The movie was based on a novel called "Shoeless Joe" by University of Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate W. P. Kinsella. In the novel, instead of seeking fictional author Terrance Mann, Ray Kinsella seeks real-life 60's author J.D. Salinger. In 1947, Salinger wrote a story called "A Young Girl In 1941 With No Waist At All" featuring a character named Ray Kinsella.
In W.P. Kinsella's novel, protagonist Ray Kinsella is reunited with his identical twin brother, Richard Kinsella (a subplot that was discarded for the movie).
The actual field where this was shot is still there, in Dyersville, Iowa, about 20 miles west of Dubuque, on US Highway 20. Downtown Dubuque was the setting for most of the shots which were supposed to be Boston, including the place where Ray could find Terrance Mann's apartment by finding the only window without a duck hanging in it.
The field is still there and tourists can go an play baseball in the spring, summer and fall. You just show up, play in the field for a while and then go up to bat when you think you've earned the opportunity.
It used to be owned by two different families with the field split so that left field and center field belonged to one family, and the rest of the field belonged to the family that also owns the house where the interior shots of the homestead were shot. The two families didn't get along very well, and both had threatened at different times to plow their portion under for corn. Thankfully, as of Fall 2007, the Field is now owned by only one person.
The article the Chisolm [sic] newspaper publisher shows to Ray and Terrence is written by Veda Ponikvar. Ms. Ponikvar was a long time writer (and eventually Editor in Chief) for the Chisolm Free Press.
W.P. Kinsella, author of the original novel, was asked to write a review of the movie for a Canadian periodical. He gave it four stars out of five for two reasons: he didn't think the character of Mark was villainous enough, and he didn't think that Gaby Hoffmann (Karin) looked like she could be Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan's child.
Ray wears the same shirt in two completely different scenes. First is when he at the school meeting, and second is on the field before he meet his father. " guess if you wear it he will still come."
Terence Mann's fictional novel in the movie is called The Boat Rocker. Many people tried to find copies of the book after seeing the movie, unaware that it did not exist.
Then unknown, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are among the thousands of extras in the Fenway Park scene, and are uncredited. Over a decade later, when Phil Alden Robinson welcomed Affleck to the set of The Sum of All Fears (2002), Affleck said, "Nice working with you again." Robinson asked, "What do you mean 'again'?" and Affleck explained the connection.
When Ray visits 1972 Chisholm, Minnesota in search of Moonlight Graham, The Godfather (1972) is playing at the local movie theater.
When Ray asks Shoeless Joe what he likes about playing baseball, Shoeless Joe responds "the thrill of the grass", the title of W.P. Kinsella's 1985 book of short stories about baseball.
Archibald "Moonlight" Wright Graham was a real baseball player. On 29 June 1905, with the New York Giants, he played one Major League Baseball game. Five days later, he quit his dream of being a pro ball player to become a doctor.
In 1991, Hawaii's House of Representatives filed House Resolution 95 to plead the case for "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's reinstatement. Among the reasons given was a quote given by James Earl Jones's character in the movie that "grasps the essence of an American tradition, baseball." Among those receiving a copy of the House Resolution were Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams writer-director), Charles Gordon and Lawrence Gordon (Field of Dreams producers), and cast members Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, and James Earl Jones.
starred in three made-for-TV films after this movie, but this was his final role in a motion picture released theatrically.
The shot of the line-drive knocking over the bag of baseballs next to Kevin Costner was sheer luck off the bat of Ray Liotta.
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