The Greatest Game Ever Played

Rated PG 115 minutes 2005

A pretty grandiose title, no? Bill Paxton's purportedly true story about the 1913 U.S. Open, in which an untested 20-year-old golfer named Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) bested his idol, the great British champion Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane), is so bad in so many ways that the movie's falsification of the players' 18-hole playoff (Ouimet won by five strokes, not one) seems like a minor detail. Sanitized, heavily costumed, and dramatically inert, this Disney product is the kind of gooey, sentimental hazard no moviemaker can hit out of, not with a whole bagful of trick shots. Writer Mark Frost's running observations on golf's exclusionary snob culture -- and class warfare -- might have been interesting, but they have the ham-handed sincerity of an eighth-grade social studies class. And the tricked-up golf visuals give no sense of the old Scottish game's texture and rhythm. Even more dreadful than 2004's Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Bill Paxton

Writer: Mark Frost

Producer: Larry Brezner, Mark Frost and David Blocker

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Michael Weaver, Elias Koteas, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth, Stephen Marcus, Peyton List, Josh Flitter, Luke Askew and Marine McPhail


The Greatest Game Ever Played

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