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Field of Dreams

Promotional poster by Olga Kaljakin
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Produced by Lawrence Gordon and
Charles Gordon
Written by W.P. Kinsella (novel Shoeless Joe)
Phil Alden Robinson (screenplay)
Starring Kevin Costner
Amy Madigan
James Earl Jones
Timothy Busfield
Frank Whaley
Gaby Hoffmann
with Ray Liotta
as 'Shoeless Joe'
and Burt Lancaster
as 'Doc Graham'
Music by James Horner
Cinematography John Lindley
Editing by Ian Crafford
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) April 23, 1989 (1989-04-23) (USA)
Running time 107 min.
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $84,431,625

Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy/drama/sports film, directed and adapted by Phil Alden Robinson from the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella. The movie stars Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Gaby Hoffmann, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, James Earl Jones, Frank Whaley, and Burt Lancaster in his last film appearance.

Field of Dreams was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.



Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a novice farmer who lives in rural Iowa with his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan), and their young daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann).

While walking through his cornfield, Ray hears a voice whisper, "If you build it, he will come" (often misquoted as "If you build it, they will come"), and sees a vision of a baseball field. Believing he is somehow being asked to build it, and fearing he is in danger of "turning into" his father—whom he resented for his lack of spontaneity—Ray strongly wishes to do so. Although skeptical, Annie is supportive. Watched by incredulous neighbours, Ray plows under his corn and builds the field. A year passes without incident.

Ray and Annie are eventually forced to consider replacing the field with corn to stay financially solvent. At this point Karin spots a man on the ballfield who Ray discovers is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a baseball player idolized by his father. Joe is thrilled to be able to play baseball again and asks to bring others with him to the field. He later returns with the seven other players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, emerging from the corn by the outfield.

Soon after, Ray is told by his brother-in-law Mark (Timothy Busfield)—who cannot see the players—that he will go bankrupt unless he replants the crop. Ray later hears the voice say "ease his pain." After attending a PTA Meeting which involves a heated discussion over the books of 1960s author and activist Terence Mann (James Earl Jones), Ray decides the voice is referring to Mann who has since become a recluse. Mann wrote that as a child he dreamed of playing with the Dodgers at Ebbets Field but was never able to. Although reluctant for another expensive flight of fancy, Annie agrees for Ray to find the author in Boston, after they share a dream of the two men watching a baseball game together.

Although Mann rebuffs Ray's initial approaches, Ray eventually persuades him to attend an Oakland Athletics vs. Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park. Ray hears the voice again, which urges him to "go the distance," and sees a statistic for a 1922 baseball player named Archibald "Moonlight" Graham (Burt Lancaster), who played one major league game for the New York Giants, but never had an at bat. Terence initially claims ignorance, and Ray apologizes and returns him home. When Ray performs a U-turn in his van, he suddenly sees Mann standing on the other side of the street, whom then admits to Ray that he did indeed see "Moonlight" Graham on the jumbotron. The two then travel to Minnesota to find Graham.

Arriving at Chisholm, the pair discover at the Chisholm Tribune Press that Dr. Archibald W. "Moonlight" Graham died 16 years earlier and they return to their motel, confused. That night, while out walking, Ray sees ads for The Godfather and Re-elect President Nixon, and realizes he has gone back in time to 1972, the year of Graham's death. Ray quickly finds him, and the two talk about Graham's quitting baseball. Although Graham says he still dreams of playing baseball, he says that if he never worked in medicine, that would have been a greater disappointment. Ray offers to fulfill his dream, but Graham declines and Ray returns to the present.

The Field of Dreams, Dyersville, IA—May 2006.

Ray then returns, with Terence, to Iowa. On their way, they pick up a young hitchhiker who introduces himself as Archie Graham (Frank Whaley) — the young "Moonlight" Graham. At the farm, enough players have now appeared to play regular games. Graham joins the other players who tease him for his youth and enthusiasm. He finally gets a chance to bat, hitting a sacrifice fly.

Mark — still unable to see the baseball players — arrives at the farm to try to convince Ray to sell as he and his partners have bought the mortgage. Karin says Ray doesn't have to sell the farm, saying "people will come" and pay to watch the ball games. Picking up the thread, Terence says "people will come" to relive their childhood innocence, "for its money they have and peace they lack." After some hesitation, Ray refuses to sell.

