A League of Their Own (1992) Poster

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"There's no crying in baseball!"
Kristine23 November 2003
A League of their Own, another classic movie that I grew up with. I have to admit it, I'm a girl, I totally fell in love with this movie. But I'm one of the rare girls that loves baseball with a passion, I was raised in a very baseball oriented family, we live in Chicago, we kinda have to enjoy sports, lol. But growing up you wonder why baseball, football, basketball are more for the boys vs. the girls, girls can play but are not famous for it and if they are an athlete are accused of being manly. It's a tough world, but when I was 7 years old A League of their Own was released in theaters, my family saw this movie together and my life changed. Sounds silly, but this was the movie that reminded me to stay strong, at the time when women were expected to stay in the kitchen, as hard as they had to work for it, there was a women's baseball league during WWII. A League of their Own explores this hard but extremely fun time for the girls of the All American Baseball League.

When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, candy manufacturing magnate Walter Harvey decides to create a women's league to make money. Ira Lowenstein is put in charge of public relations and scout Ernie Capadino is sent out to recruit players. Capadino likes what he sees in catcher Dottie Hinson. She's a terrific hitter and he offers her a tryout, but the married woman is content where she is, working in a dairy and on the family farm in Oregon while her husband is away at war. He's less impressed with her younger sister, pitcher Kit Keller, who loves the game passionately but appears to be less talented. He finally lets her come along when she persuades Dottie to give it a try for her sake. When the trio arrive at the tryouts in Chicago, they meet Doris and Mae. They make it onto the team, The Peaches who are managed by drunkard former baseball great Jimmy Dugan. Jimmy initially treats the whole thing as a joke, leaving the managerial duties to Dottie. However, he takes over when he sees how hard and well his team plays. The league attracts little interest at first. With a Life magazine photographer in attendance, he asks them to do something spectacular. When a ball is popped up behind home plate, she catches it while doing splits; the resulting photograph makes the cover of the magazine. More and more people show up and the league becomes a huge success.

The acting is absolutely superb, we have actors on top of their game, Tom Hanks who delivers the memorable "There's no crying in baseball!" speech. Geena Davis who was a great heroine as the star of the league who just wants her husband home from the war but is hanging onto the league for her little sister's sake. Even Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell are great together and have awesome chemistry as best friends Mae and Doris. This is one of those chick flicks that everyone has to see because it worked on every level. Penny Marshall truly brought out the pain these girls had to go through to be taken seriously. The ending always gets me in tears I have to admit, just knowing that these girls hung in there and stayed strong when everyone told them that girls couldn't play ball, let's hope that one day they'll have the opportunity again.

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A fitting,funny tribute
SmileysWorld24 March 2002
Little did I know as a child that a professional women's baseball league even existed.That just goes to prove what little recognition these ladies have gotten over the years.This film finally pushes them over the top in terms of getting that recognition.Excellent perception and direction by Penny Marshall here in recreating this long ago time;a time of war when the nation needed the simple pleasures of life more than ever,to help them escape,at least temporarily,the horrors of the goings on overseas.With most of the male professional ball players overseas,our beloved women were called upon to fill the void,and boy did they ever fill it!It makes me wish, in some ways,that I could have been there to see it all.A fine comic performance here by Tom Hanks,as Jimmy Dugan, the somewhat reluctant and ignorant(at least,at first) manager of the Rockford Peaches. Outstanding performances as well from Madonna,Rosie O'Donnell,Geena Davis,and Lori Petty.A finer tribute could not have been made.Well done.
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What a wonderful film!
Drewboy-216 February 2001
I love this film! Seeing Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna in one film is fantastic. Having it directed by Penny Marshall makes it all the better. After I watched it, for some strange reason I felt I'd watched an extended episode of "Laverne & Shirley" but this is great for the comedy!

Tom Hanks was magnificent with all the comic touches that endear him to so many of us.

The older version of Dottie at the beginning and ending of the story is NOT Geena Davis made up to look older - neither are any of the other ladies! An excellent casting decision was made to have older actresses play these parts - Lynn Cartright was chosen to play Dottie (Geena Davis) in her late 60's and she was a dead-ringer for Geena!

