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The Greatest Game Ever Played

MPAA Rating: PG for some brief mild language
Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Adults, Teens
Historical Drama, Sports
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 30, 2005 (wide)
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Featuring: Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth, Elias Koteas, Peyton List, Josh Flitter
Director: Bill Paxton
Producer: Larry Brezner, Mark Frost, David Blocker
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Based on a true story.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “From the studio that brought you “The Rookie” and “Miracle” and director Bill Paxton, comes a story of courage, passion and of the greatest American sports hero you have probably never heard of…

An amateur player from a working class family, Francis Ouimet—played by Shia LaBeouf (“Holes”)—shocked the golf world when at the 1913 U.S. Open, flanked by his 10-year-old caddie, he defeated his idol, the defending British champion Harry Vardon—played by Stephen Dillane. An unlikely match-up—“the ingenue versus the seasoned champ”—theirs was the greatest match the sport had ever known.

Caught between a world of hardship and a beckoning life of privilege, Francis needed to prove his unfailing will and ability to make it to the tournament. Elias Koteas (“Traffic”, “Ararat”) plays Francis’ tough, hardworking father. Newcomer Peyton List is Sarah Wallis, the beautiful young woman, who catches Francis’ heart. Josh Flitter is Eddie Lowery, the pint sized caddie who helps Francis find his way through the troublesome fairways to victory.”

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—The acting was sensational. Shia LaBeouf is a young man who will go places with his career if he keeps making such wise choices. You may recognize him as Stanley Yelknats from Disney’s “Holes” a few years ago. Keep an eye out for a much older, more mature Zig Zag who also starred in the aforementioned film. When it comes to British actors, I am very choosey. But Stephen Dillane was superb in the role of Harry Varden. I would not be a bit surprised if one of these days he was asked to take on the coveted role of Sherlock Holmes, he performs so well. And he makes what might have otherwise been an unlikable character who is at odds with Francis, into a man to be admired. The entire cast was seamlessly chosen.

Do you want a movie with excellent moral lessons, fantastic casting, and a to-die-for storyline? Than you, my friend, have come to the right place. I don’t play golf, in fact I don’t really like the game, but that doesn’t matter. This movie isn’t about golf, its about perseverance. Believing in a dream and following it through no matter the cost. Well, guess what, that dream can happen, and it does happen, and it did happen, right there on that screen. Its for every person in the world who believes in the greater dream of human courage and determination. Its for parents and children, teens and seniors, couples and singles. I loved it, my younger sister loved it. This movie is not only about “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, but is also one of the greatest PG movies Disney has ever made.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
Carissa Horton, age 21
Positive—My wife and I went to see this movie on a date. I am a regular golfer and truly enjoy the game. The movie kept both of our’s attention throughout its entirety, and we were very emotionally involved from the beginning. The storyline was excellent; the camera shots were superb, and the editing was quite amazing for a movie of its type. (Not an action movie) My wife, Pamela and I, both agreed that this was one of the best movies we had ever seen; very motivational and clean.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Pastor Jay Neu, age 46
Positive—What a great family movie! I took my daughter (a golf fanatic) to it and she loved it, too. It had a lot of great discussion topics in it like honoring your parents, following your dreams, and the lust of privilege. The main character, Francis, is always shown as being respectful to his family and desires to obey his father (even when it meant denying his talent and dreams). Francis rises above his opponent/idol in his search for fame and acceptance by an “elite class.” As a bonus, the caddy was a wonderful and funny character and the friendship between him and Francis was a great picture of what a friendship should be. Younger kids might be bored by it, but it’s a great movie for kids who are outgrowing cartoons.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Jennifer, age 33
Positive—…I was first of all impressed that the theatre was almost completely full. This says a lot to Hollywood, since it was rated PG, and it wasn’t what the world would call an “exciting” movie.

This movie had a good storyline and was easy to follow. There are many scenes of golfing in it, but it is never slow or boring. There were many good moral elements involved, such as honoring parents, going against the grain, and facing your fears. The only language I heard was one “d-word,” “bloody” on two occasions, and the lead character said “oh God,” but this seemed to be more of a exclaimed prayer. There was even a part where they could of have had him swear and instead he said “oh my gosh!”

