Slap Shot (1977) Poster

(1977)

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Hilarious, oddly influential dark sports comedy
ggh627 July 2001
Mostly hated by critics on its release, as much for its cynical viewpoint as its relentless profanity, "Slap Shot" has since become something of a cult classic.

Set in the low-rent world of minor-league hockey, the movie follows the efforts of player-coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) to turn around the Charlestown Chiefs' final, losing season in a dying Pennsylvania steel town. Reggie is not above using a dirty trick or two to manipulate his teammates or psych out opposing players, and cheerfully gets physical when he has to. Even Reggie recoils in disgust, however, when his tightwad manager (Strother Martin) brings in the Hanson Brothers, three thick-lensed, thicker-headed goons who are more interested in fighting than playing Reggie's brand of "old-time hockey".

When it becomes apparent that the hometown crowd loves the Hanson's rough and bloody style, Reggie decides to go with the flow, and to fire up his other players concocts the story that, if they can win the championship, the owner will be able to sell the franchise to a group of rich retirees in Florida. To do that, though, they will have to get past an opposing squad specially stocked with the league's most notorious goons...

A sometimes uneasy blend of slapstick and kitchen-sink realism , "Slap Shot" has some pertinent things to say about the American worship of success at all costs, and (long before the rise of the WWF) our fascination with violent sports. Echos of its gritty style can be seen not only in many later sporting films, such as "Bull Durham" and "Major League", but even in the wave of British movies in which characters fight to hold onto their lives after the collapse of hometown industry, such as "The Full Monty" and "Brassed Off".

The film really shines as a straight comedy, though, delivering some classic characters and set pieces: virtually every appearance of the Hansons; a clueless, toupee-wearing sportscaster (Andrew Duncan); the team's tiny Quebecker goalie (Yvon Barrette), and Newman himself, in one of his personal favorite roles. The females fare less well, although Jennifer Warren stands out as Dunlop's long-suffering, estranged wife.

Note: in the VHS version, the background music has been replaced by an inferior, generic soundtrack. The DVD version, with the original music, is preferable.
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10/10
Old-time hockey at its finest!!
adamshame25 January 2000
I remember the first time I saw SLAP SHOT; I laughed so hard that I thought I was going to puke. The best thing about this movie is that all the banter between the players, the attitudes, and the jokes are ALL TRUE! I worked in the locker rooms for a minor-league hockey team and I saw every character in this movie: the aging veterans, the eccentric goalie, the lazy pretty-boy, the young players looking for a chance, etc. It is so true to life and accurate, moreso than any other sports related movie out there. And having all the actors do their own skating is a big plus also. I really can't find a fault with this flick.

And for my most favorite part of the movie? No question it is Moe Wanchuck! I have yet to find a character in any movie that everytime he open's his mouth, I go into hysterics. Along with Chunk from THE GOONIES and The Dude from THE BIG LEBOWSKI, Moe is up there towards the top of my list of favorite characters in any movie I have ever seen.

You know you have a classic film when the topic of SLAP SHOT comes up with your friends, or even people you have just met, and you spend hours reciting all your favorite quotes, trying to out-do each other. Do yourself a favor and see this movie so you can be part of the fun!
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10/10
The Movie That Started It All
alexkolokotronis20 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
When you look back at all the outrageous sports comedies this is probably one of the first. It has set a new standard for comedy across many movies. With Paul Newman in here he kind of gives this movie a soul. Maybe not a great one, still something is in here. Lately there have been many sports comedies such as Dodgeball, Balls of Fury and many of Will Ferrell's movies. Yet none of them, except maybe Dodgeball have reached the originality and such witty lines from Slap Shot. I think this movie really has something more to it than just the comedy. It actually displays the faults in hockey and professional sports in general. It really shows that to many owners that the idea of having a team is like a cool new toy. All kids eventually get bored with toys and give them away or just throw them in the trash. This is exactly what we see in Slap Shot with the owner, she just plays with all their lives and can just make them a simple tax write-off. It also shows the desperation of the players. Paul Newman talks about going out with style about as soon as hears scout are at the game he quickly goes back to the team's brutal and dirty tactics (This made out to be a hilarious scene). The difference between this and other sports comedies is that it actually has a lot of realistic situations ( THough sometimes exaggerated). I would definitely recommend this.
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10/10
Toe Blake, Dit Clapper, Eddie Shore & None O' That Stinkin' Root Beer
animal_8_512 April 2005
Every hockey fan I've ever met, no matter how pedestrian, identifies with this profane, but prophetic 1977 cult classic. SLAP SHOT perfectly nailed the circus we know of as the now-defunct Johnstown Jets: a former farm team of the World Hockey Association's Minnesota Fighting Saints. Real life is truly stranger than fiction, but SLAP SHOT seems to combine the best of all worlds.

