Field of Dreams: Ten Things To Know About The Movie

Here are 10 trivia facts about Field Of Dreams from 1989, which originally appeared as our Mystery Movie Quiz on our Facebook page. There are many pieces of behind-the-scenes information about this movie. Please feel free to comment and add more trivia we might have missed.

1. This movie features something that becomes current news once every year.

Sports news of varying types appears 12 months a year, but when the “boys of summer” move on to the World Series, baseball is noticeably in the news.

2. Finances play a role in the film.

When Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears the voice telling him “if you build it, he will come,” he is so convinced that he plows his cornfield. But after a year without anything happening, he and Annie (Amy Madigan) are in financial straits and consider selling the farm.

Throughout the film, Ray’s brother-in-law tries to convince him to sell because they are running out of money. Mark (Timothy Busfield) is adament about replanting the crops before Ray and Annie are bankrupt, but once he is able to see the ballplayers for himself, he then agrees Ray and Annie should not sell.

3. Real people are depicted in the film.

Moonlight Graham (Archibald “Moonlight” Wright Graham) was a baseball player for the New York Giants but who only played one professional game. Just a few days later, he left baseball to go to medical school and became a doctor. “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was also a major league baseball player.

Some of the ballplayers who emerge “from the field” are other team members of the Chicago White Sox who were involved with the “Black Sox” scandal of 1919, in which they and Jackson were accused of conspiring with gamblers to throw the World Series.  Additionally, the part of Terrence Mann, played by James Earl Jones is fictional, but in the book on which the movie is based, Ray is looking for real-life author J.D. Salinger.  It wasn’t much of a stretch because the author of the book, W.P. Kinsella, was actually a friend of Salinger’s.

4. The movie has a spiritual aspect.

Although the subject matter of Field Of Dreams is undoubtably baseball, many see it as not merely a baseball movie but more as a film about finding a way to have a second chance in life. The movie’s theme of Ray’s ability to follow his heart is inspirational and the message sent to spend as much time as you can with your family is undeniable. As a testament to the film’s spirituality, more than 50,000 people make pilgrimage every year to visit the “field” in Dyersville, Iowa.

5. Two “A” list Hollywood actors were uncredited extras in this film.

Long before Ben Affleck and Matt Damon became famous, they were in Field of Dreams among thousands of extras in the Fenway Park scene in Boston. They were both uncredited.

Supposedly, ten years later when Afleck was filming The Sum of All Fears with the same director from Field Of Dreams, Phil Alden Robinson, Ben had to explain to Robinson how they previously worked together.

6. One of the quotes in the film appears in AFI’s top 100 list.

“If you build it, he will come” is often misquoted as “”if you build it, they will come.” Regardless of how you slice it, that quote is number 39 among the American Film Institute’s top 100 film quotes. It is rumored that “the voice” heard whispering that famous line in the film is that of actor Ray Liotta. Does anyone know if that is true?

7. The contrived setting for part of the film still exists today.

The land where Universal built the now famous baseball diamond is in Dyersville, Iowa. After filming was completed and everyone went home, Don and Becky Lansing, who owned the farm, kept and maintained the field, which quickly became a tourist attraction. The farm was in the Lansing family for over a century but in 2010, they decided it was time to move on and all 193 acres of the farm and field were put up for sale.

8. This film was nominated for multiple Oscars but didn’t win any.

Field Of Dreams was nominated for three Academy Awards–Best Music (Original Score), Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium) and Best Picture–but came away empty-handed.

9. One of the actors is known for doing voice-overs.

Although James Earl Jones has been before the cameras (or behind them) more than 150 times, he is probably best known as the voice of Darth Vader. His resonance has kept him busy doing animated features like Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King, and Mr. Jones has even lent his famous voice to video games.

10. The star of the film was in the news in 2010 for something that had nothing to do with acting.

The newspaper headline seen nationwide during the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico spill accident read, “Carson City company tied to actor Kevin Costner may aid in oil spill.” Along with his brother Dan, Kevin Costner has been in the news lately because his company, Costner Industries Nevada Corporation (CINC), has developed a Liquid-Liquid Centrifugal Separator which can be used for clean-up as needed in the Gulf of Mexico.


  • fred

    And my favorite part…. They come out to play ball and Shoeless Joe steps in batting right handed. Mr. baseball fanatic Kevin Costner didn’t even know Joe batted lefty.

    • Ddbackcatch

      Not true… Lotta is a righty and can’t bet lefty. So in the movie they switched joe to bat righty and throw lefty. Which is the opposite of how joe really was.
      Love this movie!

    • rogerscorpion

      Y’know—this reminds me of something a friend told me in 1974. After seeing Hard Times, a depression-era story, with Bronson & Coburn, in the magnificent Walter Hill’s directorial debut, my friend, a railway buff, complained that the train cars had modern #s on the side. I didn’t care then.

  • Gary Cahall

    Good eye there, Fred. The real Joe Jackson was indeed a left-handed batter, but righty Ray Liotta apparently couldn’t make the switch convincingly, so the filmmakers opted for convenience over authenticity (after all, the real Jackson didn’t pop out of Iowa cornfields, either). They also could have tried getting a uniform with backwards logos and simply shooting Liotta in reverse, the way Gary Cooper was filmed as Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees. Baseball fans looking for a more accurate depiction of Shoeless Joe’s swing should check out D.B. Sweeney as Jackson in John Sayles’ Eight Men Out.

