25 Fast Facts About Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner, Gaby Hoffmann, and Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams (1989).
Kevin Costner, Gaby Hoffmann, and Burt Lancaster in Field of Dreams (1989).
Getty Images

If you have seen Field of Dreams, you likely have a strong opinion on it. While some are moved by its fantastical and heartfelt story of personal redemption, others dismiss it as maudlin and silly, or a "male weepie at its wussiest," as Richard Corliss of Time Magazine so infamously put it. Either way you look at it, the Oscar-nominated movie—which made its debut on May 5, 1989—is still being talked about more than a quarter-century later.

1. IT WAS BASED ON A BOOK CALLED SHOELESS JOE.

Field of Dreams

writer-director Phil Alden Robinson loved W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe since the book was first published in 1982. Robinson continued working on the adapted screenplay, despite 20th Century Fox's repeated insistence through the years that it wasn't commercial enough. Eventually Robinson and producers Lawrence and Charles Gordon sold the screenplay to Universal.

2. ROBINSON WAS UPSET WHEN THE STUDIO MADE HIM CHANGE THE TITLE.

Audiences responded to test screenings of the movie saying the name Shoeless Joe reminded them of a hobo. With trepidation, Robinson called Kinsella to tell him that the movie's name was being changed to Field of Dreams. Kinsella was okay with it, since one of his own ideas for his book title was The Dream Field, only for his publisher to decide on Shoeless Joe.

3. J.D. SALINGER WAS THE AUTHOR RAY TRIES TO KIDNAP IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION.

Kinsella's real original title for the book was The Kidnapping of J.D. Salinger. Studio executives, however, were afraid that bad publicity from Salinger's threats to file a lawsuit would harm them, so the character of Terence Mann was created instead.

4. RAY KINSELLA WAS NAMED AFTER A SALINGER CHARACTER.

Kinsella insists he didn't just put his own last name as Ray's and call it a day. Kinsella was a last name Salinger used in two stories: Richard Kinsella was an annoying classmate of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In the Rye, and one Ray Kinsella was a character in the short story A Young Girl in 1941 With No Waist at All. The idea was for a Salinger creation to appear in front of his creator and take him to a ballgame.

5. KEVIN COSTNER WASN'T INITIALLY CONSIDERED BECAUSE HE HAD JUST STARRED IN A BASEBALL MOVIE.

Costner was the first actor to come to Robinson's mind to play Ray, but he had just starred in Bull Durham, another baseball movie. A Universal executive got Costner to read the script anyway, and he decided to do it because he felt it would be akin to It's a Wonderful Life.

6. BEN AFFLECK AND MATT DAMON WERE EXTRAS.

Damon was 17 years old and Affleck turned 16 during the summer of 1988, when the film shot on location for the scenes in Fenway Park. More than a decade later Affleck would star in Robinson's The Sum of All Fears; on the first day of shooting, he reportedly told Robinson: "Nice working with you again."

7. THE PERSON WHO VOICED "THE VOICE" THAT SPOKE TO RAY REMAINS A MYSTERY.

For years it was rumored that the voiced belonged to Ray Liotta, who played Shoeless Joe Jackson. Kinsella wrote that he was told it was actually Ed Harris, Amy Madigan's husband (Madigan played Ray's wife, Annie). The Voice is officially credited as being played by Himself.

8. PEOPLE MISQUOTE THE VOICE ALL THE TIME.

The actual quote is: "If you build it, he will come," not "If you build it, they will come." It's a common mistake. The line was ranked number 39 on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time.

9. THE GRASS WAS PAINTED GREEN.

Filmed on an actual cornfield-turned-baseball diamond in Dyersville, Iowa, a season-long drought led to the need for some cosmetic touch-ups. The dying grass was coated with some green vegetable dye and latex turf paint.

10. JAMES EARL JONES WAS CONVINCED HIS "PEOPLE WILL COME" SPEECH WOULDN'T MAKE THE FINAL CUT.

It was Jones' wife who convinced him to accept the role of Terence Mann in the first place, though she warned him that the "long speech about baseball will never be in the film, it'll be on the cutting-room floor."

11. MOONLIGHT GRAHAM IS A REAL PERSON.

Kinsella used Archibald Moonlight Graham's real life story for his book, with the exception that the real Graham's lone major league game took place on June 1905, not on the last day of the 1922 season like Burt Lancaster's character in the film. The author found his name in a baseball encyclopedia he received as a Christmas gift and decided the name was better than anything he could ever come up with on his own. In real life, Graham became the beloved town doctor of Chisholm, Minnesota after answering a newspaper ad.