Watch for Tea Leoni (as Racine Belles 1st-base player), Eddie Mekka (Carmine on "Laverne & Shirley" - he dances with Madonna!) and David L. Lander (Squiggy from "L & S" - radio announcer.)

Brings a tear to my eye no matter how many times I watch it - right up there with FIELD OF DREAMS!
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Entertaining look at an obscure piece of sporting history
James Hitchcock16 May 2004
Like most Englishmen, I know about as much about baseball as the average American knows about cricket. I am also not a great fan of sporting films in general, although there are a number of exceptions. Despite this, however, I generally love baseball films, of which there were a number of good examples in the late eighties and early nineties. ('Eight Men Out', 'Field of Dreams' and 'The Natural' all spring to mind). There is something about the sport that seems to lend itself to the cinema; perhaps British filmmakers should consider making a film about cricket, as the two sports have a lot in common.

During the Second World War many of America's male baseball stars were drafted into the forces, and it appeared that the nation might be deprived of its favourite sport. An entrepreneur therefore had the idea of creating an all-female baseball league. 'A League of their Own' tells the story of some of the women who played in that league.

At the centre of the drama is the rivalry between two sisters, Dottie and Kit, who sign for the same team, the Rockford Peaches. The sisters have contrasting characters. Dottie is the more talented player, but Kit is more aggressive and determined to succeed. Kit's aggression and the sibling rivalry between her and Dottie lead to dissension in the team's dressing room, and Kit is traded to a rival team, the Racine Belles. The climax of the film comes when Rockford and Racine meet in the finals of the league championship, with Kit and Dottie on opposite teams.

The film has some interesting observations about the social values of the era in which it is set. During this period there was a conflict between traditional views of femininity and the need, caused by wartime conditions, for women to take on what had historically been masculine roles. Before the war, there had been only very limited opportunities for women in professional sport; most sports, such as tennis and athletics, in which women were permitted to compete were strictly amateur. During the war, they were allowed to take part, but were still expected to conform to the ideal of being 'ladylike'. In the film, players are selected as much for their sex appeal as for their talent (Ernie Capadino, the cynical, sexist talent scout, wants to leave one player out of the team because he considers her insufficiently glamorous) and they are required to attend a 'charm school' and to conform to a strict code of sexual morality. Dottie and Kit can be seen as representing the two sides of this conflict. For all her talent, Dottie's heart is not really in professional baseball, and her real wish is to return to her old life as a housewife as soon as her husband returns from the war. Kit, on the other hand, is single, and sees the game as a way of escaping from her previously dull existence.

Although Geena Davis was quite good as Dottie, the two best performances came from two actors I had not previously heard of, Jon Lovitz in the cameo role of Ernie Capadino, and Lori Petty as Kit, who brought out the fierce determination and will to win of her character. I am surprised that she has not gone on to become a bigger star than she has. It was interesting to see Madonna (normally found in starring roles) in a supporting role as Mae, one of the Peaches who rebels against the strict moral code.

Tom Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, the coach of the Rockford Peaches, in a role created largely because the filmmakers felt that they needed a big male star. Dugan was himself a famous baseball player in his time, but his career was wrecked by his heavy drinking. At the beginning of the film, Dugan is played as a figure of fun, making blunders such as urinating in front of the women, but being too drunk to notice or to care. Later on, Dugan sobers up and develops into a mixture of inspirational coach and dispenser of homespun philosophy along the lines of 'There's no crying in baseball'. At neither stage, however, does the film bring out the genuinely tragic aspects of Dugan's fall from grace as a great, or potentially great, athlete ruined by alcoholism. (One can think of modern parallels such as George Best or Diego Maradona). The actor may be at fault here; during the early part of his career Hanks always seemed a limited actor, convincing in 'Mr Nice Guy' roles but unable to portray more unsympathetic characters. ('Bonfire of the Vanities' being another example).