A frustrated Mark scuffles with Ray and accidentally knocks Karin off the bleachers. She lies on the ground, unconscious and not breathing. "Moonlight" Graham runs over and, after a moment's hesitation, crosses the field boundary, instantly becoming the old "Doc" Graham. He quickly recognizes that Karin is choking and causes her to cough up the hotdog blocking her throat. Ray realizes that Graham has sacrificed his youthful form and cannot return to the field as a player and apologizes profusely. After reassuring Ray that he was meant not for baseball, but for medicine, Graham walks to the outfield, receiving commendation from the players for saving Karin, who make statements such as "Good work, Doctor", before Graham disappears into the corn. The subdued Mark — finally able to see the players — now urges Ray not to sell the farm.

As the players return to the cornfield, Joe invites Terence to join them. Ray is angry at not being invited, but Terence admits to having given the nostalgic interview about Ebbets Field (which he had previously denied), realizing that this is how he can regain his youthful passion for writing, and he convinces Ray to stay behind to take care of his family. He approaches the corn and chuckles as he walks into the stalks and disappears.

Shoeless Joe then says to Ray, "If you build it, he will come", and glances toward a player (Dwier Brown) near home plate in catcher's equipment. The player removes his mask and Ray recognizes his father as a young man. Ray, then, assumes that the voice he'd heard was Shoeless Joe's. But Joe informs Ray that the voice he'd heard, all along, was his own.

Ray introduces his father to Karin, catching himself before telling Karin this man is her grandfather, and introducing him simply as "John". After a brief exchange, his father heads toward the outfield to leave. Ray, finally and emotionally addressing him as "Dad", asks if he would like to play catch. As they begin tossing the ball back and forth, the view pulls back to reveal a trail of car headlights approaching the field, extending to the horizon.

Historical connections

The character played by Burt Lancaster and Frank Whaley, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, is based on a real baseball player of the same name. The character is largely true to life, excepting a few factual liberties taken for artistic reasons. The real Graham's lone major league game occurred in June, 1905,[1] rather than the final day of the 1922 season as depicted in the film. The DVD special points out that the facts about Doc Graham, mentioned by various citizens interviewed by the Terence Mann character, were taken from articles written about the real Dr. Graham.

The author Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) is fictional but inspired by the life of reclusive author J.D. Salinger. Salinger is the author sought by the main character in the original novel. In 1947, Salinger wrote a story called "A Young Girl In 1941 With No Waist At All", featuring a character named Ray Kinsella. Later, Salinger's most famous work, The Catcher in the Rye, features a minor character named Richard Kinsella, a classmate of the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who digresses a lot in an "Oral Composition" class. (Richard Kinsella is the name of Ray's twin brother in the original novel.)

The DVD special notes that in studying sites for filming, the producers ran across a monument in a Dubuque cemetery that listed the city's Civil War dead. One of the names was John Kinsella.

The site in Dyersville, Iowa was chosen by the director because the sun would set over the corn in what would be left field when the baseball field was actually built.

To this day, the "Field" is maintained by Don Lansing, the original owner of the land. People still come in droves to "have a catch" on the "Field."


In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Field of Dreams was acknowledged as the sixth best film in the fantasy genre.[1][2]


Except for a few location shots for Boston, notably Fenway Park, much of the film was shot in Dubuque County, Iowa[3], and Jo Daviess County, Illinois. The home (then and now a private residence) and field were on adjoining farms near Dyersville, Iowa. The baseball field built for the film has become an attraction with the same name. For the film's final scene, Dyersville was blacked out as part of a community event that also involved commuters to the field. The cars in the final shot were instructed to switch between their high beams and low beams to allow for the illusion of movement.