As legend goes, screenwriter Nancy Dowd got the brainstorm of doing a documentary on minor-league hockey, spending a few months in Johnstown, PA with her brother Ned Dowd. Ned, who was working his way up with the Jets from the U.S. college ranks, toward the WHA Minnesota Fighting Saints, was Nancy's inspiration for Michael Ontkean's Ned Braedon character.

Nancy, whose 1979 screenplay for "Coming Home" would cop her an Oscar, was like a fly on the wall when all of these bizarre events began to play out before her eyes. She managed to capture "the spirit of the thing" and compose what is surely one of the most spectacular sports film plays in the history of cinema.

As the storyline in SLAP SHOT was true to life, names had to be juxtaposed to protect the innocent. The Johnstown Jets became the Charlestown Chiefs. Real-life Minnesota hockey-playing siblings, the Carlsons became the Hansons. Real-life player "Killer" Hanson, inspired the "Killer" Carlson character. Brophy, the tipsy captain of the Hyannisport Presidents was so-named for juxtaposing with the Reggie Dunlop character, allegedly patterned after a career minor-league player named John Brophy, who went on to coach the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs.

Everyone who lived in the seventies reported sightings of one incarnation or another of toupee-wearing sportscaster Jim Carr. And when it comes to sports-writing, Reggie Dunlop said it best: "If Dickie Dunn wrote this, it MUST be true!" Some of the classic character names in this film must be honored also: Barclay Donaldson, Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken, Andre "Poodle" Lucier, "Ogie" Oglethorpe, Ross "Mad Dog" Madison, Clarence "Screaming Buffalo" Swamptown and Gilmore Tuttle.

With all the other strokes of brilliance and genius SLAP SHOT has become famous for, we cannot forget the contribution of the star Paul Newman, who is believable and sympathetic as washed-up Chiefs player-coach Reggie Dunlop.

Minnesota native, the late George Roy Hill, who also directed "The Sting" and "Slaughterhouse Five," could arguably claim SLAP SHOT as the master stroke in his illustrious career.

Miraculously, several stars of SLAP SHOT would go on to make other hockey movies: Yvon Ponton starred in the French-Canadian TV series "He Shoots He Scores" and the "Les Boys" film series; Paul D'Amato starred in "The Deadliest Season"; Jerry Hauser appeared in "Miracle On Ice."
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Raunchy, Rowdy, Profane, and Sidesplitting!!
G-Man-2523 June 1999
This one belongs on the list of the greatest sports comedies ever made. The humor (and the language) is some of the saltiest you'll hear in a movie but it doesn't seem excessive at all. This tale of a minor-league hockey team having one last go at greatness is boisterous and bruisingly funny, even if you don't care for the sport itself. As the aging captain of the team who's constantly amazed at the crazy happenings around him , Newman is at his roguish, charming best. Rent it with "The Longest Yard" for a perfect double-bill. A four-star **** classic.
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10/10
Like a @#$% time machine back to the 70s
defdewd11 March 2006
I grew up in south 'jersey when the Flyers were still the Broad Street Bullies and all lived on our side of the Walt Whitman Bridge. They had handlebar mustaches. Many spoke with thick French-Canadian accents and wore wide ties, jackets with lapels you could park a truck on, and more than the occasional leisure suit. Many were just kids when they were pulled from the farmlands of the North and found themselves in the middle of suburbia by day, and at night, playing "Old-time hockey" while the chanting and organ music echoed to the rafters. Now whether you played pro hockey like they did, or were on the semi-pro Johnstown Jets that inspired the crew here, there seems to be a prototype player who played a certain style of game for the rest of us to watch. Sadly, that era is long gone. Marketers and big business have left the game in smoldering ruins. But we still have Slapshot. It perfectly captures what the game used to be and the guys who used to play it. Paul Newman is incredible as Reggie Dunlop, the aging player-coach who seems to be the last guy to figure out his team is on the verge of folding. The fictional town has hit the skids so that means no more hockey team. But instead of going out with a whimper, Dunlop has a scheme to get his crappy team back in the standings and the fans in the stands. And as the plot develops there's locker-room talk that would make even today's teenagers shut up and take notes. Nancy Dowd's story, which she wrote after seeing her brother Ned play in the minors during his career (and parody in the movie as Ogie Oglethorpe) translates into a total classic. The raw banter between Newman and his GM, between the players -- literally all through the movie -- makes for the most quotable flick I know...but I have to be so careful where I can recite my favorites. One such place was out on the fishing boat of a hall-of-famer from the old Flyers. (It's rumored one of the characters in the movie was modeled directly from HIM.) Slapshot brought even this guy to his knees with hysterics. Just rehashing a few quotes from the movie triggered his REAL stories of his own team that won the Cup two years in a row, and then never again since. That's how well the movie tells the story of hockey. There's a lot of social commentary here, too, if you are into such a thing. Lots on relationships, male bonding, machismo and the like. Some of the subplots take the story off the ice for too long, and the movie tends to drag in spots, admittedly. But when play is on, the brutal scenes reach such a sublime level of violence all you can do is gape and laugh in astonishment. The players here have all become like Reggie himself: They don't seem to notice that they've gone too far and they are creating a goonathon just to fill arenas. Meanwhile, those with real talent get benched right along with the national anthem. It's pretty clear -- both on the screen and during the times when the movie was being made -- that Old Time Hockey was on its way out. But it didn't go with a whimper, either, and at least Slapshot was there to give it a send-off to remember.
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10/10
Pure Comedy from start to finish
Anyanwu13 June 2000
C'mon, this is pure comedy. No breaks, no lull parts just funny all the way through with the appropriate cheesy 70's soundtrack. This movie not being in AFI's top 100 comedy films is a travesty. If they want a period piece this was it. They sighted Fast Times, it just stands to reason that Slap Shot should fall into the listing. The Hanson's deserve special consideration. The casting is perfect
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An A-1 hockey movie.. A must rent!
jake-8726 September 1999
I have played goal for 32 years.. On many of the men's rec teams I STILL hear someone say: "How about it tonight, guys? Old time hockey?" and everyone yells : "Pi** on old time hockey!!!" then "Eddie Shore???": "Pi** on Eddie Shore!!!" It still gets a laugh in the locker room!

