Taglines: All his life, Ray Kinsella was searching for his dreams. Then one day, his dreams came looking for him.
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama sports film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, adapting W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, and Burt Lancaster in his final role. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
Filming began on May 25, 1988. The shooting schedule was built around Costner’s availability because he would be leaving in August to film Revenge. Except for some weather delays and other time constraints, production rolled six days a week. The interior scenes were the first ones shot because the cornfield planted by the filmmakers was taking too long to grow.
Irrigation had to be used to quickly grow the corn to Costner’s height. Primary shot locations were in Dubuque County, Iowa; a farm near Dyersville was used for the Kinsella home; an empty warehouse in Dubuque was used to build various interior sets. Galena, Illinois served as Moonlight Graham’s Chisholm, Minnesota. One week was spent on location shots in Boston, most notably Fenway Park.
Robinson, despite having a sufficient budget as well as the cast and crew he wanted, constantly felt tense and depressed during filming. He felt that he was under too much pressure to create an outstanding film, and that he was not doing justice to the original novel. Lawrence Gordon convinced him that the end product would be effective.
During a lunch with the Iowa Chamber of Commerce, Robinson broached his idea of a final scene in which headlights could be seen for miles along the horizon. The Chamber folks replied that it could be done and the shooting of the final scene became a community event. The film crew was hidden on the farm to make sure the aerial shots did not reveal them. Dyersville was then blacked out and local extras drove their vehicles to the field. In order to give the illusion of movement, the drivers were instructed to continuously switch between their low and high beams.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson
Starring: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster, Timothy Busfield, Frank Whaley, Dwier Brown, Mary Anne Kean, Fern Persons
Screenplay by: Phil Alden Robinson
Production Design by: Dennis Gassner
Cinematography by: John Lindley
Film Editing by: Ian Crafford
Costume Design by: Linda M. Bass
Set Decoration by: Nancy Haigh
Art Direction by: Leslie McDonald
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Universal Pictures (United States), TriStar Pictures (International)
Release Date: April 21, 1989