Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The great Chicago White Sox team of 1919 is the saddest team to ever win a pennant. The team is bitter at their penny pincher owner, Charles Comiskey, and at their own teammates. Gamblers take advantage of this opportunity to offer some players money to throw the series. (Most of the players didn't get as much as promised.) But Buck Weaver and the great Shoeless Joe Jackson turn back at the last minute and try to play their best. The Sox actually almost come back from a 3-1 deficit. Two years later, the truth breaks out and the Sox are sued on multiple counts. They are found innocent by the jury but baseball commissioner Landis has other plans. The eight players are suspended for life, and Buck Weaver, for the rest of his life, tries to clear his name. Written by
Patrick Lynn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of the most under-apreciated films of the last 25 years
This is probably the best film to be completely ignored by every major award in film in the last 25 years. For all that its about baseball players, it is NOT a baseball movie. The Black Sox scandal and its effect on baseball transcended baseball. The ensemble cast does a marvelous job, particularly Straithairn and Sweeney, who plays "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, one of the more tragic figures of the whole mess. In spite of taking money to throw the Series, Jackson went out and batted .375 for the Series. The Chicago payers in on the payoff (and one poor soul who didn't go along, but was approached) were banned from baseball for life. No less an authority than Ted Williams believes Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame. But I digress. The film goes into the motivations of the players, who were playing for a pittance and had no say over where they played. Thus they were perfect targets for the fix in the first place. Excellent and gripping film about human reactions to stress and temptation. Most recommended.
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