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Eight Men Out (1988)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Sport  |  2 September 1988 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 14,010 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 38 critic

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.

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Cast

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Fred McMullin
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Ray Schalk
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Storyline

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 <pjustinl@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The inside story of how the national pastime became a national scandal. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les coulisses de l'exploit  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,680,515 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

D.B. Sweeney who was right handed, played the left handed hitting Joe Jackson. Sweeney initially suggested they film his hitting scenes in reverse, a process used in The Pride of the Yankees (1942). However, John Sayles didn't have the budget for such effects. Sweeney instead arranged to work out with a Class A Minor League Baseball team to learn how to hit left handed. Sweeney added that he came to feel that the conditions and atmosphere around Class A ball were comparable to those around big league baseball of 1919. See more »

Goofs

When the players meet the lawyers for the first time, the head counsel introduced his co-counsels by likening them to famous ballplayers (i.e.: "The Ty Cobb of lawyers"). One of the Sox players asks, "Who is the Babe Ruth?" The head counsel replies "I am". In the time line of the film, however, which is suggested to be between the 1919 and 1920 seasons, Babe Ruth would have just completed his final season with the Boston Red Sox, and also was his first season playing more than 100 games, and he might not have been as famous as he became later. However, the actual indictments of the players (and the meeting with the lawyers) took place after the 1920 season. In 1920, the Babe had by far the greatest offensive season ever, being the first player to 30, 40 and 50 home runs in a season, as well as setting a slugging percentage record that stood for more than 80 years. See more »

Quotes

Hired Killer: You're gonna lose tomorrow.
Lefty Williams: Oh, is that so?
Hired Killer: I know it for a fact. That your wife?
Lefty Williams: Yeah, what's it to you?
Hired Killer: You don't lose tomorrow, she dies.
Lefty Williams: Who sent you?
Hired Killer: You made a promise to certain people.
Lefty Williams: You son of a bitch!
Hired Killer: You can't protect her. If I don't do it, somebody else will. First inning, Mister Williams.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Numb3rs: 7 Men Out (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

It could happen to you
Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
Words by Johnny Burke
1944
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

When the world was corrupt.
6 July 2004 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

I especially enjoyed Studs Terkel and John Sayles as the two sportswriters, Fullerton and Lardner. They're very droll. They act as a kind of Greek chorus, making cynical wisecracks, keeping the audience clued in on what's supposed to be going on. As the White Sox play out yet another crooked game, Sayles said to Terkel, "Nothing but fast balls." "Nice, sloow ones," adds Terkel. It gets better. Terkel writes a column for the Chicago paper accusing gamblers of corrupting the game of baseball and Sayles is reading it aloud. "Writers are tainting the game," or something, says Sayles. "Keep reading," says Terkel. "The game would be better off without the long-nosed, thick-lipped Eastern element preying on our boys in the field." Terkels smiles around his cigar and says, "Makes you proud to be a sportswriter, doesn't it?"

The rest of the movie is pretty good too, although I sometimes get the characters and their motives a little mixed up. The baseball scenes are very well done. I say this, being no big fan of the sport myself. Charlie Sheen (a true aficionado) looks like he's heaving a heavy bat as he clunks out a hit, not a rubber prop. I admired too the way the series games swung back and forth as the players on the take tried to figure out if they were playing for the money or for themselves. It's tough to throw a game because part of one's self always wants to do what one does best -- in this case, play baseball well. The German ethologists call it "Funktionslust." In the end, despite some indecision, they do however lose.

The movie isn't kind to the gamblers or to the owners. Comisky was incredibly cheap and greedy. The script gives this as one of the reasons why the players agreed to throw the game. As Strathairn says when someone offers him a part payment, "I don't care about the money." He's throwing the games to foul up Comisky who has just denied him a promised bonus because Strathairn, playing the pitcher Cicotte, has only played 29 games instead of the 30 they'd agreed upon. Comisky has made him sit on the bench for the last few games so he wouldn't cross the bonus threshold. (Question: Given that Comisky cheated Cicotte of the contracted bonus, was Cicotte morally justified in throwing the games?)

The movie isn't nice to the gamblers either. Not only don't they pay off but they treat the players with contempt. Arnold Rothstein ("A.R.") treats EVERYBODY rudely. He never says hello when he enters a room, never says good-bye when leaving, and never smiles.

I kind of liked this. Sayles may not be a master but his films are always highly individualized. I cannot visualize him directing "Die Hard With A Sardonic Grin."


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