The Natural

  • Directors: Barry Levinson
  • Producers: Mark Johnson
  • Writers: Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Barbara Hershey, Darren McGavin, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth

The beginning of the movie introduces Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) as a child, playing baseball with his father. Mr. Hobbs dies suddenly while Roy is still young, collapsing under a tree. That tree is split in half by lightning, and young Roy carves a baseball bat from it, on which he burns the image of a lightning bolt and the label ‘Wonderboy’.

At age 19, Hobbs is recruited by the Chicago Cubs in 1923. On the train to the tryouts, he wins a wager to strike out “The Whammer” (Joe Don Baker), the top hitter in the major leagues. Back on the train, the naive Hobbs is seduced by Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey), an alluring but sinister woman, who gravitates to him after judging that he, rather than The Whammer, is now the best baseball player in the world. Bird lures young Hobbs to a hotel room and shoots him.

The story skips forward 16 years, to 1939. A fictitious team called the New York Knights has signed the now 35-year-old Hobbs to a contract, to the ire of the team’s gruff manager and co-owner, Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley). For a time Pop does not allow him to play, but after impressing in batting practice, Hobbs literally knocks the cover off the ball in his first major league game. Hobbs rises to stardom and reverses the Knights’ fortunes.

Roy comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth with, a chance to win the game. Lightning flashes as Hobbs hits a long drive that twists foul, and sees that Wonderboy, his “magical” bat, has shattered. The young bat boy brings Hobbs a bat that they made together. Hobbs hits a towering shot, a pennant-winning home run, which soars into the stadium’s lights and starts a chain reaction of sparks that rain down onto the field. The Knights won the pennant. The final scene shows Hobbs playing catch with his son in a sun-dappled wheat field, with Iris proudly standing by.

All the President s Men

  • Directors: Alan J Pakula
  • Producers: Walter Coblenz
  • Writers: William Goldman, Based on book by, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein
  • Genres: Drama, History, Thriller
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Jack Warden, Hal Holbrook, Jane Alexander, Martin Balsam

The book, also titled All the President’s Men, was adapted for the screen by William Goldman. The story chronicles the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein from their initial report on the Watergate break-in through to their revelation of the Nixon Administration’s corrupt campaign of sabotage against their political rivals. It relates the events behind the major stories the duo wrote for the Washington Post, naming some sources who had previously refused to be identified for their initial articles, notably Hugh Sloan. It also gives detailed accounts of Woodward’s secret meetings with his source ‘Deep Throat’ whose identity was kept secret for over 30 years. Only in 2005 was Deep Throat revealed to be former FBI Associate Director W. Mark Felt.

The Horse Whisperer

  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Producers: Patrick Markey, Robert Redford
  • Writers: Nicholas Evans, Eric Roth, Richard LaGravenese
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Dianne Wiest, Scarlett Johansson

Teenager Grace MacLean (Johansson) and her best friend Judith (Kate Bosworth) go out early one winter’s morning to ride their horses. As they are riding up an icy slope, one of the horses falls, dragging both horses and girls onto a road where a truck appears, resulting in a horrific collision. Judith and her horse (Gulliver) are killed, while Grace and her horse (Pilgrim) are both severely injured.

Grace eventually recovers physically, though she is left with a partial leg amputation and remains listless and psychologically scarred and prone to anger. However, her horse is traumatized and uncontrollable to the extent that it is suggested he be put down. Grace’s mother, Annie (Kristin Scott Thomas), a brilliant editor, refuses to make the decision and the animal is left to suffer for some time.

Meanwhile, Annie and her husband, Robert (Sam Neill) have serious marital problems of their own. Robert is rather self-centered, emotionally unsupportive of Annie in general, and he disparages Annie’s desire to help Pilgrim survive and recover. Annie has grown apart from Robert in the past few years and neither are sure they love each other anymore.

Knowing that it is up to her to heal both her daughter and her daughter’s horse, Annie contacts Tom Booker (Redford), a “Horse Whisperer”, who agrees to help, on the condition that the despondent Grace takes part in the process. Since Tom is reluctant to fly from Montana to New York, Annie must pack a struggling Pilgrim and a moody, combative Grace into her own car and trailer and drive thousands of miles westward to the Booker ranch.

Annie understands this also and in tears, hugs Tom goodbye. Although part of her wishes she could stay on the ranch permanently, deep down inside, she knows she cannot, that Grace needs her, she must bring Pilgrim home again, and that her true home is in New York City. She understands that she would not be happy living a ranch life for long. The film ends with Annie driving away from the ranch through the western foothills. It is assumed but not confirmed that Annie chooses to return to New York, her husband Robert and daughter Grace.

Out of Africa

  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Producers: Sydney Pollack
  • Writers: Source books, Judith Thurman, Errol Trzebinski, Karen Blixen, Screenplay, Kurt Luedtke
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

The film opens in Denmark as an older Karen Blixen (Streep) briefly remembers hunting in Denmark, then the years she spent in Africa (1914–1931). Looming large in her memory is the figure of Denys Finch Hatton (Redford), a local big-game hunter she met when she arrived in Africa to start what she thought would be a dairy farm together with her husband, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke (Brandauer).

Things turn out differently for her than anticipated, as the blue-blooded but poor Baron has used her money to purchase a coffee plantation instead of a dairy farm. He also shows little inclination to put any work into it, preferring to hunt game instead. While from the beginning, their marriage is depicted as mostly symbiotic (her family has money, while the Baron has a title), Karen does eventually develop feelings for him and is distressed when she learns of his extramarital affairs.