Other places used in the film are:

  • Dubuque:
    • University of Dubuque- Kevin Costner's character Ray looks up information on Terence Mann in the school library. When Ray and Annie are walking to their truck, Blades Hall and Van Vliet Hall - which at the time was the main administration building - are shown.
    • Hendricks Feed. The store where Ray purchases supplies is located on Central Avenue in downtown Dubuque.
    • Terence Mann's apartment and neighborhood were located near 17th Street and Central Avenue in Dubuque, although the scene is set in Boston. In the full screen version, the Dubuque County Courthouse can be seen in the distance when Ray returns Terence to his apartment after the game.
    • Airline Inn. This roadside motel is about three miles south of Dubuque along US Highways 61 and 151. This is the motel where Ray and Terence stayed while traveling to Minnesota.
    • Martin's gas station. The gas station where Ray gets directions to Terence Mann's place was located at the southeast corner of the intersection of W. 3rd and Locust Streets in Dubuque. The gas station has since been demolished.
    • Zehentner's Sports World. In one of the scenes cut from the final movie (outtakes available in the 15th Anniversary Commemorative DVD), Ray buys equipment at a local sporting goods store and discovers its employees are the first people who don't think he's crazy. Zehentner's was located near 9th and Main, and is now closed after 60 years in business at that location.
  • Farley, Iowa. The PTA meeting dealing with Terence Mann's books was at Western Dubuque Elementary/Jr. High School (now Drexler Elementary/Jr. high), in Farley. The portion of the school that was featured in the establishing shot for the scene was demolished in July 2009.
  • Galena, Illinois - Galena was used to represent parts of Chisholm, Minnesota.
    • Dr. Graham's office is located across the street from the Jo Daviess County Courthouse.
    • The establishing shot of Chisholm was shot next to the DeSoto House Hotel.
  • Local Dubuque attorneys Dan McClean and Bill Conzett were featured in the kitchen scene as Timothy Busfield's partners. The two lawyers, playing bankers, were the only two "bad guys" in the film.

The film used local roads quite extensively to represent the drive from Dyersville to Boston, Boston to Chisholm, and Chisholm to Dyersville, using the geographic features of the Driftless Area to represent the eastern United States. The following are some of the local roadways used:

  • U.S. Highway 20 - Part of the highway between the Illinois towns of East Dubuque, and Galena was used to represent the drive from Boston to Chisholm. The Citgo station where Ray and Terence stopped was along the highway west of Dubuque. When Ray and Annie are driving home from town, parts of the highway west of Dubuque are shown. the scene where Ray and Terence pick up the young Archie Graham is near the Junction of U.S. 20 and Illinois 84 north of Galena.
  • U.S. Highway 52 - Parts of the highway north of Dubuque were used in the drive from Chisholm to Dyersville.
  • U.S. Highway 151 - A portion of this highway that is about six miles south of Dubuque is seen in the scene where Ray and Terence are in the van and talking about Ray's father.

Other Roads:


In addition to James Horner's atmospheric score, portions of several pop songs are heard in the film's music track, including "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band, and "China Grove" by The Doobie Brothers.


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

If you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true.

Field of Dreams is a 1989 film about an Iowa corn farmer who hears a voice telling him: "If you build it, he will come." He interprets this as an instruction to build a baseball diamond in his fields; after he does, Shoeless Joe Jackson and other dead baseball players emerge from the cornfields to play ball.

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Screenplay by Phil Alden Robinson, based upon the book Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella
All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him.taglines


The Voice

  • Ease his pain.
  • Go the distance.
It's okay, honey. I... I was just talking to the cornfield.

Ray Kinsella

  • It's okay, honey. I... I was just talking to the cornfield.
  • I need all the karma I can get right now.
  • That's my corn out there! You guys are guests in my corn!

Shoeless Joe Jackson

  • We got tired of just practicing. We decided to get some more players so we could have real games. I hope you don't mind.
  • Ty Cobb wanted to play...but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!
  • Hey, rookie — you were good.