12. JIMMY STEWART WAS THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY GRAHAM.

Stewart passed on the role. Burt Lancaster himself initially didn't "get it," but was convinced by a friend to do it. In Roger Ebert's four-star review of the movie, he said Field of Dreams was "the kind of movie Frank Capra might have directed and James Stewart might have starred in."

13. IT WAS LANCASTER'S LAST CINEMATIC FILM.

The famous actor was 74 years old during the filming of Field of Dreams. After a couple of TV movie jobs, Lancaster retired from acting. He passed away in 1994.

14. IT WAS GABY HOFFMANN'S FIRST MOVIE.

The daughter of Warhol superstar Viva Auder Hoffmann and soap actor Anthony Herrera played Ray's daughter Karin at age six. More recently, you may have seen her in Transparent or Girls.

15. THE FILMING SCHEDULE WAS BASED ON THE HEIGHT OF THE CORN.

The corn had to be Kevin Costner's height (he's listed as 6'1") or taller when the voice first spoke to him. With a thumbs up from the state of Iowa, filmmakers dammed a nearby creek to make sure the corn had enough water. It worked almost too well; when Costner first hears "If you build it, he will come," he had to walk on a foot-high platform. Just in case the creek damming failed, fake corn from Asia was on standby to be shipped in.

16. THE CORN-BASED SCHEDULE MADE THE POWERS THAT BE FOR ANOTHER COSTNER MOVIE VERY UPSET.

Production on Revenge was repeatedly postponed while Costner and the cast and crew of Field of Dreams were working with the vegetation. A producer threatened to sue the actor, until it was agreed upon that Costner start work on Revenge two days after Field of Dreams wrapped. Revenge would end up making almost $15.7 million at the box office, while Field of Dreams raked in more than $64.4 million.

17. RAY LIOTTA HAS NEVER SEEN THE MOVIE.

He's been told that it's good

, but his mother was ill during filming, which he mentally associates with the movie.

18. LIOTTA THOUGHT THE SCRIPT WAS "SILLY."

It was only after the actor read the script a couple more times and read the book Shoeless Joe that it made more sense to him.

19. LIOTTA COULDN'T HIT LEFT-HANDED WELL ENOUGH FOR THE MOVIE.

Shoeless Joe Jackson hit lefty and threw righty, but in the movie Liotta plays him as a right-handed batter. Liotta trained with professional baseball coaches for one month to hit left-handed like his character, but it wasn't good enough for the director Robinson. Liotta claimed Robinson said it was okay if the batting wasn't historically accurate, though to this day the actor regrets not finding a way to make it work.

20. KINSELLA WAS BORED WATCHING THE MOVIE OF HIS BOOK GETTING MADE.

"Colossal boredom" was how Kinsella described Iowa in the summer of 1988. The author said his daughter had more fun, because she was involved in "a little romance" with Liotta.

21. KINSELLA GAVE THE MOVIE FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS.

It lost a potentially perfect rating

because Kinsella didn't think Timothy Busfield's Mark was villainous enough, nor that Gaby Hoffmann looked like Ray and Annie's child.

22. A TOWN-WIDE BLACKOUT WAS ENFORCED IN ORDER TO MAKE THE FINAL SCENE WORK.

3,000 Iowa residents in 1,500 cars

agreed to take part. There was a forced blackout in the town of Dyersville, Iowa, which included other baseball games and the local train. The director's instructions were broadcast on a local radio station. One was for the drivers to flash their high beams off and on as they drove to make it look as if there was more movement than there actually was.

23. RAY'S DAD WAS WORRIED HE WOULD DROP THE BASEBALL DURING THE GAME OF CATCH.

The scene in which Ray plays catch with his father had to be shot during magic hour, 15 minutes after sunset, which gave little room for error for actor Dwier Brown, who was working with a rock-hard, vintage catcher's mitt. He is proud of the fact that he never dropped it.

24. DWIER BROWN SHOT THE FILM RIGHT AFTER HIS OWN FATHER'S FUNERAL.

He got back in time to play catch with Costner. It helped him access the necessary emotions.