The goalie being allergic to the fans is a quote from my favorite pro goaltender: the late Jacques Palante.. He was allergic, he said, to the Toronto Fans.. and would often sit the bench.

You can tell the actors are having fun making this movie.. it comes thru loud and clear!

Another locker room favorite that has survived is when you ask another player getting dressed what he is doing.. He might just answer: "Puttin' on the foil, want some???"

I've even been told on occasion that my wife is a lesbian as a joke! She ain't but I often react with mock anger and dash out of the net.

After a bad game where my defense let me down I told our coach in the locker room : " Trade me right fu***** now!!" (and the player to my right said "Now hang up")

A movie that survives this long after release is is is .... A CLASSIC!!
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7/10
Gonzo Hockey
bkoganbing18 December 2005
One of the knocks that has always been given to Paul Newman was that he was not right for comedy. When you're talking about stuff like A New Kind of Love or Rally Round the Flag Boys that's probably true. But Slapshot shows that what Paul Newman needed to be good for comedy was something not quite so sophisticated.

Slapshot ain't Oscar Wilde, but it's not quite to the level of the Police Academy movies. It's just right for Paul Newman as the veteran player/coach with a team of misfits from one of hockey's minor leagues who's forever looking for a break from the majors.

The Charlestown Chiefs who seem to be the hockey equivalent of the New York Mets are having a perennial losing season. The town itself is one flush away from despondency with a mill that was the main employer in the town shutting down. That means the paltry attendance the Chiefs already have will diminish more. It's an uncertain future.

So with nothing to lose, Newman's boys turn the sport into a hockey facsimile of the World Wrestling Federation. In no other sport are fights among the players so accepted. But Newman ratchets it up to an exponential level.

And his team actually starts to win and the Charlestown Chiefs become a gate attraction.

There's a lot more to the resolution of the team's problems, but that championship game is unforgettable.

All Hail the Brothers Hanson.
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My favorite sports movie
Boyo-216 September 1999
I liked this movie when I first saw it over twenty years ago, and its still great! The swinging 70's get perfectly captured, by the music, hair styles and especially the awful clothes. All the actors do their own skating, so you aren't distracted looking for body doubles the entire movie. The screenplay is priceless and if anyone thinks its sexist - a woman wrote this movie! This is the only hockey movie worth anything - hopefully "Mystery, Alaska" can join it.
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The ultimate hockey film, a resounding success as both drama and comedy
ametaphysicalshark13 June 2009
Despite a dismissive response from critics on release, "Slap Shot" has become THE hockey film everyone knows and loves, and it's easy to see why. It's also easy to understand its initial reception. The film is perhaps excessively profane, it doesn't really seem so today but taken in the context of the time one could easily see it as straining for shock value. Paul Newman's least classy role for sure, and George Roy Hill had made some big movies before this one.

Of course there are still plenty of people who accuse this of being vulgar, crass, cartoony trash. The comedy is, sure. But it's also good at being what it is in that regard. Kevin Smith is making a hockey movie about the goon era of hockey based on the Warren Zevon song "Hit Somebody!". If that isn't a rehash of "Slap Shot" I'll eat my hat. The humor is pretty much exactly Smith's style. I expect far more sentimentality from him than "Slap Shot" offers, though. Still, it's GOOD lowbrow humor, with the occasional clever bit that keeps it afloat. Incredibly sharp, memorable dialogue as well.