To make matters worse, she contracts syphilis from her philandering husband, which at the time was a very dangerous condition, necessitating her return to Denmark for a possible cure using the (1910) medicine Salvarsan (before the advent of penicillin).

After she has recovered and returned to Africa, a relationship between her and Denys begins to develop. However, after many unsuccessful attempts at turning their affair into a lasting relationship, she realizes that Denys is as impossible to own or tame as Africa itself.

In the film Karen is forced to return to Denmark, following a catastrophic fire that destroys her entire crop of coffee. After more than 20 years, Karen has become an author, a storyteller, writing about her experiences and letters from Africa, and remembering.

Indecent Proposal

  • Directors: Adrian Lyne
  • Producers: Sherry Lansing
  • Writers: Jack Engelhard, Amy Holden Jones
  • Genres: Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Seymour Cassel, Oliver Platt

Childhood sweethearts David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana Murphy (Demi Moore) are a married couple who travel to Las Vegas, hoping they can win enough money to finance David’s fantasy real estate project. They place their money on number 8 and lose. After gambling away all of their savings, they encounter billionaire John Gage (Robert Redford). John is attracted to Diana and offers David one million dollars to spend a night with her. After a difficult night, David and Diana decide to accept the offer, and a contract is signed the next day. John flies Diana to a private yacht, and it is assumed that their arrangement is consummated.

Although he had hoped to forget the whole incident, David grows increasingly insecure about his relationship with Diana, consumed with a fear that she remains involved with Gage; this insecurity is heightened by the fact Diana discovers that Gage has bought their home/property while it was going into foreclosure. Because of this tension on their relationship, David and Diana separate. John actively persists and renews his advances on Diana. Although she initially resists, Diana eventually consents to spending time with him, and a relationship develops. David, meanwhile, realizes he cannot go on without the love of his life. When Diana files for divorce, David makes one final attempt to win her back.

John sees how Diana looks at David and recognizes that, even if she stayed with him, their relationship would never achieve the intensity she had with David. In John’s presence, David gives the money away. Then John misleads her into thinking that she was only the latest in a long line of “million dollar girls”. She leaves John and returns to David.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

  • Directors: George Roy Hill
  • Producers: John Foreman
  • Writers: William Goldman
  • Genres: Adventure, Crime, Drama, Western
  • Actors: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross

Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford), the leaders of the Hole in the Wall Gang, are planning another bank robbery. As they return to their hideout in Hole-in-the-Wall, they find out that the gang has selected a new leader, Harvey Logan (Ted Cassidy). He challenges Butch to a knife fight, which Butch wins, using a ruse. Although Logan is defeated, Butch quickly embraces Logan’s idea to rob the Union Pacific Flyer twice, agreeing with Logan that the second robbery would be unexpected and likely to involve even more money than the first.

The first robbery goes very well and the marshal of the next town (Kenneth Mars) can’t manage to raise a posse. Butch and Sundance listen to his attempts, enjoying themselves. Sundance’s lover, Etta Place (Katharine Ross), is introduced; both men vie for her attention as she also goes bike-riding with Butch during a dialogue-free musical interlude, accompanied by the Oscar-winning song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

The second robbery goes wrong. Not only does Butch use too much dynamite to blow the safe, but a second train arrives, which is carrying a posse that has been specially outfitted by E. H. Harriman to hunt Butch and Sundance. The gang flees in multiple directions, with the posse following Butch and Sundance. They try hiding in a brothel but are betrayed. They try riding double on a single horse in the hope that the posse will split up, but that fails. They then try to arrange an amnesty with the help of the friendly Sheriff Bledsoe (Jeff Corey). But he tells them they have no chance of getting one, and that they will be hunted down until they are killed by the posse.

The film ends with freeze frame sepia tone shot of the two of them exiting the house firing their guns, while a voice is heard ordering: “Fuego!” (“Fire!”) and the sound of dozens of rifles being fired in three consecutive volleys.

The Sting

  • Directors: George Roy Hill
  • Producers: Tony Bill, Michael Phillips, Julia Phillips
  • Writers: David S Ward
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime
  • Actors: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning

At the opening, after a 1930s era Universal logo complete with bejeweled circling globe adorned with the text, “It’s A Universal Picture,” the movie credits the actors with extracts from the movie, in a style reminiscent of films from the early to mid 1930s.

Johnny Hooker (Redford), is a small-time con man (a “grifter”) from Depression-era Joliet, Illinois. Hooker and his accomplices Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) and Joe Erie (Jack Kehoe) manage to swipe $11,000 in cash from an unsuspecting victim (a “mark”). In the wake of this apparent success, Luther tells Johnny that he’s retiring from his life of crime and moving to Kansas City, Missouri to work in a “mostly legal” business with his brother-in-law. He advises Hooker to seek out an old friend, Henry Gondorff, in Chicago, who can teach him the art of the ‘big con’.

Unfortunately for the three con artists, the mark they robbed was a numbers racket courier named Mottola (James Sloyan), transporting the money to Chicago for crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Corrupt Joliet police Lieutenant William Snyder (Charles Durning) confronts Hooker, demanding a $2,000 cut of the $11,000 and revealing Lonnegan’s involvement. Realizing that he and his partners are in danger, Hooker pays Snyder in counterfeit bills, having already gambled away most of his share of the money. Hooker goes to warn Coleman, but he arrives too late to save him from Lonnegan’s hit man. With nowhere else to turn, Hooker flees to Chicago to ask Gondorff for help in avenging Coleman’s murder.

All the pieces of the elaborate puzzle come together on the morning of the sting that is planned to swindle Lonnegan. Various players are seen making preparations for the day. Then the action begins:‎