There were one or two other things about the film that I did not like. I felt we should have seen more of Kit between her transfer to Racine and her reappearance in the finals. The opening and closing scenes, showing a reunion of the surviving players more than forty years later, did not add much to the story. (They did, however, correct the misleading impression given in the rest of the film that women's professional baseball came to an end with the war; in fact, it survived until 1954). Overall, however, this was an entertaining film, well worth watching. 7/10.
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For me, a very beautiful and inspiring movie
rull_cl2 February 2006
Despite the fact of this movie was exhibited on screens in 1992 or 93, I've just saw it on TV in my country only a few days ago. In fact, it isn't the first time it is exhibited, but for one reason or other I've never had seen it. And I've to say that "A League Of Their Own" really touched me. In my country, unlike other Latinamerican like Venezuela, Puerto Rico and -- if I'm not wrong -- Cuba, baseball isn't a popular game, like soccer or tennis. It's played only in some clubs by American citizens or Chilean who lived in the U.S. and learned to play and love it. However, for me the ignorance of the baseball rules is not important, but the fact of that the subjects treated in this movie are universal: fight for a dream and achieve it, solidarity (how beautiful the scene when one of the players teaches to read the one who doesn't know, using a "little hot" short-novel), friendship, hope, dignity and the spirit of trying to be always better. From now on, this movie has become one of my favorites, with some other like "Steel Magnolias" and "Fried Green Tomatoes". Beautiful ones, inspiring, with no-violence and giving a positive message good for our spirits, no matter the zone of the world where you live because, like I've already said, its message is universal: the hope on reaching your dreams and be a better person. And I think that it's marvelous in a world like the present, that sometimes turns so hard to live in. I believe also that it isn't necessary to be American or have had friends or relatives involved in a terrible conflict like the 2nd W.W. to understand this movie. Finally, I'm sorry for my not good English and, if possible, I beg from someone who had had the patience to read this lines up to this point, some additional information about the female baseball league of the United States. I will appreciate it, really. And friendly greetings from Chile, proudly the world's southernmost country!!. (and very friendly with foreigners, too. Visit us, we're waiting for you!!)
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Penny Marshall's Absolute Home Run
jobennett8622 December 2005
I am not a movie-goer. I watch everything on video or cable. I have seen League of Their Own no less than 50 times, and each time, I'm delighted and amazed at the comedic thought and timing that Penny Marshall put into this movie. This is the only movie that I can quote verbatim during the dialogue. Such gems as when Jimmy Dugan asks why the bus stopped, then "Betty Spaghetti" informs him that "Lou quit." Dugan screams, "Who's Lou?!" And on another Dugan rant, when Rosie O'Donnell's character mumbles, "Is that English?" The expression on the scout's face when he sees how, er, plain-looking Marla looks. His explanation that he has to go home after dropping his recruits off for tryouts, because he needs to shower, shave, and "give the wife some pickle tickle." Beyond the funny, fine performances, though, this film has a sweet sadness that makes it real. In the end, these former professional athletes who made it to their golden years come back to be honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame and play in a virtual homecoming game. They all look pretty much like the grandma who you love or who lives down the street from you, but you know that they're women who were brought together because they all had the guts, determination and talent to change the face of American sports.
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A Simple but effective Movie
mjw230523 January 2005
Set at the start of World War 2, Geena Davis and Lori Petty are recruited to the first professional baseball league for women. The sisters struggle to keep the league going against the odds, while their own personal rivalry begins to escalate.

I don't pretend to know much about baseball, so if this element is poor i wouldn't really notice, but i did feel that it was a good setting for the story.

Quite touching and well directed, i was surprised how compelling this movie was. All in all the strong cast and pleasant script makes this a good movie, with a little for everyone.

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Stylish, warm and fun to watch
Dennis Littrell20 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

This movie is about ten times better than it has any right to be considering how sappy director Penny Marshall could have been tempted to make it, and how phony is the actual baseball played by the young women. (More on this below.)

What makes it work are fine performances by Geena Davis as catcher Dottie Hinson, "the best player in the league," and Lori Petty as her younger sister, Kit Keller. Geena Davis absolutely looks the part with her cool confidence and stately figure while Lori Petty is scrappy and believable as the little sister whose puck and determination set the stage for a sister-rivalry climax at the end.

