hidden messages built into an award-winning playable storyline. Outstanding photography. A first-class, quality movie to be enjoyed for years to come.

Gail Gupton, Author: The 31-Day Diet of Spiritual Enlightenment and Seekers of Truth
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on May 7, 2001
Whatever happened to giving a movie a chance? Critics and audiences seem to have totally lost their ability to watch a movie that does not involve at least 6 violent or racy scenes. This was a traditional movie, that had a beginning, middle and an ending. A good moral, good actors and a marvelous script. There was one war scene, but done in slow motion, as if it was a memory slowly fading away. I thought this movie was very good, if not a bit corny at times, it was a lovable innocent movie, which I highly recommend.
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on May 14, 2001
I am a teacher at Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa and among the subjects that my 11th grade students explore is the commentary of the Bhagavad Gita written by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. As we were only working on the first chapter, one of my students told the class that we should all see the Legend of Baggar Vance since it was so obviously inspired from the Bhagavad Gita. I hadn't heard of the movie, so I watched it and I was delighted. I think it is so very important to have such a timeless and universal message expressed in modern days situations and to show the practical value of spiritual principles. Our students practice Transcendantal Meditation twice daily and when they hear " he found a way to stop thinking without falling asleep", they can relate to this so closely for they do that morning and evening. I am planning to show the movie in class for very few students have seen it so far. We will then have a discussion finding the similarities between the Bhagavad Gita and the movie. They are going to love it. And me too. Thank you for producing such an inspiring film.
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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2012
This movie is adapted from the Steven Pressfield's novel, "The Legend of Bagger Vance," in which the author discusses the metaphysics of Bhagavad-Gita in a golf game setting. The conversation is supposed to be between the war-veteran and a golf champion, R. Junah (named to rhyme with Arjuna) and his caddie Bagger Vance (similar to Bhagavan). In this story, Vance explains the game of golf as a metaphor for the soul's search for its true identity: The search for the "authentic golf swing" and the search for the true meaning of life. Junah's feeling of guilt (after witnessing death and destruction in the WWI), the futility of life and Vance's words of encouragement during the game are reminiscent of the teachings of Gita.

In the movie, Rannulph Junah (Matt Damon) is asked to play a game of golf with golf-legends Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones in Savannah, GA. Initially he refuses saying that in a world torn apart by conflict, competition to win a game is fruitless. When Vance (Will Smith) offers to be his caddie, he agrees, and during the game, Vance asks Junah a series of questions about his identity intended to promote Juanh's realization of true Self. Vance proclaims his mission is to teach the three paths; action, knowledge, and devotion. For author Pressfield, this story is a contemporary version of Gita, and director Robert Redford was drawn to the mystical dimension portrayed in a golf game and its human experience. The special effects of the movie convey the appreciation of nature and oneness of existence to echo the sentiment of Gita. There are few instances where Gita's message is reminiscent, when Junah rebukes a young boy for being ashamed that his father sweeps the streets, stressing the honor and integrity of his profession. At another instance, Vance corrects Junah that the soul is not dead when the body perishes. During the game, Junah states that an "eagle" on this hole will finish the game, but Vance nods disapprovingly, if you do not" perfect the swing," meaning to indicate, you loose, and the cycle of life and death continues.

For someone who is not familiar with the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita or Pressfield's novel, they miss the entire metaphysics of the movie, since a significant part of the movie dwells in the love life of Junah and his girlfriend Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron). Junah goes on a journey of temptations that is not in the book, but developed for the screen. Having tackled baseball in the movie, "The Natural," Robert Redford admits during an interview that golf is used in this movie as a metaphor. Redford states that he liked the story of a frustrated and dejected golfer who lost his swing must find an "authentic swing," to get back into the game. This is the same as losing a connection to your soul, losing your rhythm or a stride in life. Golf is the appropriate since it's about a struggle against self. You've got a club, a ball and nature; the greens, the fairways, the wind and light, and the precision and competence and centeredness it takes to have your swing. The film is narrated by Jack Lemmon who also makes a brief appearance as a veteran golf player. As expected, both Matt Damon and Will Smith offer splendid performances and Charlize Theron dazzles as the wealthy girlfriend of Junah.

1. The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life
2. The Natural
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