But what really sets "Slap Shot" apart from most sports flicks to me isn't the comedy, it's the drama. The characters are convincingly-drawn, even the ones which exist purely for comic relief. Nancy Dowd was a good writer and George Roy Hill was a great director. Together they found a perfect balance. Sure, you can watch this movie and laugh and get wasted with your buddies after a hockey game one night, but there's so much more to it. I find it works remarkably well as an examination of the society and community which the sport creates, and which lives around it. The portrayal of marital strife and a town in the midst of economic meltdown is tremendously affecting, the character's relationships and Reggie's story being the film's greatest achievement.

It's also a great examination of hockey, a sophisticated debate over what hockey is or should be. A recent survey found 99.5% of NHL players were in favor of keeping fighting in the game, but that's to the extent that it exists today. How many would want the goon era back? There are still people who 'watch hockey for the fights', "Slap Shot" seems to acknowledge that the goon era reduced hockey to nothing more than a freakshow. The WWE on ice. Don't get me wrong, I'll jump out of my seat with the rest of the crowd if a fight breaks out, but never have cared for hockey as played during the 70's in the US, with violence as the main attraction. The movie does away with the verbal arguments about the nobility of the sport for a comic finale, but even that makes its point quite clear. The very last scene of the film, the ambiguous ending, is even greater.

Great director, great cast, great writing. That's the recipe for a great movie. "Slap Shot" most certainly is one. Gene Siskel's biggest regret as a film critic was giving this a mediocre review on release, as he came to absolutely adore the film on repeat viewings. I think it's easy to mistake this for just another sports comedy, but there's so much more to it, and if you can't see that... well, I feel sorry for you, but to each their own.
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10/10
if you cant beat em, beat ON em *spoilers perhaps*
Jonathan22 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Slap Shot is truly the greatest sports film of all time. It took a serious issue, such as violence in hockey and showed exactly what it did to the sport. With subtle humor, it shows that violence in hockey has made a mockery of the sport. At the same time, a clever story which also includes a sports issue that is rising to importance in current society is included. Owners versus players. Another serious issue is the fact that Charlestown (think Charleston West Virginia) is dying, as the region has been in real life.

All the subtle humor (Ned the gambling winner, homophobia, drunkeness, hockey wives missing husbands, the Canadians totally out of place, strange promotions, the ignorant stupid sportswriter, and the oblivious sports commentator) blended with the physical humor (the hansons flipping over the hotel guy, the 70s styles, hockey puck to the head of the organist, mooning the chiefs protestors). Its a perfect blend of hilarity and yet a perspective on life as it is. I own the movie (and have a poster with the Hansons on it) and I have seen it a million times and I havent found a better sports movie out there. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. 10/10
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9/10
A hilariously raucous and raunchy sports comedy treat
Woodyanders11 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This wonderfully wild, riotous, raucous and raunchy humdinger about the blithely amoral do whatever you gotta do in order to win hyper-masculine sports mentality was an undeserved box office bomb when it was first released in '77, but has since rightly amassed a sizable cult following which considers the film to be one of the best, funniest, most gleefully rough'n'rowdy sports comedies ever made.

The Charleston Chiefs are a strictly mediocre hockey team who invariably lose one game after another. Audience interest in the Chiefs is rapidly dwindling and their no-account, conniving cheapskate owner Joe McGrath (an excellent, uproarious comic turn by the late, great Strother Martin) informs them that their current season will also be their last one. Paul Newman gives one of his finest, most enjoyably down'n'dirty performances to date as Reggie Dunlop, an aging, womanizing, chronically infantile veteran player/coach who leads the team on a sudden winning streak by inciting his crude, childish, insecure fellow players to use every last petty, loathsome, audience pleasing illegal trick in the book when playing against rival teams. Pretty soon the Chiefs are back on track and on their way to a big championship game with Reggie's formally sagging career on the up and up.

