Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

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

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Critic Reviews

  1. It's by far the most inspirational sports movie to come along in many a month.
  2. In a society where athletic competitions are too often likened to war, the recognition that everyone's equal once they're off the playing field is a welcome reminder of that little thing called perspective, not to mention sportsmanship.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Offers an inspiring story, lush visuals and accessible characters to give a black-hat-white-hat view of class struggle in America and England.
  4. 75
    As feel-good as any sports movie you're likely to find. It's a solid choice for family viewing, but is equally worthy of viewing by solo adults.
  5. 75
    I am not a golf fan but found The Greatest Game Ever Played absorbing all the same, partly because of the human element, partly because Paxton and his technicians have used every trick in the book to dramatize the flight and destination of the golf balls.
  6. LaBeouf ("Holes") has a scrubbed, ego-free innocence that is perfect for his working-class hero.
  7. Actor-turned-helmer Bill Paxton has fashioned solid family entertainment in this well-cast feature.
  8. The mixture of old-fashioned themes with newfangled techniques makes The Greatest Game Ever Played a canny piece of feel-good entertainment.
  9. 67
    The film is sugary, simplistic and riddled with cliches -- yet it still manages to absorb you in its story and even carry you with some of its emotions.
  10. An inconsistent and endearing sports inspirational that aims to be "Chariots of Fire" for golf.
  11. 63
    To help break the monotony, Frost relies on relentless digital effects; there are so many shots of giant golf balls whizzing toward the screen it looks like the film was meant to be projected in 3-D.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    What's missing here is the one thing any duffer knows you need: Focus. The Greatest Game Ever Played works so hard to convince you of the truth of its title that it never settles down to address the ball.
  13. The Greatest Game Ever Played is far too inconsistent to be great, but at least Paxton has made an honourable attempt to treat this piece of sports history with the gravity it deserves.
  14. Reviewed by: Matt Cheplic
    To be fair, Ouimet's story is pretty magical, one of the great sports underdog tales.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 22 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.