'The Natural'

The Underdog: Baseball player Roy Hobb Robert Redford stars in this adaptation of Bernard Malmud's 1952 baseball novel as a kid in 1923 with natural ballplaying talent and a bat – nicknamed "Wonderboy" – cut from a tree split by lightning. But a casual encounter with a sinister stalker who shoots him ends Hobbs' rise to the top. The film jumps ahead to 1939, when the now-35-year-old "rookie" gets another chance at the big leagues and winds up hitting the cover off the ball. But Roy's troubles aren't over, and at the end of a rollercoaster ride, during a lightning storm onfield, he uses a batboy's handmade bat to hit a spectacular homer. -- Kate O'Hare
TriStar Pictures
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