Directed in a terrifically adroit and punchy fashion by George Roy Hill, who makes the most of Nancy Dowd's coarse, astute, smack dead on the money barbed script, edited with fluid swiftness by Dede Allen and shot with tremendous invigorating élan by Victor Kemplar (the bang-up all-out hockey games seriously smoke), this boisterous and often sidesplitting dilly offers a marvelously pointed and frequently hilarious critique of the puerile, silly and actually quite pathetic overgrown kid mentality evident in both the fiercely competitive athletic macho guy mentality and cheerfully dumb, maturity be damned bull-headed machismo in general. However, despite the picture's acrid edge, the Chiefs still manage to be a nice, charming bunch of idiosyncratic manly man bozos; my favorite moment is when our jock heroes occasionally make a few raw, angry comments about a soap opera they're all watching together in a bar! Moreover, the cast is uniformly first-rate: Michael Ontkean as a touchy college grad who disapproves of Newman's boorish tactics, Lindsay Crouse as Ontkean's fiery, irascible, dissatisfied wife, Jennifer Warren as Newman's patient, neglected wife, Melinda Dillon as the flighty Suzanne, who's one of Newman's many sexual conquests; Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and David Hanson as the moronic, barbaric, bespectacled Hanson Brothers (watching these geeky maniacs pulverize the opposing teams with their ferocious anything-goes tactics is an amazing gut-busting sight to behold), M. Emmet Walsh as local sports journalist Dickie Dunn, Swoosie Kurtz as one of the player's chatty, catty wives, Andrew Duncan as smarmy, motor-mouthed hometown sports announcer Jim Carr, and Paul Dooley as a rival team's hometown emcee are all fantastic. Ontkean's climactic striptease on the ice rink is a definite comic highlight. Brash, profane and hysterically unruly, "Slap Shot" overall rates as an absolute hoot and a half.
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9/10
Really funny
dbborroughs29 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Foul mouthed (this was one of the first films ever rated R for the language alone) comedy that has held up beautifully over the years. The story concerns The Charlestown Chiefs a minor league hockey team thats on the way out. The coach, played by Paul Newman doesn't want it to happen and so he takes matters into his own hands in order to assure that the team's attendance goes up and they have a shot of playing on. There's much more going, I've forgotten to mention the infamous Hansen brothers, three guys who a few short of a dozen but can fight and play hockey like nobody's business. A hysterical adult comedy, this is also one of the great sport films of all time. The film works, and has held up over the past 30 years, because the film is ultimately not so much about the jokes or the hockey, but about the characters and for the most part you'll like everyone of them. This is a wonderful movie. Just keep it away from the kids if you don't want them to pick up some very colorful language.
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8/10
Funny, cynical and irreverent.
Spikeopath27 September 2008
Paul Newman is the coach of third rate failing minor league hockey team, The Charlestown Chiefs. The town is hit hard by unemployment and this appears to be the Chiefs' last season, however, if the coach can whip up the team up into a winning frenzy, then the unknown owner might just find a buyer and save all their carers? The management bring in three odd looking brothers who, once unleashed, take the whole team on a blood thirsty winning streak right to the championship final. The crowds flock in thirsting for more blood, but then the problems start to arise.

Slap Shot is a tremendously funny film, it's also incredibly violent and often vulgar in dialogue, but be sure to know that both things go hand in hand here (or should it be glove in glove?) to create one of the smartest sports pictures in the modern age. The hockey sequences are excellent (especially to a non fan like me), and the script bristles with course and biting humour. Slap Shot on its initial release was frowned upon by many critics, it was considered too profane and overly harsh with the win at all costs theme driving it forward. However, it's now rightly embraced as the smart and intelligent piece that director George Roy Hill wanted it to be seen as. A new generation of movie fans have started to seek it out and its reputation and fan base grows ever more larger by the year.

Newman was a bona fide star, his hair silver grey but his good looks still firmly intact, his performance has a grace about it that oddly sits nicely amongst this cynical stab at professional hockey; even if his characters' clothes are, in truth, icky. It would be a big disservice if I didn't mention the impact of the Hanson Brothers, surely one of the finest combinations to have ever graced a sports movie? They are at once unassumingly likable, the next gleefully violent, they are the glue that binds the whole picture together. Film is filled out with sparkling support work from the likes of Strother Martin, Michael Ontkean, Jennifer Warren, Lindsay Crouse and Jerry Houser.

Not long after originally writing this review, the legend that was Paul Newman sadly passed away, he left behind a movie legacy that few can touch, and trust me, this is one of them. A sports movie that never gets old and continues to pay off on repeat viewings. 8.5/10
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8/10
Old Time Hockey Movie.
Son_of_Mansfield17 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Hockey is the only sport where you beat the crap out of and curse each other for seven games in a playoff series and then line up at center ice to shake your opponents hand, while telling them how much fun it was to play with such gentlemen. This movie is about that time in hockey, old time hockey, when bloody fighting was a necessity. It's a comedy. Look no further than Paul Newman's stylish duds to solidify that statement. Yellow leather? It is also crass, crude, and bloody. It is hard to pinpoint who will like this movie. It ranks number 31 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Greatest Cult Movies, so it will surprise you for better or worse. I had to watch it twice. I was a little dejected by the fact that the on ice striptease was performed by a man, but the payoff, that it was fine family fun when they were fighting and disgusting when the stripping began, is a great jab at the sex and violence debate. It's also just damn funny, especially when the band kicks in, playing that old stripper anthem. Da da da, da da da da da. Da, dun dun, da da, dun dun, da da, dun dun.

