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The Bad News Bears
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The Bad News Bears More at IMDbPro »

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51 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Reminder of a freer time...

10/10
Author: shneur from United States
5 May 2005

I was really impressed with how well this movie has "aged." Walter Natthau plays that role of the alcoholic wash-out to perfection, and Tatum O'Neal portrays the struggle of a young girl trying to enter adolescence without losing her sense of "self" with delicacy and skill. It's a good story,with quite a bit serious to say about human nature and the understandings and misunderstandings between generations; it makes me mad that it never received the attention it deserved because it's "just" about kids. On a sadder note, I also couldn't help being impressed with how far this culture has regressed since 1976. The children's use of even mild profanity would never be permitted now in a "family film," and the wonderful scene at the end would certainly send the Thought Police running for their placards and boycotts. It's worth watching this film again just to remind ourselves that only 30 years ago children still enjoyed some autonomous space in which to grow, and the iron doors of the Nanny State had not yet completely swung closed upon them.

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34 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Should be required viewing for anyone who coaches

8/10
Author: bmsopata from Royal Oak, MI
10 May 2003

"Bad News for the Athletics!" This movie should be required viewing for parents and coaches of any sport at any level. It reminds me of what is wrong about youth sports, but at the same time what makes youth sports great. There are many lessons to be learned from this movie. It is sad, but many parents and coaches continue to make the game about themselves and not about the children playing. Bad News Bears shows just how ridiculous that type of attitude regarding youth sports is.

Bad News Bears is the original kids/sports movie without the Disney cliches. There isn't a clear cut bad guy, each coach (Buttermaker and Turner) have there faults and motivation. It is also refreshing that the movie does not have the typical Hollywood ending, but instead one that is fitting for the team sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds.

Bad News Bears is also a great reminder of life in the late 1970s, the uniforms, clothes, cars, etc. Finally, it is an entertaining movie, especially for anyone who has played little league baseball (or any youth sport). It makes me laughs every time I watch it.

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28 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Single Greatest Kids and Sports Movie EVER!

Author: enipuzgma from Southern California
23 September 2003

I know that is an exaggeration, but I truly believe that this movie sets the standard by which all other "kids and sports" movies will be measured.

What it does that is unique is that it keeps the swearing and fighting where it belongs: on the field. This movie does not even try to make anyone look good, for the sake of making them look good. It just shows the kids at their very essence: booger-eating morons, just out to have a good time trying to play baseball.

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23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Cutthroat Little League--in all its sprinkler-system, sun-&-Schlitz-drenched glory

8/10
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
22 June 2005

Scrappy pool-cleaner (and former ballplayer) in Southern California gets talked into coaching Little League to a bunch of no-talent boys. I don't think I've ever seen another movie that captured this bit of Americana so vividly: you can almost smell the freshly-cut grass and the cigar smoke in the air! One of Walter Matthau's many triumphs, and Tatum O'Neal as the pitching ace is also terrific (especially in the dug-out scene where she tries involving Matthau in her life and he cracks, sending her away in tears: "You don't wanna go, fine, no big deal."). The young boys are mostly all wonderful: Alfred Lutter, from "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore", as the nerdy brain; Jackie Earle Haley as the cool kid with shades and motorcycle; Brandon Cruz, from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father", as the pitcher for the enemy-team. The film has some overacting and is occasionally sloppy (with the boom-mike showing, as well as O'Neal's stand-in in a wig), but is otherwise extremely well-written and designed and directed. In 1976, this had kids and adults lining up to see it, so I wouldn't consider the picture a 'sleeper' or an underrated film. It was a big commercial box-office hit and there is an audience for it wherever there's a DVD player and a screen. ***1/2 from ****

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Unsentimentally endearing

10/10
Author: anonymous from Boston, MA
16 July 1999

This is a superb movie. I don't think it will ever become dated--not as long as little league baseball is in existence. I remember first seeing it at a drive-in when I was ten, shortly after my own little league season had finished. Walter Matthau is excellent as Buttermaker, the beer-soaked coach who takes on the unwanted task of coaching a team of misfit kids who were allowed to play in the league only after a civil action law suit was won in their favor. Tatum O'Neal shines as the team's recruited pitcher Amanda, whose mother once dated Buttermaker. A touching subplot involves the relationship between Amanda and Buttermaker which turns from distant to warm as the final game approaches. Vic Morrow gives a frighteningly good performance as the out-to-win-no-matter-what coach of the opposing team who was never happy with the fact that the Bears were allowed to play in the first place. Joyce Van Patten is also good as the butch, outspoken league supervisor.

