Raging Bull, Rudy and the 30 best sports movies of all-time

Bernard Malamud’s novel had a very different ending from director Barry Levinson’s fireworks. That would have made a good movie, too. Robert Towne and Phil Dusenberry wrote something more inspiring. (Towne, of course, is famous for his Oscar-winning script for “Chinatown,” while Dusenberry was an ad man credited with coining tags such as General Electric’s “We bring good things to life” and Pepsi’s “The choice of a new generation.” They know how to win people over.) Here, we get Robert Redford, definitely too old for the teenage version of wonder boy Roy Hobbs and pushing the edge of the envelope on the middle-aged iteration, in something resembling Arthurian legend. Hobbs’ first at-bat for the New York Knights in which he literally hits the cover off the ball should let you know realism is not a concern. Randy Newman’s unforgettable score sells Hobbs emerging from the shadows of his haunted past, resisting temptation as best he can. Meanwhile, a supporting cast that includes Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth, Robert Prosky, Kim Basinger, Michael Madsen and Darren McGavin helps seal the deal.

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