Field of Dreams

Question: At the end of the movie, the Voice is credited as Himself. Who was really responsible for doing the voice that sent Ray on his journey?

Answer: It was actually his own voice (Kevin Costner) that sent him on the journey. At the end of the movie there's even the part where Ray is recalling the voices he heard and turned to Shoeless Joe Jackson and says, "It was you". At which point Joe Jackson turns around and says, "No Ray. It was you".

Question: At the end of the movie, Ray realises that the messages he had been receiving were about his dad. "If you build it, he will come." Ray built the ball field and his dad appeared. "Ease his pain." Ray played a game of catch with his dad. How does the message "Go the distance" refer to his dad?

Answer: Ray's mission was not confined to easing the pain of his deceased father. Ray himself had a lot of pain and regret over arguing with his father about baseball. Ray was also supernaturally guided to seek out the angry writer Terence Mann (who had always dreamed of playing professional baseball, but never did). When he travels to Boston looking for Terence Mann, Ray and Terence both hear the words "Go the distance," convincing them to travel to Chisholm, Minnesota, looking for an ex-ballplayer named "Moonlight" Graham (who never actually got to bat in the big league, either). As it turned out, Graham was long-since deceased, but Ray and Terence meet Graham's young ghost who returns with them to join the cornfield team. So, "Ease his pain," applied not only to Ray's father, but also to Ray himself and to writer Terence Mann and to Moonlight Graham. "Go the distance" was about traveling to bring both Terence Mann and Moonlight Graham into this magical place where all of their lost dreams could be fulfilled, as well.

Charles Austin Miller

I think "go the distance" has a metaphorical connotation of seeing your choices through in life, and finding the beauty in them. It also implies doing the work you need to do confront your past, resolve your past hurts, and find the strength to move forward.

Michael Albert

Well, in that sense, "Go the distance" is just a generic platitude. What we know is that each of the supernatural messages carried an urgent instructional connotation, calling for Ray to be proactive toward a specific goal: Bringing together these anguished souls (both dead and living) to live out their lost dreams and finally find peace.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: How come none of the ball players can go past the first base foul line?

Answer: If they go past that line they will no longer be able to play again. The field is their only place to exist in the afterlife (their heaven if you will). That line is the end of the field and they will not be able to return if they cross it.


So do the players not go after foul ball fly balls/pop ups along the first base side?

Answer: Earlier in the movie, when Annie asked Shoeless Joe if he liked to go inside the house, Joe is about to before he realises that he's about to walk past the first base line so he declines. Later, when Karen falls off the bleacher, Archie runs up to the first base line and stops for a second. As soon as Archie crosses the first base line, he turns back into "Moonlight" Graham and can never play baseball again.

Answer: It's not the foul line they can't cross. It's the outer threshold of the entire field.

Answer: Actually, when Terrence Mann first gets there, Shoeless Joe walks over to him by the bleachers, across the line. So apparently there are exceptions. That's where he gives the line about Ty Cobb.

Question: I understand what "If you build it, he will come" and "Ease his pain" both mean but what did the voice mean when he said "Go the distance"?

Answer: The Voice meant don't give up, no matter how bad things get.

Answer: I think it meant to push yourself beyond your boundary. Do thing where you normally would not, like going far when you would be more comfortable nearby.

Answer: It wanted him to go to where Archibald Graham lived.


Question: How did Karen know there was a game on if the players hadn't yet come out of the corn?

Answer: As was demonstrated throughout the movie, different people had different perceptions of what was happening in the magical field. Ray Kinsella, for example, heard a disembodied voice urging him to take action before (and after) the ghosts made their first appearance; Terence Mann, also, heard a disembodied voice half-way across the country and long before he ever arrived at the field; meanwhile, Ray's cynical and skeptical brother-in-law couldn't see or hear any players, even when a full ghost-game was in progress right in front of him. Apparently, whatever supernatural things you perceived were dependent on your level of belief. It's most likely that Ray's young daughter, Karin, received her own private disembodied message or precognition telling her the game was about to begin.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: The players could have emerged and begun playing and Karen saw them, and then went and told her father. We may have been shown the events out of order for theatrical/dramatic effect which directors sometimes do in movies.

That could be. But within the movie as it's given, the players were just coming onto the field from the corn. So it's a good question.

Question: What is the significance of the no. 1 seating number in which Terence Mann sits at Fenway?