It's the kid players that really give this movie the edge. All performances are top-notch, and director Michael Ritchie splendidly keeps the focus mostly on them and their feelings about the whole ordeal. Stand-outs include Jackie Earl Haley as the heroic Kelly Leak and Chris Barnes as shortstop Tanner Boyle. This film should be a warning to relentless adults who try to achieve stardom on the backs of their children, be it on the baseball field or on the ballet floor.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Lupus is Da Man.

10/10
Author: anonymous
5 November 1998

Hilarious film with a darker side that sometimes pokes through, especially in its serious moments. This is classic Walter Matthau, and classic Jackie Earle Haley, too! (Love that air hockey scene!) It reminds me of my childhood, and not many movies do. I can watch this film a dozen times and never get tired of it.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

My Childhood!

Author: jbr1039 from Charleston, SC
20 July 2005

"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!"

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A great American film

10/10
Author: fuldamobil from L.A.
12 February 2002

I'm surprised this film is not higher rated. This is a great film about America and certainly one of the great comedies. Walter Matthau was born for this role. The kids are impeccably cast. Hilarious, moving and inspirational.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Who better to leave your children's care than in the hands of an alcoholic?

9/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
6 December 2006

LOL, I know I stole that line from I love the 70's, but I just thought it was so true and that was my exact thought from the first minute I started watching The Bad News Bears. Now to the movie, The Bad News Bears is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time, I almost died laughing throughout the whole movie. I obviously heard about this movie from the show I love the 70's on VH1, way before the remake with Billy Bob Thorton. It always slipped my mind though when I wanted to rent it, but finally I remembered and I am so glad that I got the chance to see it, because this is one of the best comedies to come out of the 70's.

Buttermaker is a has been baseball player and now an alcoholic, he is given the job of a little league coach for the Bears since no other fathers are taking the job. But he's definitely taken back when he finds out that the team he is coaching are kids who are, well, I guess you could say "lacking" in the department of knowing how to play baseball. But he just wants to get paid and get the job over with, but when their first game comes along, the kids get creamed 26-0, Buttermaker is pressured to drop the team out of the league, but instead teaches the kids how to play and recruits a couple of new kids, a girl who's mother he used to date, and a rebel without a cause. The kids get better in each game, but it's a matter of Buttermaker getting his priorities straight when he lets the game get the worst of him... and he's an alcoholic!

The Bad News Bears is just so funny, Walter Matthau was just too perfect for this role as Buttermaker, he was so believable. I think my favorite Bear was Tanner, because the role could have been over done, but the kid did it just right, not to mention his last line of the film is just classic and fit the movie just right. I loved how the film wasn't your traditional your favorite team is always going to be out of no where champions, this was an awesome comedy that anyone would just fall in love with.

9/10

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Underrated 1970's comedy classic

Author: jimu63 from San Diego, CA
21 July 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS!! Any list of the top ten films from 1976 should include "The Bad News Bears," but most probably don't, since this film was, and remains, an underrated classic. I can't say enough about how much I love and appreciate this film, and it remains fresh and vital nearly 27 years later.

Walter Matthau is Morris Buttermaker, a washed-up minor league pitcher turned alcoholic San Fernando Valley pool cleaner. He's hired by a client, Councilman Whitewood (Ben Piazza) to coach a pathetic baseball team called the Bears, made up of pre-teen Little League rejects. This doesn't sit well with Roy Turner (Vic Morrow), unofficial head of the League and hard-case coach of the best team, the Yankees. He's p.o.'d because Whitewood sued to have the boys accepted into the league instead of letting them play in less competitive leagues in the Valley. His contempt is shared by his assistant Cleveland (Joyce Van Patten), an undecidedly nasty piece of work. Buttermaker, however, couldn't care less since he only agreed to coach after Whitewood agreed to pay him, since noone else would do it. And it's no wonder: this is the most pathetic group of losers you'd ever imagine--all of them the type of kids that would be picked last in any P.E. class. (I say this affectionately since I was the type myself.) There's fat Engelberg, the emotionally unstable catcher; Ogilvie (Alfred Lutter), the brain and expert on baseball stats; Whitewood's amiable son Toby; the token African-American Ahmad Abdul-Raheem (Erin Blunt), a Hank Aaron wannabe; Jewish pitcher Rudy Stein, who couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat; the Mexican Aguilar brothers, who don't speak English; Regi Tower, an average kid with a typically overbearing Little League father; curly-topped Jimmy Feldman; and most famously Tanner Boyle (the terrific Chris Barnes), a foul-mouthed, hot-tempered and fist-happy runt and his nemesis Timmy Lupus, a shy, quiet back-of-the-class type who Tanner berates in the film's most famous line of dialog as a "booger-eating moron."

