Is The Legend of Bagger Vance a true story?

The Legend of Bagger Vance
The Legend of Bagger Vance is loosely based on a true story. Pic credit: David James/DreamWorks LLC. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Legend of Bagger Vance is a sports drama film from actor and director, Robert Redford. The movie stars Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Bruce McGill, and Joel Gretsch.

It is about a war veteran, Captain Rannulph Junuh, played by Matt Damon, who reluctantly agrees to play a game of golf. While he isn’t into it, his caddie changes his mind.

The caddie, Bagger Vance, played by Will Smith, teaches him all about golf and the authenticity behind the game, which ends up being a huge lesson about life and finding meaning with his existence.

But did Bagger Vance ever exist?

According to Rolling Stone‘s writer Peter Travers, The Legend of Bagger Vance is loosely based on the Hindu text Bhagavad-Gita. Bagger Vance isn’t just a caddie, but a godly personification. The same goes for Matt Damon’s role. He isn’t just a war hero with a poor golf swing.

Travers explains that Rannulph Junuh is actually Arjuna, an Indian warrior who is in desperate need of some spiritual guidance — hence meeting Vance.

The Bhagavad Gita is a powerful story in eastern philosophy. While Bhagavad means God, Gita means song or word. The title itself literally means the Song of God. The story is about Arjuna, who tries to answer the major questions of life itself and people’s existence in the world. Bhagavan, who is Bagger Vance, in the story comes to Arjuna’s aid.

The story also talks about hell’s three gates, which are lust, anger, and greed. There’s an idea that the desire for material things and power are irrelevant because we are the soul, not the body. These are also themes in The Legend of Bagger Vance, as Vance teaches Junuh about the important things in life and authenticity, trying to steer away from material things.

Some argue that the Bhagavad Gita is the formula to the ultimate level of freedom and personal bliss.

With that said, Bagger Vance was not a real person and neither was Captain Rannulph Junuh. But the characters are representations of Gods and disciples from the spiritual story, meant to bring an ancient Hindu text to life.

The Legend of Bagger Vance was released on November 3, 2000.

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Randall Davis
Randall Davis
3 years ago

Alone, well not really, my cat Bandit at my side on the couch. What to do, on this easter Sunday in isolation with the rest of the world.Turn on the tube scroll through over 200 channels and what do i decide to watch on this, the Birthday of Christianity? The movie ( Blood Diamond ). Shocked to learn, how what seems to me, to be Heaven on Earth ( Africa ) ,can to this day, endure so much pain and suffering. This realization left me in tears for several minutes. I wipe away my tears and now what am i going to watch. The movie ( The Legend of Bagger Vance ).Again, left in tears, except these were tears of heartwarming joy. I wasn’t sure if I was just Having an emotional day or what because I didn’t understand why I was in tears after this movie about a Golfer and his caddy.Regardless, my curiosity left me wondering if the movie was based on a true story. so I googled my inquiry and it led me to a site called Monsters and Critics. I invite everybody to do the same, for the story behind this movie,Left me overwhelmed with the feeling of internal warmth and inspiration. To Learn that neither Bagger Vance or Captain Rannulph Junuh were real people, but characters and representations of Gods and disciples from a spiritual story meant to bring an ancient Hindu text to life.This movie, it’s story and it’s characters although not obvious while you are watching is meant to leave you with the message of the ultimate level of freedom and personal bliss. And I have to say it did just that to me, which explains my internal feelings which brought me to tears. Thank you for a wonderful story that made my isolation with my cat On this Easter Sunday very special ??

3 years ago

The plot summary of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is deeply flawed. The movie makes clear that years before he benefitted from Bagger Vance’s coaching and encouragement, Rannulph Junnuh was already a talented, successful golfer in this teens who gave up the game after suffering from PTSD as a result of service during during WWI.

1 year ago
Reply to  helenoftru

You lost the beauty of this movie. It;s ashame.