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'Field of Dreams' Movie: Kevin Costner + Baseball, Ghosts & Corn in Sentimental Iowa Fantasy

Field of Dreams movie Kevin Costner then 1 of top box office draws on the planetField of Dreams movie with Kevin Costner. Between 1987 and 1992, Kevin Costner was one the top box office draws on the planet. Released in 1989, the sentimental Field of Dreams was one of the critical and commercial hits that helped to solidify Costner's standing, which would reach its acme with the release of eventual Best Picture and Best Director Oscar winner Dances with Wolves, an environmentally conscious drama that he co-produced, directed, and starred in. But after the worldwide 1992 blockbuster The Bodyguard, co-starring Whitney Houston, Costner's winning streak came to an end. The films that followed – A Perfect World, Wyatt Earp, The War – were underperformers. And then came the costly, troubled 1995 box office bomb (in relation to its exorbitant cost) Waterworld, which brought Costner's stardom to an abrupt – and permanent – halt.

Kevin Costner to attend 'Fields of Dreams' 20th anniversary Academy screening

Starring Kevin Costner in the days when he could do no wrong, Field of Dreams is turning 20. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the occasion by presenting a new print of the 1989 crowd-pleasing mix of familial bonds, baseball, ghosts, and corn syrup on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Hosted by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, the evening will also feature a cast and crew reunion that should include the following:

  • Actors Kevin Costner and Timothy Busfield.
  • Oscar-nominated screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, who also directed the movie.
  • Oscar-nominated producers Charles Gordon and Lawrence Gordon.
  • Cinematographer John Lindley.
  • Production designer Dennis Gassner.

The new Field of Dreams print comes courtesy of the Academy Film Archive and Universal Pictures.


Field of Dreams is the kind of movie that three-time Oscar winner Frank Capra (It Happened One Night, 1934; Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, 1936; You Can't Take It with You, 1938) might have directed and Oscar winner Robert Riskin (It Happened One Night) might have written for the screen back in the 1930s.

Gary Cooper, or perhaps James Stewart, would have starred as Field of Dreams' idealized American “everyman”: tall, white, handsome, diligent, venturesome, disembodied-voice-hearing Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, who takes a break from raising corn to build a baseball field so a handful of ghosts – the disgraced Chicago White Sox players – can come and throw some ball and, most importantly, so Ray can be reunited with his estranged and long dead Dad.

Jean Arthur – or perhaps Claudette Colbert on loan from Paramount – would have been cast as The Wife, Annie Kinsella (after the role was beefed up some).

Joseph Walker would have shot the film in gorgeous black and white, while Columbia chief Harry Cohn would have made life miserable for all concerned.

Indeed, writer-director Phil Alden Robinson clearly attempted to give a Capraesque feel to Field of Dreams. Yet his adaptation of W.P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe feels much too sunny even by Capra-Riskin standards.

Crowd- & Academy-pleasing fare

But sunny tales are never too sunny for most audiences. Field of Dreams grossed $64.4 million at the domestic box office at the time, or the equivalent of approximately $122 million today.

Admittedly, Kevin Costner is a good-looking presence at the film's core, while Field of Dreams does offer first-rate production values, including John Lindley's top-notch cinematography.

As a plus, there's some good acting: Amy Madigan as the Kinsella Missus (a role beefed up from the novel, but still totally subordinate to Costner's), and veterans Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones, with the latter as controversial, reclusive author Terry Mann (The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger in Shoeless Joe).

In all, the whole thing is as harmless as it is insincere, as Field of Dreams is the type of movie made for the same crowd that has turned the sentimental Sandra Bullock drama The Blind Side into a domestic blockbuster.

Oscar nominations & cast members

And that's how in the year Helen Mirren had hot sex inside a meat freezer – in Peter Greenaway's brilliant The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover; totally ignored by the Academy – the “family friendly” Field of Dreams garnered three Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score (James Horner).