Terence Mann

  • (Opens door)Who the hell are you?
  • We got a learning disability here?
  • Oh, my God, you're from the Sixties! [He sprays a flit-gun at Ray Kinsella.] Out! Back to the Sixties! Get back! There's no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!
  • You're seeing a whole team of psychiatrists, aren't you?
  • Peace, love, dope! Now get the hell out of here!
  • I'm gonna beat you with a crowbar until you go away.
This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
  • I was the East Coast distributor of 'involved'. I ate it, drank it, and breathed it. Then they killed Martin, then they killed Bobby, elected Tricky Dick twice, and people like you must think I'm miserable because I'm not involved anymore. Well, I've got news for you. I spent all my misery years ago. I have no more pain for anything. I gave at the office.
  • Now I know what everybody's purpose here is... except mine.
  • Ray. People will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. "Of course, we won't mind if you look around", you'll say. "It's only $20 per person". They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. (Ray's brother-in-law/landlord Mark: Ray, when the bank opens in the morning, they'll foreclose.) People will come Ray. (Mark: You're broke, Ray. You sell now, or you'll lose everything.) The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Dr. Archibald Graham (aka "Moonlight" Graham)

  • It was like coming this close to your dreams... and then watch them brush past you like strangers in a crowd.
  • Well, you know I... I never got to bat in the major leagues. I would have liked to have had that chance. Just once. To stare down a big league pitcher. To stare him down, and just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn't. That's what I wish for. Chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases — stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That's my wish, Ray Kinsella. That's my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?
  • You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day.
  • This is my most special place in all the world. Once a place touches you like that, the wind never blows so cold again.
  • If I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.
  • I'd best be getting home. Alicia will think I've got a girlfriend.


I'd wake up at night with the smell of the ball park in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet... The thrill of the grass.
Annie Kinsella: If you build what, who will come?
Ray Kinsella: He didn't say.

Annie Kinsella: I mean, Shoeless Joe...
Ray Kinsella: He's dead. Died in '51. He's dead.
Annie: He's the one they suspended, right?
Ray: Right.
Annie: He's still dead?
Ray: Far as I know.

Shoeless Joe Jackson: Hey, is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: No, it's Iowa.

Ray Kinsella: Don't we need a catcher?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Not if you get it near the plate, we don't.

Ray: I bet it's good to be playing again, huh?
Shoeless Joe: Getting thrown out of baseball was like having part of me amputated. I've heard that old men wake up and scratch itchy legs that have been dust for over fifty years. That was me. I'd wake up at night with the smell of the ball park in my nose, the cool of the grass on my feet... The thrill of the grass.

Shoeless Joe: Man, I did love this game. I'd have played for food money. It was the game... The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?
Ray: Yeah.
Shoeless Joe: I used to love travelling on the trains from town to town. The hotels... brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms. It was the crowd, rising to their feet when the ball was hit deep. Shoot, I'd play for nothing!

Shoeless Joe: What's with the lights?
Ray: Oh, all the stadiums have them now. Even Wrigley Field.
Shoeless Joe: Makes it harder to see the ball.
Ray: Yeah, well, the owners found that more people can attend night games.
Shoeless Joe: [Shakes his head] Owners.

Karin Kinsella: Are you a ghost?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What do you think?
Karin: You look real to me.
Shoeless Joe: Well, then, I guess I'm real.

Ray Kinsella: The voice is back.
Annie Kinsella: Oh, Lord... you don't have to build a football field now, do you?

Annie Kinsella: Terence Mann was a voice of reason during a time of great madness. He coined the phrase, "Make love, not war". Where others were chanting, "Burn, baby burn", he talked about love, and peace and understanding. I cherished every one of his books, and I dearly wish he had written some more. And I think that if you had experienced even a little bit of the Sixties, you might feel the same way too.
Pro-censorship woman: I experienced the Sixties.
Annie Kinsella: No, I think you had two '50's and moved right on to the '70's.

Annie Kinsella: What if the Voice calls while you're gone?
Ray Kinsella: Take a message.

Ray Kinsella (as he stops Terence Mann from throwing him out again): You've changed, you know that?
Terence Mann: Yes, I suppose I have. How's this? Peace, Love, Dope! Now, get the hell out of here!

Terence Mann: What the hell is that?
Ray Kinsellla: It's a gun. What do you think it is?
Terence Mann: That's your finger.
Ray Kinsella: No, it's not, it's a gun.
Terence Mann: Take it out. Let me see it.
Ray Kinsella: Get out of here! I'm not showing you my gun. [Mann reaches behind a shelf and grabs a crowbar.] Hey, what are you doing?
Terence Mann: I'm gonna beat you with a crowbar until you go away.
Ray Kinsella: You can't do that!
[Mann takes a wild swing; Kinsella falls while dodging it.]
Terence Mann: Oh, there are rules? There are no rules here!
Ray Kinsella: You're a pacifist!
Terence Mann: Shit.

