Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Field of Dreams

US movie (1989). Universal/ Gordon. Pr Charles Gordon, Lawrence Gordon. Exec pr Brian Frankish. Dir Phil Alden Robinson. Screenplay Robinson. Based on Shoeless Joe (1982) by W P Kinsella. Starring Dwier Brown (John Kinsella), Timothy Busfield (Mark), Kevin Costner (Ray Kinsella), Gaby Hoffman (Karin Kinsella), James Earl Jones (Terence Mann), Burt Lancaster (Dr Archibald "Moonlight" Graham), Ray Liotta (Shoeless Joe Jackson), Amy Madigan (Annie Kinsella), Frank Whaley (Archie Graham). 106 mins. Colour.

Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella fell out of love with father John years before the man died. One night a Voice says to Ray: "If you build it, he will come." The incident recurs, and he believes he is losing his mind; he is furious on discovering daughter Karin watching Harvey (1950) on tv. At last come Visions of a Baseball ground on his land and of Shoeless Joe, his father's baseball hero. Ray ploughs under much of his corn to carve a field. Months later, the Ghost of Shoeless Joe indeed appears, bringing with him others; they use the field as a practice-ground, though cannot cross its perimeter (> Haunting). The Voice speaks to Ray again, saying "Ease his pain", and Ray concludes the sufferer is 1960s guru writer and pacifist Terence Mann, now an embittered recluse; Ray and Mann go to Chisholm, Minnesota, to contact minor baseball player "Moonlight" Graham, but discover Graham is dead. Ray enters a Timeslip, returning to 1972, where the aged Graham, a much-loved doctor and benefactor, explains he thanks God his baseball career was cut so short. Driving back to Iowa, they pick up a baseball-mad youth called Archie Graham; once they have returned to the "field of dreams" Archie is invited to play with the past stars, who regard the field as Heaven. But Karin has a choking fit and Archie exits the field to aid her, becoming the elderly Doc Graham and eventually joining the baseball players in the Afterlife; Mann, too, is invited there, and goes. The last shade left on the field is John Kinsella, and father and son rediscover each other through baseball practice.

FOD shows every sign of having been crafted out of love. Its major theme is the power of belief: belief, it says, can alter Perception; and perception has the power to alter Reality. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.