Reggie(Taunting a goalie): "Your wife is a lesbian! A lesbian!!"
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10/10
As funny as it gets
RNMorton22 October 1999
Minor league hockey team discovers that brawls and dirty play attract more fans than goals. Tables are turned when championship-game opponents respond in spades. Wonderful, free-spirited performance by Newman as team's player-coach. Lindsay Crouse is also fine as confused wife of star player Ontkean, who has his own unique response to the bloodshed. You have to watch this just to see the Hanson Brothers in action. Message of movie has been lost on current-day NHL.
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8/10
Old Time Hockey, like Eddie Shore
the_mad_mckenna3 January 2004
I remember when Slap Shot came out; all my friends saw it and said it was great, but mom wouldnt let me see it due to the amount of profanity and other unsavory parts of the film.

So, I had to wait until I was much older to see it, some 20 years after release. What strikes me first about the film is how how low budget it looks - very much in keeping with team and the town it is set in. Its the gloomy 1970's in factory town, and like in a Bruce Springsteen song, the factory is closing down, with rumors of the team moving to Florida. Newman's own (ha) character, Reg Dunlop, is too old to be playing but doesn't have a great record to make him a desirable coaching candidate. So, changes are made...

It's a fun movie, but also very much about the human condition - limited success in life, bad relationships, bad choices. Throw in the Hanson Brothers, a nutty Quebecois Goalie, a profane pervert and a college boy and you have a colorful cast of characters.

Oh, and if you think the violence is a bit overrated, a couple of years ago I was treated to a minor league hockey brawl in Jacksonville, Florida where the Orlando Defenseman actually BIT a Jacksonville player and was suspended for 5 games.
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Enjoyable romp
Big Neil-220 July 2002
In Slap Shot, a hockey club hires a trio of thugs to beef up its mediocre hockey team.

Fresh and unexpected, this is one of the best of Paul Newman's mid-period movies (also note "The Drowning Pool"). Set vaguely in Canada or upstate New York, the picture loses steam in the second half and gets bogged down in soap opera; but the memorable first match appearance by the Hanson Brothers--the aforementioned thugs--is a magical movie moment, not to be missed.

"Slap" takes the time to investigate an array of pro sports themes: sadistic player violence; boorish sexuality; fan behavior; fan loyalty to athletes and vice-versa (or total absence thereof); the bloodless, detached world of athletic club ownership. But the film is better than the snide satire it has been portrayed to be, and in its own manic way, it conveys much of the joy of sports.
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9/10
A gem of a movie
gga6 April 2000
A Canadian friend of mine recommended me this movie as one of his favorite comedies. Since he loves hockey, I did not give it much thought. But, eventually, I rented it.

It stunned me. This is a movie that is just too smart for its own good. A fabulous script that any studio nowadays would reject. This is a film that an be read on so many levels. A jewel of American film that has been disregarded by critics and audiences. By the reviews here, it seems even hose who love it might not have seen how deep this movie goes.

This is a movie that is in the comedy genre, but just as with Chaplin's films, it switches back and forth to drama, too. And just as with The Great Dictator, there's a huge irony and social criticism behind it.

On the surface, it is a comedy about a small losing hockey team and how they turn their luck by the use of violence. With this new tactic, they end up attracting fans, critics and disorienting rivals as the team rises to the top. The characterizations are vivid. Paul Newman's character is given a true motivation behind his antics: to win back his wife, who is about to divorce him. This is all standard Hollywood stuff, but still is some of the best. The scenes are terribly realistic, the dialog is never direct but subtle, and the comedy, except for the fights in the ice, is never played for laughs. There's excellent slapstick humor, but there's also some great lines that fans of the movie will probably repeat forever. The main characters are so real that it feels you can touch them. Paul Newman's role is a complex one and this is one of his best performances I've seen from him, with many facets. Both manipulative, romantic, womanizer, workaholic, leader and father figure. And the other characters share also that complexity: the other players, his wife and the wives of others, the team manager/agent, etc.

But... this is just the surface. Sure, violence in the NHL may not be such a hot topic now that new rules have been put in place and sanctions have become more severe.

But it is the secondary themes that really earn this movie my respect. It is in these areas that it has aged so well. In some aspects, it is even more important today than when it was made. The isolation of the wives of the players, enduring cheating and struggling with drinking and divorce. A real reflection of the dark side of our society then and now -- an analogy of the struggle between work and family, between professional and personal success. There's a good punch aimed at the sports media, another topic that could not be hotter in a time where basketball, football and even golf players are quickly turned into movie stars.

Watch this movie once. Watch it twice. Watch it several times. It will keep getting better each time.
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9/10
Its raunchy, its funny....and maybe the best sports comedy ever!
barrwell28 October 2010
If you like offbeat sports comedies like 'The Longest Yard' or 'Bull Durham', or if you like the irreverent realism of a movie like 'Mash' and haven't seen Slapshot...you are in for a real treat. Although the aforementioned titles still pop up on TV periodically, and I even caught the similarly gritty, rowdy cult classic 'North Dallas Forty' on a premium movie station recently, unfortunately Slapshot seems to have disappeared from cable TV. Like many of the other forgotten classics from the 70s (the greatest American movie decade ever), Slapshot, which contains so many great lines and satirical scenes, should go on the need-to-rent list.

