Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. 60
    As Ouimet, the always-terrific Shia LeBeouf is an oasis of depth in a film that otherwise can't pass up a sports-film cliché.
  2. Reviewed by: Simon Braund
    It can be seen for what it is: a well-crafted entertainment that boasts excellent performances (particularly from Dillane) and fully engages the mythology of sport, reminding us that in its transcendent moments, even a tossy one like golf has the power to capture the collective imagination.
  3. About overcoming adversity and one's innermost fears. On this count, Paxton hits the ball squarely in capturing the psychology of his characters, but hooks it into the sand trap of effects and thematic overselling.
  4. 50
    The Greatest Game mostly sits there limply -- it lacks the charming swagger Paxton dependably brings to his own acting roles.
  5. 50
    Paxton and Frost lay the schmaltz on thickly, but the deal-breaker is the overuse of special effects, which make the game in question look more like pinball than golf.
  6. Never thrills on an emotional level the way the best of sports films – a "Hoosiers," say – can, but it's a satisfying entertainment nonetheless.
  7. 50
    Sports films about underdogs overcoming long odds run the gamut from flinty intelligence (Million Dollar Baby) to mushy sentimentality (Seabiscuit). This Disney drama...falls somewhere in the middle.
  8. 50
    And how good should we feel about this match anyway? Absolutely anyone, we learn, can win the 1913 U.S. Open. Except blacks, Jews or women.
  9. 50
    Considering its superlative title (second only to George Stevens's New Testament epic, "The Greatest Story Ever Told"), I'm sorry to report that The Greatest Game Ever Played ranks somewhere in the murky middleground of sports movies.
  10. The film will have to settle for a bogey rather than a par. Still, some hyperbole is warranted, like "Safest Movie to Take the Entire Family To."
  11. 50
    Ouimet versus Vardon probably was the greatest golf game ever played, and Paxton and Frost do it justice, but I wouldn't sit through another simulated hole of it for Tiger Woods's salary.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Oct 18, 2015
    This is by far the most thoughtful, heart-wrenching golf film yet released. Indeed, The Greatest Game Ever Played reaches out universallyThis is by far the most thoughtful, heart-wrenching golf film yet released. Indeed, The Greatest Game Ever Played reaches out universally instead of just to golfers or other athletes. LaBeouf excellently portrays a struggling, passionate youth who miraculously rises to the elite skill level of golfers. This film's musical score is lively, catchy, and gives a strong sense of excitement and suspense to the rising action of the plot. Finally, The Greatest Game Ever Played demonstrates a masterful juxtaposition of the old-fashioned and the modern with its use of awe-inspiring CGI in the context of yesteryear. Full Review »
  2. Jul 18, 2011
    With biopics, it is not easy to captivate audiences especially with the predictability factor coming into play. But this movie tackles thisWith biopics, it is not easy to captivate audiences especially with the predictability factor coming into play. But this movie tackles this problem pretty well and manages to impress albeit a little. This is a feel good movie that initially staggers but manages to stand up on its feet and comes above the average mark. The direction and unexpectedly the visual effects stand out among other aspects. The movie runs about rudderless in the first half due to what i conclude as poor writing. The scenes seem disconnected from each other and the proceedings don't seems to make sense (i mean why would a golf association president bother persuading a store janitor to take up golf, especially after he refuses initially). The movie comes very close to going off the cliff but the the cast and director manage to hold the attention. The movie has a British flavor to it. Midway, the movie sets a background of an ongoing rivalry between the British and the American golfers. Giving the rivalry a friendly tone but not losing the competitiveness is a tough job and the script manages this beautifully. This is the point where i think the script finds its ground and gives the movie a new hope and direction.

    Shia LaBeouf seems a natural and gives a fitting performance for his slightly decentralized role as American peasant class golfer Francis Ouimet. Sharing the spotlight with him is Stephen Dillane who gives the most memorable performance. He plays the role of the legendary British golfer with a poor background Harry Vardon lured into the rat race by the ever elusive social status. He is haunted by 4 men wearing top hats who had put an un-erasable ghostly impression on him in his childhood. It clearly shows that having a strong theatre background certainly helps. It is worth noting that both these characters are from under privileged homes with Vardon already reaching the peak of his career while Ouimet following the footsteps of his rival cum idol. Other supporting actors play out their parts in a commendable manner. I especially liked Eddie, the young "smarter than age" caddie played by Josh Flitter.

    I didn't know squat about golfing but i tried learning about it before watching this one. Fortunately the movie doesn't dwell deep into the technicalities of golfing. Although you wont be at a disadvantage if you don't understand golf but the movie will be more enjoyable if you do know the basics. The special effects deserve well... a 'special' mention. The game has been beautifully showcased with the boredom factor almost eliminated by the inspiring effects. It was what kept me going all the time. Each time the golf ball is driven, we are treated with a different angle or perspective followed by a montage which skip past the length and width of the game. The background score only adds to the thrill.

    The movie, in its entirety, could have been much more than what it is. Anyhow, the movie at its core is about dreaming big and going after the dream irrespective of what others think of you. Both the central characters Apart from the starting hiccups, the movie plays out fine without being over-dramatic. But if you are looking for a movie with some inspiration, this may not be the ideal choice.
    Full Review »
  3. FraazT.
    Feb 6, 2009
    An inspirational movie. Portrays the true spirit of golf or for that matter any game. It shows the value of perseverance and resilience.