25. THE OWNER OF THE FARM SOLD IT IN 2012, BUT STILL MAINTAINS THE FIELD.

Don Lansing met his wife Becky

on New Year's Eve 1995 when she made a pilgrimage to visit the baseball field from Field of Dreams. When he proposed marriage, he did so on first base.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

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2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

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3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

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4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

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5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

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6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

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7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

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8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

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9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

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10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

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This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

20 Mind-Boggling Facts About Inception

Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception (2010).
Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception (2010).
Warner Bros. Pictures

After The Dark Knight made $1 billion worldwide, Warner Bros. let director Christopher Nolan to make his passion project, Inception (although most passion projects don’t generally have a budget of $160 million). The confusing-but-exhilarating film, which was released on July 13, 2010, made more than $800 million worldwide. Here are some things you might not know about the film.

1. Christopher Nolan toyed with the idea of making Inception a horror movie.

Christopher Nolan both wrote and directed Insomnia. He originally came up with the idea in the early 2000s, after he finished making Insomnia. Originally, he considered using the same concept, but as a horror film.

2. The main characters in Inception each represent a key part of the filmmaking process.

Each character represents a vital part of the film industry. “The Point Man” (Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur) is the producer; “The Architect” (Ellen Page as Ariadne) is the production designer; “The Forger” (Tom Hardy as Eames) is the actor; and “The Mark” (Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer) is the audience. As for Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, he’s a stand-in for the director, giving him obvious parallels to Nolan. “I can lose myself in my job very easily," Nolan told Entertainment Weekly. "It’s rare that you can identify yourself so clearly in a film. This film is very clear for me.”

3. Christopher Nolan didn’t research dreams while writing the screenplay for Inception.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Berenger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, and Ken Watanabe in Inception (2010)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Berenger, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, and Ken Watanabe in Inception (2010).
Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros. Entertainment

He took a similar approach to writing a movie about dreams as he did to writing Memento, a movie about memory. He primarily used his own experiences and feelings rather than outside information. “I think a lot of what I find you want to do with research is just confirming things you want to do," Nolan told Collider. "If the research contradicts what you want to do, you tend to go ahead and do it anyway. So at a certain point I realized that if you’re trying to reach an audience, being as subjective as possible and really trying to write from something genuine is the way to go. Really it’s mostly from my own process, my own experience.”

4. Christopher Nolan had to convince the studio that the various dream layers in Inception would be as minimally confusing as possible.

He told them, “One of the dream levels is in the rain, one of them is a night interior, one is outdoors in the snow ... even in a close-up, you would be able to tell which level you were in as you cross-cut.”

5. Inception's casting decisions revolved around Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nolan knew that he wanted Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Cobb, so according to him, “We were just trying to cast the best people I could find for those parts, who felt right around Leo.” This also involved casting a young ensemble because Nolan “wanted to get a young, energetic cast around him who wouldn’t make [DiCaprio] look younger.”

6. Leonardo DiCaprio worked with Christopher Nolan to make Inception more character-driven.

Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ellen Page in Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan directs Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception (2010).
Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“Once Leo came on board, I spent months and months sitting with him and discussing the script," Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter. "He made some extraordinary contributions to the script and really challenged me to make the script clear, but also to follow its interior logic and really be true to the essence of the characters and the rules we set out.”

Nolan’s wife and producing partner, Emma Thomas, said that “the work [DiCaprio] did on his character with Chris made the movie less of a puzzle and more of a story of a character audiences could relate to.”

7. Ellen Page didn’t have to audition for Inception.

She met with Nolan for a sit down that had nothing to do with the film. The next week, she was asked to read the script for Inception. She had to read it in an office, not at home. Luckily, she loved the character and Nolan gave her the role.

8. Ariadne is named after the daughter of Minos in Greek mythology.

It’s a unique name for a modern day character, but it makes complete sense for the part. In one story, Minos actually has Ariadne take control of a labyrinth. In the film, the labyrinth that Ariadne draws for Cobb’s test is very similar to paintings of the ancient character’s labyrinth. Nolan acknowledges this connection. “I wanted to have that to help explain the importance of the labyrinth to the audience," he told Wired. "I don’t know how many people pick up on that association when they’re watching the film. It was just a little pointer, really. I like the idea of her being Cobb’s guide.”

9. Inception was filmed in locations around the world.

The rotating set that Arthur flies through was created in Bedfordshire, England. Calgary, Alberta was the location for the epic mountain scenes. They also did shoots in Morocco, Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles. Overall, they ended up filming in six different countries.

10. Christopher Nolan considered filming Inception in 3D.

Eventually, though, Nolan determined that they would be “too restricted by the technology.” After filming, they almost converted the movie to 3D in post-production, but there simply wasn’t enough time.

11. Christopher Nolan wanted the explosions in Inception to look surreal, rather than the standard Hollywood orange flames.