Answer: This is speculation, but the No.1 seat possibly referred to Terence Mann being the number one reason the whole "Field of Dreams" story was set in motion. When Ray Kinsella was a child, his father (John Kinsella) had high hopes that Ray would become a professional baseball player; he encouraged Ray and they played ball constantly. At the age of 14, Ray read a book by Terence Mann that denounced the 1919 Chicago White Sox baseball team as criminals, and Ray posed that argument to his father (his father believed the White Sox were wrongly accused). Because of Terence Mann's book, Ray and his father had a heated argument that caused Ray to give up baseball, which created a lifelong rift between them that lasted right up to John Kinsella's death. Understandably, Ray always regretted that he never resolved the bad feelings with his father. So, Terence Mann was really the starting point, the No.1 catalyst behind everything in Ray's troubled personal life. The supernatural cornfield events that followed years later were mainly about Ray and his father healing old wounds, the accused members of the Chicago White Sox getting a second chance to play, and Terence Mann losing the bitterness that had filled his writing for decades.

Charles Austin Miller


Question: Near the beginning, Ray is hearing voices in the cornfield. When the baseball field is "shown" to him, is it in a different orientation than what he ends up building. The field is rotated 180 degrees. I understand that the field could be built however he wants it, but why would he build it differently than his "dream"? Why not build it exactly as he saw it?

Answer: It's not that the field is shown to him; we're seeing a visual representation of the idea occurring to him. It's meant to convey the moment where he realizes that the voice is telling him to build a baseball field for "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. So it's not exactly a vision or an instruction, just a film convention to show what a character is thinking.

Question: Maybe someone with agricultural expertise can answer this. Ray's entire cornfield is large and obviously worth a lot of money. How much would the small section of corn that he plowed under for the baseball field have been worth in comparison to the rest of the crop once sold?


Chosen answer: In modern times (say, over the last 10 years) corn crops yield about $240 in profit per acre. In the mid-to-late 1980s (when this movie was made) the profit yield was far less, maybe only $150 or less profit per acre. Today, most farms produce about 1100 acres of corn per season; but, back then, most farms produced around 600 acres per season. Of course, these are all just average figures. So, let's say Ray had an average Iowa farm of 600 cultivated acres in 1989, expecting to profit $150 per acre. Optimistically, Ray would profit about $90,000 on his total crop. Meanwhile, the acreage of a large baseball field (with 90-foot baselines) is only about 5 acres. Which means Ray plowed under only about $750 worth of his crop profits to open up land area for the baseball field. It doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice at all, in terms of corn. Ray could still potentially profit $89,250 on his remaining crop (assuming he had the farm hands and heavy equipment to harvest it).

Charles Austin Miller

Thanks! The plot seemed a bit far-fetched by implying that he would go completely bankrupt because he sacrificed five acres to build a baseball field. And it appeared that not all of those five acres near the house were previously being used for growing corn. Factoring in the other incidental building costs would be a different consideration, however.


Yeah, the 5 acres of corn was not a bank-breaker. My impression was that Ray probably cut down the corn himself at no great loss; but he then mortgaged his farm to have that one small piece of the cornfield leveled and professionally developed with ballpark-quality turf, baselines, stadium lighting and fencing, et cetera, not to mention the bleachers and professional-grade field equipment...all of which would total, what, a half-million bucks (or more) in the 1980s? Ray's brother-in-law rightly thought it was an insane risk that would result in bank foreclosure.

Charles Austin Miller

I just watched it again. It's mentioned they paid for building the field using all their savings, so presumably nothing more is owed. Another year passes and there is another crop of corn to be harvested, but the bank is threatening to foreclose.


Maybe it's a plot hole or a deleted scene; because, if the bank was threatening foreclosure, then a mortgage of some kind existed somewhere.

Charles Austin Miller

He did spend a lot to build the field, and those profit margin numbers are best-case, no?

Yeah, all the figures I provided were just averages for the year 1989; but the figures do demonstrate that cutting down 5 acres of corn didn't significantly impact Ray's profit on the whole crop. It wasn't cutting down the corn that cost him money (as the original question inquired); rather, it was developing the cleared 5 acres into a level, professional-standard baseball field that cost him a ton of money.

Charles Austin Miller

Continuity mistake: When Annie and Ray are laying in the newly completed ball field, and Annie is drinking a glass of wine, it is sunset. The sun has gone down and the sky is just the faintest of pink on the horizon, the rest of the sky is a strong blue tone. Yet, when the camera cuts to a long shot, same angle of Ray and Annie, the horizon is now a brilliant red-orange taking up nearly a third of the sky. (00:16:20)


More mistakes in Field of Dreams

Ray Kinsella: I know more about farming than you think I do.
Mark: Well then how could you plow under a major crop?
Ray Kinsella: What's a crop?

More quotes from Field of Dreams

Trivia: During the filming of the cornfield scenes where Ray first hears the voice, the filmmakers had problems with the corn growing. When they initially wanted to film the scenes the corn was too short, so they waited a couple of weeks. When they were ready to shoot, the corn was too tall. Kevin Costner had to walk on wooden planks, so he could be seen in the cornfield (Director Phil Alden Robinson discussed this in the 10th anniversary edition of the film).

More trivia for Field of Dreams

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