[After the pitcher nearly knocked Archie Graham off the plate.]
Gandil: Hey Knuckles, what'd you throw at the kid for?
Cicotte: He-he winked at me.
Gandil: Don't wink, kid.
[The pitcher throws another ball at Graham's head.]
Graham: Hey ump, how about a warning?
Umpire: Sure. Watch out you don't get killed.

Shoeless Joe Jackson: The last two have been high and tight, so where do you think the next one's gonna be?
Archie Graham: Well, either low and away... or in my ear.
Shoeless Joe: He's not gonna want to load the bases, so look for low and away. But watch out for in your ear.
I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves...

'Terence Mann: I was the East Coast distributor of 'involved'. I ate it, drank it, and breathed it. Then they killed Martin, then they killed Bobby, elected Tricky Dick twice, and people like you must think I'm miserable because I'm not involved anymore. Well, I've got news for you. I spent all my misery years ago. I have no more pain for anything. I gave at the office.
Ray Kinsella: So, what do you want?
Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.
Ray Kinsella: I mean, what do you want? [Gestures toward concession stand.]
Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.
Ray Kinsella: Two.

Ray Kinsella: By the time I was ten, playing baseball got to be like eating vegetables or taking out the garbage. So when I was fourteen I started refusing. Can you believe that? An American boy refusing to play catch with his father.
Terence Mann: Why fourteeen?
Ray Kinsella: That's when I read "The Boat Rocker", by Terence Mann.
Terence Mann: Oh, God.
Ray Kinsella: Never played catch with him again.
Terence Mann: You see? That's the kind of crap people are always trying to lay on me. It's not my fault you wouldn't play catch with your father!

Terence Mann: So, what was it?
Ray Kinsella: Hmm?
Terence Mann: The "terrible thing" you said to your father. What was it?
Ray Kinsella: I told him I could never respect a man whose hero was a criminal.
Terence Mann: Who was his hero?
Ray Kinsella: Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Terence: He wasn't a criminal. You knew that. [Ray nods.] So why'd you say it?
Ray Kinsella: I was seventeen.

Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within... y-you came this close. It would kill some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.

[When Karin Kinsella is injured, Archie "Moonlight" Graham leaves the baseball field; this causes him to become his later self, Dr. Graham.]
Dr. Graham: She'll be all right. She'll be turning handsprings before you know it. (He looks wistfully at ball field.)
Ray Kinsella: You can't go back? You can't go back... oh, God, I'm sorry —
Dr. Graham: It's all right. I'd best be gettin' on home. Alicia will begin to think I've got a girlfriend. [He turns to leave.]
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Hey, rookie! You were good.

Ray Kinsella: You lied to me.
Terence Mann: Well, you were kidnapping me at the time, you big jerk!
Ray: You lied to me!
Terence: Well, you said your finger was a gun!
Ray: That's a good point.

(Shoeless Joe Jackson has asked Terence Mann to come with them to the cornfield, but Ray is upset because he wasn't invited)

Ray Kinsella: I did it all, I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what's in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray Kinsella: I'm saying... what's in it for me?
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Is that why you did this? For you? I think you better stay here, Ray.

Ray Kinsella: What are you grinning at, you ghost?
Shoeless Joe: "If you build it -" [gestures toward catcher, who is Ray's father, John Kinsella] "- he will come."
Ray : "Ease his pain. Go the distance." It was him!
Shoeless Joe: No, Ray. It was you.
Is this heaven?

John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's — it's Iowa.
John: I could have sworn it was heaven.
Ray: Is there a heaven?
John: Oh, yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.
Ray: Maybe this is heaven.

Ray: "Oh my God....It's my father...My God! I'd only seen him years later when he was worn down by life. Look at him. He's got his whole life in front of him and I'm not even a glint in his eye. What do I say to him?
Annie: "Why don't you introduce him to his granddaughter?"

Ray: Hey, Dad... you wanna have a catch?
John: I'd like that.


  • All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him.
  • If you believe the impossible, the incredible can come true.


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