  • ralph stratford

    Thank you this was a great movie & although i am not a great sports fan this has to be one of my favourite alltime movies.

  • Stan

    I know everyone is going to brick me for this but I absolutely hated this movie. Too sappy and ultra low energy. Kevin Costner has done much better work than this cliche’ ridden pic.

  • Rufnek

    The film would have been much better had someone else been cast in Costner’s role. He just never seemed to me to have the kind of fire in the gut necessary for a man to pursue an impossible dream against all odds and opposition.

    Liked Liotta, liked Lancaster, liked Jones, but I can see Stan’s point, too–the smaltz did run pretty thick through that whole storyline.

  • Jim

    Send a brick to Stan and a stone to Rufnek. The movie is a fantasy, not a biography, and historic people were used to add to the realism. I thought Burt Lancaster stole the show in one of his last roles.

    • rogerscorpion

      Lancaster had a magical presence.

  • michael jefferson

    This is probably my favorite sports movie (and I really do not like baseball!) but my favorite moment in the film was the ending, when Ray finds his father there as a catcher and they team up to play catch together, just what one should picture happening between father and son.

  • TexAg71

    There’s a father-son catch scene at the very end of “The Natural,” too.

  • Mike Hutchison

    Absolutely LOVE this movie – it’s among my all-time favorites. I especially like the speech James Earl Jones makes at the end about the meaning of baseball to America. Here in the Minneapolis area (home of the Minnesota Twins) the World Series is barely mentioned. It’s just relegated to a short story in the sports section. The media here must have a financial interest in football. It’s all they write about despite the fact the Minnesota Vikings are terrible (*again) this year.

  • Shane

    Indeed it is smaltzy and I love it!! We have quite enough “real life” films with sports themes and once in a while we need to warm our cockles with smaltz! I for one have felt the pain of Brian Piccolo and have banged one too many drums…give me a father/son catch any day.

  • version

    Oh its a fantasy alright – nothing wrong with that but its a B movie at best – maybe I dozed off to many of Costners scenes. Liotta was the only refreshing character; did they film Amy Madigan in one day; did Kevin ever hear them say “action”. I guess when it came out it was fun – but I could just never revisit after one viewing.

  • Chris

    One of my favorite movies as well, sometimes described as a “modern ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’”.
    One of my favorite lines from the movie: Terrance Mann- “You have a passion, Ray… misguided though it may be… it is still a passion.”.

  • Jim

    To Version:
    Agreed. It is a B movie. It had more impact in the theater than the small screen (I’m using a 55″ Samsung).

    • rogerscorpion

      This was anything but a ‘B’ movie. Costner was extremely hot @ the time. James Earl Jones & Burt Lancaster lent great class to it.

  • Lynn

    Absolutely love this moving – to believe so much in anything is a gift…and to have another chance to be with your father a miracle. This is not a biography…lighten up.

  • RON

    Maybe the finest film Hollywood has ever put out.
    I cry at the credits.

  • Christopher Tooker

    I think it was David Carradine…
    The “voice” in the movie.
    Uncredited – but it sounds just like him.

  • diggler

    Ray Liotta was “The Voice”

    • rogerscorpion

      Ray was Shoeless Joe. I doubt it was the same actor. Besides, Liotta’s voice is pretty recognizable.


    Chisum, Minnesota…. was actually Galena, IL.

    • roskater

      Hey I didn’t know that !!! thank you ,, im from near that area.

  • chris mattson

    Baseball, Black Sox and Shoeless Joe then add Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster you get a great movie. I enjoy it over and over. Truly more than a Baseball movie!!!!!!

  • Don K

    Don K
    I grew up in the 50s & 60s when baseball was still baseball, if you know what I mean. It was everything to me.
    I always had a glove hanging on my handlebars just incase I would run into a ball game somewhere in the small town, and there was always one going on in someones yard or a cleared field.
    I can still smell, taste, feel and hear everything that came with it all. When I watch a well made baseball movie like Field of Dreams, and some others, I just can’t help but get all chocked up, with a lump in my throat. And I sometimes need to stop the movie and get a hold of myself before I burst into tears. Maybe I’m to sentimental about it. I don’t know.
    Does anyone remember the movie, Cooperstowm ? I only saw a short piece of it many years ago and have never been able to find it anywhere. I’m not sure but it seems like Burt Lancaster was in it to !

  • ggiuy

    I love rhe movie field of dreams

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  • rogerscorpion

    Great film. Very spiritual. Costner @ his peak.

  • Lenny C.

    Field Of Dreams and For Love of the Game are the best baseball movies ever.

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  • Marcelo

    In the credits the “The Voice” is credited to “himself”. Who is suposed to be “himself”? Kevin Costner? Ray Liotta? The actor playing Ray’s father? Frank Sinatra?

    • CSkills

      It is Ray Liotta’s voice. I think you are confusing Moonlight Graham for his father, Burt Lancaster played that part. The actor playing his father was in his 20′s, when they play catch at the end.

      • FoD_Fan

        It is actually Kevin Costner’s voice. At the end of the movie, Ray (Costner) remembers all the voices and turns to Jackson (Liotta) and says, “It was you?”. Jackson replies with, “No Ray, It was you.” Thus indicating that Ray (Costner) was the voice he heard.