Shooting guidelines in Paris frowned upon the use of actual explosions. So, the crew used high-pressure nitrogen, which they set off right near the cast. Said special effects coordinator Chris Corbould, “When we let an explosion off behind an actor, you get a very different reaction from when he is standing in front of a green screen and someone yells, ‘Explosion!’” More debris was added and the explosions were enhanced in post-production.

12. The paradoxical stairs in Inception were inspired by the art of M.C. Escher.

Nolan wanted to build a paradoxical staircase that worked, but it wasn't possible. So, they built a staircase that just ended abruptly. In order to make them look like a paradox on camera, the crew turned to a visual effects team. According to Paul Franklin, the Visual Effects Supervisor, “These steps have to be built in such a way that when you view them from one angle, the top most level of the staircase lines up with the bottom most level of the staircase. And so what visual effects is able to do is we’re able to make computer models of this and work out exactly the dimensions of the steps that have to be built and where the camera has to be in three-dimensional space to be able to film it.”

13. Christopher Nolan's production team built sets that shifted and rotated for Inception.

During the scene in which Cobb explains to Fischer that they are in a dream, he proves it by letting the room shake and shift. To pull it off, the crew moved the set 25 degrees while filming, without any of the props moving. “The entire set would be shifting," DiCaprio said. "We had to hold onto the actual set so we didn’t slide off.”

For the scenes in which Arthur is floating around the hotel without gravity, Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn’t acting in front of a green screen or placed in zero-gravity. The crew actually built the set so it could rotate a full 360 degrees. Then, they would suspend Gordon-Levitt from a wire to get their shots. It took 500 people and three weeks to film all those scenes. Gordon-Levitt only used his stunt double for one shot.

14. Inception's actors had an easy way of telling which level of the dream world they were supposed to be in during a particular scene.

“It was easy to orientate which dream sequence I was in because of my costume," Tom Hardy told Collider. "If in doubt, I could just look at my shoes and say, ‘Oh! I know which dream I’m in.'"

15. Inception's mountain set was built into the side of a mountain.

The set, built into a mountainside in Alberta, had no snow at the time. In fact, the crew was starting to get concerned that they wouldn’t end up having any snow by the time the shoot started. “The art department kept sending us pictures of mud," Thomas said. "The week before we went up there, we still had no snow.” But that wasn’t a problem for long. They ended up shooting in the middle of blizzards after the biggest storm of the decade.

16. The Inception scene in which the van falls off the bridge in slow motion took months to shoot.

According to Dileep Rao, who played the driver Yusuf, “We’d shoot it one day, go off and shoot something else. Then shoot another piece of [the van]. It was so complex and there were so many locations and so many different moves I have to do. It’s the stuff that makes or breaks that last sequence.” For the underwater portions, actors were holding their breath for up to five minutes at a time, with the occasional top off from a SCUBA tank. As for how they got the van to fall off the bridge? It was shot out of a cannon.

17. Though many special effects were handled on set, Christopher Nolan still had a lot of work to do in post-production on Inception.

For instance, Franklin said, “Getting the bits and bobs to fall out of the hotel cleaning trolley [in zero gravity]? That’s one guy—months of lonesome work.” And a team of CGI specialists worked on the “Limbo City” scenes with DiCaprio and Page for nine full months.

18. Christopher Nolan finished both early and under budget.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and Dileep Rao in Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and Dileep Rao in Inception (2010).
Warner Bros. Entertainment

He actually prefers the constraints that time and money give him, so he makes a serious effort to be efficient when it comes to filmmaking.

19. Christopher Nolan hasn’t said much on Inception's ambiguous ending.

In 2010, Nolan told CNN that the film was intentionally left that way, so he has no desire to add to the conversation. “There can’t be anything in the film that tells you one way or another because then the ambiguity at the end of the film would just be a mistake," he said. "It would represent a failure of the film to communicate something. But it’s not a mistake. I put that cut there at the end, imposing an ambiguity from outside the film. That always felt the right ending to me."

Michael Caine has his own interpretation of the ending that he hasn’t been shy with, though. He claims that the ending is undoubtedly real, not a dream. “[The spinning top] drops at the end, that’s when I come back on," Caine told ScreenRant. "If I’m there it’s real, because I’m never in the dream. I’m the guy who invented the dream.”

20. Film scholars have a lot of different theories about Inception.

Some of these include: it was all a dream, Saito is the actual architect, and Cobb is dreaming/not dreaming/dead at the end of the film.