Besides Kevin Costner – who in the previous year had starred in a ghostless, cornless baseball movie, Ron Shelton's Bull Durham – Amy Madigan, Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones, and Timothy Busfield, the Field of Dreams cast include Ray Liotta (as Shoeless Joe Jackson), Gaby Hoffman, Frank Whaley, Dwier Brown, and, in her final film role, veteran Anne Seymour (Home from the Hill, Pollyanna), who had died in Dec. 1988.

In addition, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were – supposedly – extras in the Fenway Park scene, while Ed Harris (Amy Madigan's husband) may or may not have been the body hiding behind the disembodied voice.

For more information on the Field of Dreams screening, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Kevin Costner Field of Dreams image: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library.

Kevin Costner wife Christine Baumgartner. Field of Dreams actor string of hits included Bull Durham and No Way OutKevin Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner at the Academy's Field of Dreams screening. Based on W.P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe, screenwriter-director Phil Alden Robinson's Field of Dreams was part of a series of hits Kevin Costner enjoyed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, beginning in 1987 with Brian De Palma's The Untouchables and Roger Donaldson's No Way Out. These were followed by Bull Durham (1988), with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins; Field of Dreams; Dances with Wolves (1990), which earned Costner Academy Awards as the film's co-producer and director; Oliver Stone's JFK (1991); Kevin Reynolds' Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); and Mick Jackson's The Bodyguard (1992), co-starring singer Whitney Houston. At that time, another singer, Madonna, caused quite a stir as well by pretending to throw up after Costner tells her he found her show “neat” in Alek Keshishian's 1991 documentary Truth or Dare.

Kevin Costner & wife Christine Baumgartner at 'Field of Dreams' screening

Dec. 18 update: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Phil Alden Robinson's 1989 Best Picture Oscar nominee Field of Dreams, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented a screening of the supernatural baseball drama on Dec. 16 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

We've added a handful of images from that evening. See below (and above).

Kevin Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner + Field of Dreams director Phil Alden Robinson also known for SneakersField of Dreams director-screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, Kevin Costner, and wife Christine Baumgartner. In addition to Field of Dreams, Phil Alden Robinson, with less than ten big-screen features to his credit, is known for only two other movies, both thrillers: Sneakers (1992), starring Robert Redford, and which Robinson both co-wrote and directed; and, only as director, The Sum of All Fears (2002), starring Ben Affleck.
Kevin Costner with Field of Dreams Die Hard and Waterworld producers Lawrence Gordon Chuck GordonKevin Costner and Field of Dreams producers Charles Gordon (left) and Lawrence Gordon. The producers of the Bruce Willis action hits Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard 2 (1990), Charles and Lawrence Gordon would join forces with Kevin Costner once again on the futuristic actioner Waterworld – the $175 million-budgeted financial disaster that ruined Costner's stardom. Directed by Kevin Reynolds, Waterworld also featured Jeanne Tripplehorn, Michael Jeter, and veteran Dennis Hopper (Giant, Blue Velvet).
Kevin Costner. Field of Dreams actor had stardom destroyed by bombs like Waterworld The Postman and 13 DaysKevin Costner at the Academy's Field of Dreams discussion panel. Since Waterworld, most Kevin Costner movies have been box office disappointments (Message in a Bottle, The Guardian) or downright bombs (The Postman, For Love of the Game, Thirteen Days, 3000 Miles to Graceland). On the positive side, in 2005 Costner did enjoy some critical success with Mike Binder's indie The Upside of Anger, starring Joan Allen. His most recent movies are Luiso Berdejo's horror thriller The New Daughter, which seems destined for a brief stay in theaters, and Joshua Michael Stern's 2008 flop Swing Vote, opposite Kelsey Grammer and Paula Patton.


Image of Kevin Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.

Image of Field of Dreams director-screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson, Kevin Costner and wife Christine Baumgartner: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

Image of Kevin Costner with Field of Dreams producers Charles Gordon and Lawrence Gordon: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.

Kevin Costner solo image: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

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1 Comment to 'Field of Dreams' Movie: Kevin Costner + Baseball, Ghosts & Corn in Sentimental Iowa Fantasy

  1. kellie Mckernan

    I am a law and government student… I hate Kevin Costner.
    I find him fake and phoney. He will never make it in the industry he is to old and his career is over.