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The Bad News Bears (1976)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Family, Sport  |  7 April 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 15,596 users  
Reviews: 89 user | 38 critic

An aging, down-on-his-luck ex-minor leaguer coaches a team of misfits in an ultra-competitive California little league.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Piazza ...
Bob Whitewood
Ogilvie (as Alfred W. Lutter)
Chris Barnes ...
Erin Blunt ...
Gary Lee Cavagnaro ...
Jaime Escobedo ...
Scott Firestone ...
George Gonzales ...
Brett Marx ...


First of a trilogy of films takes an unflinching look at the underbelly of little league baseball in Southern California. Former minor leaguer Morris Buttermaker is a lazy, beer swilling swimming pool cleaner who takes money to coach the Bears, a bunch of disheveled misfits who have virtually no baseball talent. Realizing his dilemma, Coach Buttermaker brings aboard girl pitching ace Amanda Whurlizer, the daughter of a former girlfriend, and Kelly Leak, a motorcycle punk who happens to be the best player around. Brimming with confidence, the Bears look to sweep into the championship game and avenge an earlier loss to their nemesis, the Yankees. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A classic comedy about growing up! See more »


Comedy | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 April 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La chouette équipe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Glen Glenn Sound)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Coach Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) is getting into his car after leaving Councilman Whitewood's office, there's a sign in the background for a production of "Hello, Dolly!". Matthau played Horace Vandergelder in Hello, Dolly! (1969). See more »


After Kelly Leak's homerun gives the Bears their first win of the season (against the White Sox) the footage of the Bears celebrating at home plate around Kelly shows a Yankee catcher. This footage was actually from the alternate ending which had the Bears winning the final game against the Yankees. See more »


Tanner Boyle: Jews, spics, niggers, and now a girl?
Amanda Whurlitzer: Grab a bat, punk!
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the Paramount logo turns blue, the "Paramount" text extends beyond the dark blue area instead of staying inside the dark blue. See more »


Written by Georges Bizet
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User Reviews

My Childhood!
20 July 2005 | by (Charleston, SC) – See all my reviews

"The Bad News Bears" came out in 1976, the summer that I started playing little league. I know I am not breaking any new ground when I say that this film is a classic, but hopefully I can educate some of the younger viewers and posters as to how realistic this film is, in some ways.

First of all, I believe that anyone who has ever played organized youth sports has had a Tanner Boyle, Timmy Lupus and a Kelly Leek on their teams. This is just how it is, and for better or worse, it is one of the galvanizing factors that make youth leagues etch themselves indelibly into the memories of all those who have participated in them.

Second of all, kids curse. I don't know who the "nay-sayers" out there are, but they should look back into their own memories and try to figure out just when they learned to use the F-word. If you didn't learn it from your parents, you learned it from other kids. Granted, not all of us knew exactly what the words meant at that age, but we still used them. It was a small measure of rebellion at the age of seven.

When Tanner Boyle makes the comment that the team is filled with "niggers, spics, Jews and now a broad," it would be a crass, hateful comment if it had come from an adult. Yet, as a youth, Tanner gets a laugh because we all know that he doesn't really mean it, he is just repeating what he has heard at home -- not to condone what might have been said over the Boyle dinner table. The proof of this is obvious when Tanner "takes on the seventh grade," and makes a valiant attempt to preserve Timmy Lupus' honor before he gets thrown into a garbage can. Regardless of Tanner's racist remarks about the team, and his shunning of Lupus, "Lupus, why don't you sit over there? (abbr.)" he is willing to fight for those same people.

Third, (sorry for the digression), that's what parents are like. It is a truth that goes down through the ages: when it comes to their children, all adults are a-holes. When it comes time to see their children strive to excel at something, they become the obnoxious, bullying, chest-beating sh**s they have warned their children not to be. For the most part it is an extension to the children for what the parents' couldn't be in the first place, e.g. a good shortstop.

And Fourth: Losing. There is something about those pinstripes and even the moniker "Yankees" that make some of us want to do violent things to a couch. Mind you, I am not a native southerner, nor am I a Red Sox fan. I am just a man who can see the fact that pinstripes and the word "Yankees" symbolizes a corporate juggernaut that tries to annihilate the concept of fair play. For the Bears to ultilmately lose to the "Yankees" is just. They got beat. Perhaps it is an irony that this movie came out one year after the last choppers left Saigon, that defeat was in the air, so to speak.

There was still a message to this movie. A message that I have carried throughout my adult life. A message that Churchill had during the Blitz, and Giuliani had in the post 9/11 rubble. Once again, a line from Tanner Boyle: "Hey Yankees, you can take your trophy and shove it up your ass. Just wait until next year!"

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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