Role: Roy Hobbs
Barry Levinson’s sepia-toned vision and Randy Newman’s heart-stirring score try mightily to be the stars of this epic tale of heroism and its price. But standing astride home plate, pointing to the bleachers and ending the competition with a mighty swing, Redford is hands-down the most valuable player in what may be the greatest baseball movie of all time.
As Roy Hobbs, Redford is the picture of the mid-20th-century American sports star, and he has the attributes down pat: the false modesty, the insecurity of advancing age, the simmering humanness that fans secretly fear lies just below the surface. The ultimate tribute to Redford’s authenticity in this role: Pick up Bernard Malamud’s 1952 novel and try, just try, to imagine anyone but Redford as Roy Hobbs.