The plot proceeds according to form: the teams stinks, they fight, they lose their first game in embarassing fashion, all the while Buttermaker drinks himself into a stupor and barely notices. But after seeing the kids humiliated--and being insulted himself one-to-many times by the apallingly arrogant Turner--he decides to get serious and pulls a couple of secret weapons out of his hat: his former girlfriend's eleven-year-old spitball-throwing daughter (Tatum O'Neill) and the town juvenile delinquent Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), a chain-smoking, skirt-chasing, motorcycle-riding hellion who is a seriously talented ballplayer no one else wants because of his attitude. And to everyone's amazement, they manage to turn the whole league upside down.

There are many things to like about this film but I'll start first and foremost with the script, which was written by Burt Lancaster's son Bill Lancaster. This script should be taught in every screenwriting class on how to write for the screen. There is not a single wasted line of dialog, wasted scene or wasted moment in the entire film. Every line of dialog advances either the plot or character development, every scene is necessary and runs exactly the right length. And it is absolutely astonishing that in merely 102 minutes, the film deals with 18 major characters (13 team members, Buttermaker, Turner, Cleveland, Whitewood and Turner's little jerk of a son Joey) and gives every one of them a moment to shine and a distinct personality while not straying from it's central theme of the importance of teamwork and perserverance. And the entire film takes place on or around the ballfield, the exceptions being when Buttermaker visits Amanda and takes the team along on some pool-cleaning jobs. And the film is refreshingly unsentimental. When the story starts the kids dislike Matthau and he dislikes them. At the end, they still aren't wild about each other, but they have developed mutual respect. Buttermaker's relationship with Amanda is also something to behold--he refuses to admit how much he cares about the kid even when she practically begs him to. In one particularly memorable scene he actually throws a beer at her; I'd have to say anyone who doesn't think Tatum O'Neal can act should watch this scene and they'll know she's capable of better than she's given over the years.

Michael Ritchie's direction is also something special and probably as responsible for the tight construction of the film as Lancaster's script. Not once does he let the action get out of control and he coaxes good performances out of all the kids, especially Haley, Lutter and Barnes. Matthau is terrific, but then Matthau is always terrific. Morrow is also perfect as Turner, especially in an astonishing scene when he confronts his son about an "inside pitch." And the ending is perfect, and ironically similar to that of 1976's other crowd-pleasing sports movie, Best Picture Oscar-winner "Rocky."

In 1976 the main source of appeal of the film was the four-letter words spouted by the kids, which was something we hadn't seen before in an era of squeaky-clean Disney family films. And while some of the lines are hilarious, they are also the weak part of the film. It's believable that kids would talk this way, especially around someone like Buttermaker, but not during a Little League game, especially the championship game where they threaten each other with bats, kick each other in the groin, give each other the finger, etc. It's just not believable. Also, as another poster wrote earlier, "ringers" aren't allowed so Amanda probably would be ineligible to play. But these are minor quibbles. "The Bad News Bears" is a winner, and in spite of the "family film" reputation it has because of it's bowdlerized TV version, it is actually for teens and up. In other words, it earns its PG rating.

I have one rant: Once again, Paramount video has let DVD viewers down. The current DVD consists of absolutely no extras of any kind. No documentaries, no commentaries, no trailers, no nothing. I realize Ritchie, Lancaster, Matthau, Morrow and Piazza are no longer living and therefore a commentary track might not have been as informative as we would have liked, but producer Jaffe, Joyce "Cleveland" Van Patten, O'Neal, Haley, Cruz and the rest of the kids are still alive, so a commentary track would still have been possible. Also, a "where are they now" documentary on the kids and their experiences making the film would be informative and fun. So, how about it, Paramount? Why don't you stop being the bargain basement, stingy DVD outfit that you are and start taking your job as film restorers and historians seriously and give classics like this the DVD treatment it deserves. (See Disney's Vault Classics for instruction on how it should be done.) Thanks for nothing. ****1/2 (out of *****)

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