Having not read the book, the movie was not a disappointment. On the contrary, I think it ranks with, if not, the best baseball movie every made. It is a story of second chances both in baseball and in love.
The movie avoids the usual Hollywood pitfalls of making a statement where no statement is needed (Holly Hunters library speech in Field of Dreams) and by avoiding meaningless cliques by the effective use of archetypes. For instance, the mystery woman who abruptly ends Hobbs fledging career is dressed in black as contrasted to Iris, Hobbs lost love, who stands in the bleachers backlighted by a halo of light. Also the use of lightening at critical movements of Hobbs life and career are but two examples of powerful archetype.
Aside from a good story, this is movie making at its best. The cinematography is beautiful. Case in point: The contest between Roy Hobbs (the Robert Redford character) and the Whammer (played to the tee by Joe Don Baker). Cool summer evening, setting sun, beautiful light, the cottonwood fluff floating gently in the air and steam periodically erupting from the locomotive- it is a visual masterpiece. Add to the beautiful cinematography, the musical score from Randy Newman. Nineteen years after the making of this movie when one hears Newman's score we think- Baseball!
The attention to detail and editing were also superb. Who make those advertising signs in the outfield? Bump Baileys meeting a premature end crashing into the outfield wall next to the crying baby sign? That is what I call attention to detail. How about this? In the train scenes the train actually rocks on its tracks as it speeds along its way- Roy has to steady himself as he talks to the woman in black. The editing is surperb- especially the water stop scene and the final at bat scene. Could this be the best baseball movie ever made?