Paul Newman plays Reggie Dunlop, the aging player/coach of a third-rate minor league hockey team the Charlestown Chiefs. Reggie has been chewed up and spit out by life and as the film starts, his team of misfits is losing on a regular basis. Attendance is down and the news comes out that the local mill is closing and this is going to kill ticket sales. Reggie sees his playing career (as well as his marriage) is about over and figures the only hope is that the team can get sold and relocated. This is going to require a winning streak and it just so happens the chiefs general manager Joe McGrath (the incomparable character actor Strother Martin) has just finagled a deal for three near-adolescent, coke-bottle glasses wearing brothers name Hanson.

In one locker room scene one of the veteran players ask the Hansons what they are doing as they wrap their hands, one of the Hansons answers "putting on the foil". At this point Reggie is appalled and swears these guys will never leave the bench. Its funny to watch all the players reaction to the Hansons and when Reggie finally gets desperate enough to put the Hansons in a game -thats when the fun really begins. To say the Hansons are dirty players is an understatement, and that initial scene where they hit the ice is hilarious.

So Reggie suddenly changes his tune and decides the chiefs will become the dirtiest, rowdiest team in the league. Before long they are on a winning streak and rumors start floating around about the team being sold to some buyers in Florida. One of the great, cynical scenes in the film is when Reggie finally meets the teams female owner (Kathryn Walker) and finds out the truth. It's not a politically correct scene by any stretch, but its a hoot and sets the stage for the third act.

Newman's performance hits the mark(as usual)as Reggie, and Micheal Ontkean also scores as the brooding Ned Braden. Braden had formerly been the chiefs golden boy before the change, he doesn't like the chiefs new "image" and his playing time has been cut. Ned also is having problems with his wife (Lindsay Crouse) and this sub-plot with Ned forms the basis for the rousing, crowd-pleasing finale.

In the climactic game between the Chiefs and Syracuse, the top team in the league, we find out that Syracuse has brought in some thugs of their own and the result is literally a riot! This is when both Reggie and Ned see their fates converging and both see the foolishness of their lives and their decisions; -Reggie, for his abandonment of "old time hockey; Eddie shore" and Ned, for abandoning.. his life, and his wife. Reggie probably can't save his own marriage, but he may yet save Ned's.

The final scenes on the ice bring together both the insanity and the redemption in a heartwarming and still uproarious montage. It's a very satisfying conclusion and one more reason I score this so highly.

For as funny, cynical and satirical as Slapshot is in its best moments...for example, when Reggie keeps buzzing past the opponents goalie disruptively shouting "your wife's a lesbian!...she's a lesbian!"...it also finds a way move us...high praise indeed for a sports comedy!
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4/10
Funny Takeoff On Goons In Hockey, But Be Warned About The Language
ccthemovieman-120 March 2008
I had to shake my head watching the outdoor NHL hockey game on New Years Day this year (2008) at Buffalo. In between periods, NBC announcer Bob Costas reminisced about his favorite sports movie. It was this one: "Slap Shot." Although I did enjoy this movie 30 years ago, I can't say I echo Bob's sentiments today, but I laughed along with him when it came out in 1977.

It seemed that films in the '70s were either outrageously good or ridiculously sleazy regarding language, sex, or irreverence. Most tended toward the latter. Many movies - like this one - had tons of overdone profanity, As for sports movies, none was more profane than this one which, in essence, was a real takeoff on goon style of hockey. Kudos for that, and the NHL finally woke up 30 years later and cleaned up its sport.

After not seeing this in over 20 years, I was shocked it looked and sounded so seedy with almost every sentence seemingly having a cuss word!. It sounded like slob-like Animal House mentality on ice skates.

However, I do admit there were a lot of funny scenes and I'll always remember the Hanson brothers, along with Oggy Ogglethorp." If hearing the Lord's name in vain constantly doesn't offend you, you'll get a lot of laughs out of these characters, on and off the ice.
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9/10
Caricature for sure
Greatornot4 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie got bad reviews,when it was released ,way back yonder ... yes I know this. The reviewers are simple minded folk. The fact is this movie is a spoof, an enigma , simply, a caricature of hockey and sports and life in general. What a genius flick. I truly mean that . Every scene was thoughtfully done with ironic splendor. From the last scene where being nude is a MOCKERY... LOL, but shedding blood is not. Paul Newman gave a great acting performance . This movie rocks and I especially love the scene where Paul Newmans character parades into the lady owner of the Chiefs and declares they are 'human beings'.... thus human beings that are predatory animals . This movie was simple yet deep. Deep and hilarious, can't beat that. This movie was , in fact, a microcosm of life in general. This showed human emotions beyond the realm of sports and hockey of course. Simply put , a very underrated movie and a classic to be sure. The Hanson Brothers were fantastic and really the wild card of this movie. I felt this movie has stood the test of time and the fact is the critics have been silenced because this movie is a classic and one this guy can watch over and over.
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7/10
The Goon Show
Bill Slocum13 December 2004
Man, I needed one complete viewing just to get a load of Paul Newman's wardrobe! Checkered pants. Fur-lined jacket. Buff leather jacket and matching pants. Great artists sacrifice for their art, and Baby Blue Eyes certainly does so here. Dropping a few F-Bombs must have been nothing to him after dressing up like that.

