In 1984, an aging slugger by the name of Roy Hobbs captured the imaginations of movie-goers across America. Today, over 25 years later, Barry Levinson's The Natural (1984) remains one of the most popular baseball films ever. As it turns out, however, Levinson's popular portrayal of the New York Knights' enigmatic superstar was only the beginning. The Natural marked the beginning resurgence in the baseball film genre that was to last through the end of the 20th century. It wasn't just Robert Redford as the quiet, troubled, mythic hero who was popular. The themes of baseball itself -- at least as represented in film -- were popular as well, resonating through an American culture struggling to make sense of itself as it neared the end of the century.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_rudd/8/