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The Greatest Game Ever Played

4.7 out of 5 stars 526 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Francis Ouimet was a working-class immigrant kid who, flanked by a 10-year-old caddie smaller than his golf bag, started with nothing and came out of nowhere to break down the barriers and become America's first golf hero nearly a century before Tiger Woods. In a world where it was believed only the wealthy and privileged could play, and win, at golf, it took an outsider to change the rules forever and prove that anyone with enough courage, grit and faith could achieve greatness. It all came to a head at the 1913 U.S. Open. Suddenly, Francis found himself in an ultimate showdown of skill and spirit. He, the unknown upstart American, facing off against Harry Vardon, a U.S. Open winner and six-time British Open champion. One was a towering idol, the other an impossible underdog - and their legendary battle would transcend sport to become an illustration of human determination at its best.

Review

"A charming, inspirational crowd-pleaser." -- SCOTT MANTZ, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD

"A welcome surprise for moviegoers of all ages... golf has never been portrayed this way before. Kudos to Bill Paxton." -- LEONARD MALTIN, ENTERTIANMENT TONIGHT

"Masterful." -- GENE SHALIT, TODAY

"The Greatest Game Every Played is one of the greatest movies ever ... " -- LARRY KING

"This is one of those come-from-behind-blue-collar-versus-high-falutin’ inspirational tales that pluck heartstrings." -- NEW YORK POST, LIZ SMITH

Special Features

A View From The Gallery: On The Set Of THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED|Two Legends And The Greatest Game|Feature Film Audio Commentary: Director Bill Paxton|Feature Film Audio Commentary: Writer Mark Frost|From Caddy To Champion: Francis Ouimet

Product Details

  • Actors: Shia La Beouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias Koteas
  • Directors: Bill Paxton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (526 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CNFC76
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Greatest Game Ever Played" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

One doesn't have to have read Mark Frost's book (he adapted his book for the screenplay) to enjoy this movie. Obviously, the book contains much more detail regarding the personal histories of Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, JJ McDermott & others leading up to (and following) the 1913 US Open, and there was no way that Frost could have included all of the minute detail without at least doubling the length of the movie. One also misses the discussion of the technology available to the turn-of-the-century golfer, as well as some of the geo-political forces that led to Vardon & Ted Ray making their tour of the United States.

However, what one does get is a beautifully filmed story that has the predictable feel-good nature one would expect from a Disney film, without being sappy. The principals bear a striking resemblance to the historical figures (right down to Eddie the caddie), and the historical match is accurately rendered. While one doesn't get the book's stroke by stroke narrative, one does get to enjoy the energy of the galleries as well as the immense pressures bearing down on the tournament leaders.

I only have a couple of significant complaints about the movie. One is with the wholy fictional relationship (concocted for the purposes of this film) between Francis Ouimet and the upper class young lady. It smacks uncomfortably of Jack-Rose relationship in Titanic, and when the movie focuses on this relationship, it skates dangerously close to outright corniness. Fortunately, once the tournament begins, this subplot is thankfully relegated to the background. By & large it interferes only minimally with the story.
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If you love golf, you'll love this movie. Even if you don't love golf, you'll enjoy it. The cinematography is phenomenal. The makers of this movie used a specially designed camera in many scenes to follow the ball from shot to stop. One of my favorite shots was Ted Ray's blast through the woods, between the trees, and onto the green with the camera following the ball all the way! As others have said, it's the best golf movie yet, largely because the camera work and film editing added much to the magic of this true come-from-behind story. I also think the close working relationship between director Bill Paxton and the author of the book, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Mark Frost, added to the movie's charm and authenticity.

Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon had something in common. They were `common', according to the societal standards of their respective times. One is American, the other English, born a generation apart. Vardon grew up to become a world-renowned golfer, but could never join "the club" in his own homeland because he came from the underclass. However, he did become a hero to growing boys in Europe and America, including young Francis Ouimet, who grew up across the street from the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Francis began caddying at a tender age, and there were those who saw something special in him. These gentlemen, and Ouimet's mother (at least in the movie), encouraged him to take his love of golf from the caddie stage to the player's arena. With the odds against him from several directions, he played his way into the hearts and minds of his American countrymen and the world, and into the record books, by playing as an amateur in the 1913 U.S. Open and winning.
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To fully appreciate THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED, it's good to compare it with BOBBY JONES, STROKE OF GENIUS. Both films cost between $20M and $25M. Both were about the game of golf at the turn of the 20th century. Both focused on young, underprivileged underdogs who went on to become the best amateurs in the game, beating out their professional competition. And both show the influence of the great Harry Vardon.

BOBBY JONE, STROKE OF GENIUS, of course, is about Bobby Jones, only amateur ever to win all three tournaments of the Grand Slam in the same year. And he did it while also working on three college degrees simultaneously - thus the "Genius." Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ) did a decent job playing Bobby, although he didn't look anything like the man. And Aiden Quinn was good as Harry Vardon - even down to his golfing ability - although he was all but cut from the film because he wouldn't shave a goatee he had grown for another film.

While BOBBY JONES is about an entire golf career, THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED is about one tournament: the 1913 US Open, held at Brookline Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. That was the year that a caddie - Francis Ouimet, who lived across the street from the country club - beat the two top British professionals, including Harry Vardon, and won the tournament - the biggest upset in golf history. Shia LeBeouf (Holes) does a great job playing Ouimet, and Stephen Dillane (The Hours) is superb as Vardon.

The biggest difference between these two films is in the direction. With BOBBY JONES, Rowdy Herrington (Road House) opted to do a very straight drama in the tradition of Chariots of Fire. It turned out to be far more than he could handle. The script is weak.
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