It was a refreshing movie not only from the language aspect, but also from the casting aspect as well. The people that played in this looked like normal people, not Barbie and Ken. When the movie was over, the theater was full of applauding. That is very unusual for a movie. I would highly recommend this movie. It would be appropriate for any age, however, young children may not find it as interesting as older children.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
Adriel Hong, age 24
Neutral—This old Christian is also an old golfer, and I looked forward to this film. I wasn’t disappointed by overall plot, costuming, acting, photography and settings. I was disappointed by the stale, over-used ploys that Disney has added to the story to supposedly increase the viewer’s attention or anticipation. Just about every old trick was dragged out of the filmmaker’s bag: we’ve seen them for as long as I can remember, and they greatly diminish the film’s quality. The upper-class beautiful rich girl falls for the poor caddie. The good-luck charm she gives him helps win the match. The hero’s father is domineering; the dear mother compensates. A putted golf ball takes forever to get to the cup, in which it, of course, falls, all with booming, pulsating music. Off-the-tee drives show the ball coming right at us, making us duck! The poor wannabe golfer is befriended by rich, influential men.

There is no cursing, no four-letter words, no mention of our Lord at any time. In sum, the filmmakers took a good story and gorked it up into dross.
My Ratings: Average / 2
Kenn Liska, age 76
Positive—This film is very good and one where you can take your family. Honesty, fair play, dealing with adversity, overcoming worldly stations in life, strong father figure (not perfect) but loves his family, dedication to practice and a desire to use one talents is all displayed in this movie. The part I did not like was when Francis promised his father he would not play again and did, even after a long period of time. Take your family.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Rick Davis, age 54
Positive—This is a beautiful movie—visually, historically. It made my 8 y/o son and Mom laugh out loud, and other than “The Passion of the Christ”, have I seen a movie where the whole audience was silent and completely enthralled (even the children). Actors were very well placed (nice to see a movie where the actors are basically unknown and can truly act). I recommend this movie to anyone, and it’s a shame that not more people are seeing this historical movie.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Stacey, age 38
Comments from young people
Positive—Finally, after a year of crude and shallow movies, our long wait was rewarded with “The Greatest Game Ever Played”! I love watching movies based on real events, and wasn’t disappointed going to see this one! The acting was superb, the cinematography brilliant! There was some mild language, but that was the extent of anything objectionable. All in all, this film is a story about beating the odds, not letting anyone look down on you because you are young, and restoring family relationships! I went to see it with my dad and we both left the movie theater with smiles on our faces! We could not stop talking about the movie the entire way home! Go see it! You won’t be disappointed!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Katie V., age 17
Positive—This movie was great! It’s a good movie for those who know a little about golf. There were no bad words. Great story-telling. I would recommend this movie for all ages.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
Jesse O, age 9
Positive—This film portrays a young, poor, outsider wanna be who rises up against the odds in a world completely unfamiliar to his own. At the end of the film there was a wonderful scene in which it shows the wonderful bond between a reluctant, yet loving, father and a son who was searching for his father’s acceptance and respect and finally has attained it. I also enjoyed the bond between “Mr. Ouimet” and his caddy. This is an excellent family film, and I would enjoy watching it alone with my friends as well.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
Drake, age 15
Positive—I have loved all of the films produced by this studio (“Remember the Titans”, “The Rookie”, “Miracle”), and this one was no different. The language was fairly mild (a handful of mild profanities). There was a little too much drinking, but it was not held as a morally upright thing to do, and the main character never smoke or drank. The camera work was very well done, and the story was intriguing. Eddie Lowery was really funny too. Overall, I recommend this as a great sports movie, but be careful due to the language and drinking.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Geno, age 15
Movie Critics
…truly is a family movie that deserves to clog multiplex lines… It deserves the audience of a blockbuster…
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Ed Blank
A classic sports-underdog tale gets solid, affecting treatment.
The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Jackson
…This golf movie is well above par, but more importantly, it’s not just about golf…
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
…I am not a golf fan but found “The Greatest Game Ever Played” absorbing all the same…
Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
…a winning golf film… an old-fashioned Disney melodrama that should have audiences cheering once again for the underdog…
Detroit Free Press, John Monaghan