It's for a good cause. "Slap Shot" is an enjoyable, one-of-a-kind sports film. Like many other sports films from the 1970s, such as "North Dallas Forty" and "Rollerball," there's a strong focus on how athletes are used and abandoned in a capitalist society, but the message here is leavened, and largely bypassed, by the over-the-top humor, courtesy of Newman, Strother Martin as a shyster owner, and a team full of colorful misfits led by three brothers named Hanson whose thick Dilbert glasses and love for toy race cars doesn't distract them from committing felonies on the ice against their fellow men.

"Slap Shot" is about as much a guy's movie as can be, so naturally the screenwriter was a woman, Nancy Dowd. She wallows in all the profane banter, casual misogyny, and random acts of brutal violence in a way that might play a bit on the page like "Clockwork Orange" but is saved by the film's amiable humor and sense of fun.

The darkest thing about "Slap Shot" is the premise. The Charlestown Chiefs, a minor league hockey team, are about to fold, and player-coach Reggie Dunlop schemes to turn his motley crew into winners by getting their blood up, along with their fans, by transforming them into thuggish winners to attract the attentions of an outside buyer that might keep the team running in friendlier climes.

As played by Newman, Dunlop is very likable in his rascally ways, even while taunting a goalie about his lesbian wife for a cheap score. Newman throws up some vivid detail in this scene and others that must have caused a few people to blanch when "Slap Shot" hit theaters in 1977, but his banter is perhaps a bit less scandalous today and the movie as a whole seems to be improving with time. It's about the only thing out there, other than maybe "Youngblood" and "Miracle," for hockey-loving moviegoers, and it remains the most popular, perhaps even best take on one very odd sport.

The film is disjointed, though, with a strange subplot about one player named Braden who resists Dunlop's "gooning it up" and Braden's long-suffering dipso wife. The story here seems to strive for pathos a bit, and to give us something other than jokes, but as the pair are played by the unlikeable Michael Ontkean and Lindsay Crouse, it's hard to care much about them or how they turn out. They only slow down every scene they're in.

The film scores better in the dramatic department with Dunlop's attempts at winning back his estranged wife. Dunlop's sincere in this, but easily distracted both in his machinations to save the team and by all the easy quail he finds on the road. One of the best things about the film is that it doesn't tie this plot thread up so neatly.

"Slap Shot" works best as a comedy. Like when Dunlop blackmails the owner's identity from Strother Martin, or how one mild-mannered player transforms himself into a guy named "Killer" who shows up at the big game wearing a Dracula cape. There's a driver who takes a sledge hammer to the team bus to "make it look mean," assorted opponents who look like they escaped from "Oz," and especially the Hansons, who are used very well because they are used sparingly.

Director George Roy Hill was never wedded to any one style, and this is as far as you can get from other films he made that same decade, like "A Little Romance" and "The Sting." He does very little to dress up "Slap Shot," even the credit sequences are perfunctory, but he knew how to make a good movie, and did so here. If you don't mind sports films that are a little raunchy and mean of heart, you will be entertained by this one.
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Utterly, Utterly
dls-328 October 2000
For some reason or another, I felt I had to rent the movie Slap Shot. I really don't know why but Saturday afternoon was spent watching it instead of doing other more important (?) things.

This film came out in the 70's at about the same time as the Philadelphia Fliers (more to the point the Broad Street Bullies) were using the same rough house tactics as was depicted in this movie

One of the big jokes that came out at this time was "I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out".

This movie comments on the life of a hockey player and what goes on behind the scenes in the front office as well as how hockey players are at the mercy of the owners. The owners can do just about anything to make a buck and the poor hockey player is just a piece of meat. Maybe the baseball players have the right ideas as far as being free agents after a specific period of time.

Some of the funniest scenes are with those Hansen brothers chewing up the rink, the opposing players and the opposing fans. I'd like to see the scene where they are coming into Hyannisport on the buses, being met by irate fans and the busloads of hockey players and the cheering sections pulling moons out the windows, happen in actual fact.

The piece de resistance is the final strip scene on the ice. It made about as much sense as all the fights that were and had been taking place in all of the games with the new Charleswood Chiefs. Simply amazing!!!!!

This movie is a must see for just about everyone--if you don't mind the swearing and brief nudity and explicit language and violence. It's just a comment on the reality of a hockey player's life.
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