Jon Lovitz as Ernie Capadino, the baseball talent scout, is a crackup as he delivers just about all the best one liners. (Example: he's watching Dottie and Kit milk the cows and asks, "Doesn't that hurt them?" Geena shrugs for the city slicker, "They don't seem to mind." Ernie thinks about it and then says, "Well, it would bruise the heck out of me," which was doubly funny since he has his anatomy confused.) But the guy who really holds the whole thing together is Tom Hanks as one-time home run king Jimmy Dugan, who is now the Rockford Peaches' alcoholic manager. I have seen Tom Hanks in a number of films, but I don't think he was ever any better than he is here. His transformation from a crude, uncaring drunk to the team's hard-nosed but soft-hearted leader is very well and believably done. And Hanks was never more charming and seldom funnier.

Just as good as the work of the fine cast is Marshall's clear, old-fashioned direction. In many ways this film is a throwback to an earlier time when films set out to warm the hearts of the audience and uplift their spirits. Sure, there is evil in the world and you can't win them all, but you can try, is what this film makes us feel, and if you do, something good will happen. There is of course a somewhat self-conscious retrospective look at the sorry political and social state of women sixty years ago, but Marshall does not wallow in the politics. Instead she emphasizes a fun-to-watch tale with real human characters. The unpredictable, but believable ending was very agreeable.

Okay now to some of the problems with the "baseball." Notice that we first see Kit as a softball pitcher. How she made the transition from throwing underhanded to being one of the best overhand hardball throwers in the league in just a few months is...well, doubtful. And the outfits they wore!

Ever try to slide into second trying to break up the double play without sliding pads or even jersey pants? I don't think so. The girls were bare-legged. To Marshall's credit she does show one girl with a huge strawberry bruise on her thigh. Furthermore for those viewers who have actually played baseball, the way many of the young women threw and caught the ball was again, shall we say, doubtful. Marshall employed as extras some young ladies who could actually play a little and we see some shots of their style and grace, but the only star who could even pretend to play at that level would be Rosie O'Donnell. Madonna has some athletic ability, but to imagine her patrolling center field and hauling down long drives strains credibility.

Okay, so what? If we put Tom Hanks at bat against even the most mediocre of Class A pitchers, it would be obvious that he is no home run king. In fact, I think Penny Marshall did a great job of creating and maintaining the illusion of Big League skills for the players so that we were not distracted from the story itself. Skillful editing helped.

By the way, if they gave Academy Awards for a performance in a role short of a supporting role but longer than a cameo (and maybe they should), Megan Cavanagh would have won it for her touching impersonation of Marla Hooch, a painfully shy and vulnerable, less than pretty girl from the farm who finds herself as a baseball player in the city as she steals some guy's heart with an unselfconscious, boozy, off-key torch song. I also loved the scene where she is rocketing line drives off the walls and through the windows of the high school gymnasium.

Note the appearance of David L. Lander as the radio play-by-play guy. He's best known as the wacky/creepy "Squiggy" Squiggman from the old Laverne and Shirley TV sit-com. Here he plays it mostly straight but does get to wear his hat with the bill up as Leo Gorcey did in the East Side Kids (AKA The Bowery Boys) movies from the early forties.

Bottom line here: Uplifting, fun, and even worth seeing again.
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A Great Film
christy89072 July 2006
I can truly watch this movie over and over again and still be inspired by it. I think it shows just what women are capable of. If u haven't seen it i strongly recommend it. It remains at the top of my list and i've seen many award winning movies. It is filled with an amazing cast. It will make u cry and the best part is that there are some true facts. There was this league of women made after most male baseball players had gone to fight in the war. There's romance, fighting, comedy, and some dancing. I mean it has everything a movie needs to be enjoyable. Believe me it wont be a waste of time. You can watch this movie with family and friends.
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Pleasant Experience.
tfrizzell3 July 2002
"A League of Their Own" tells a story that is rarely discussed in historical circles. The country is immersed in World War II and it is up to the women to keep professional baseball going. The film follows the sometimes rocky relationship between two sisters (Geena Davis and Lori Petty) who go from a small town in the midwest to the major leagues. Tom Hanks does outstanding work as the former player who now manages their team. Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell are among the other girls on the team who keep Hanks on his toes. Penny Marshall's direction is very solid here and she tells the story with a dignified style and grace that works well on the silver screen. A very good comedy-drama from the early-1990s. 4 stars out of 5.
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a good film for a wide audience
rebeljenn25 February 2006
'A League of Their Own' is a film about an all-female baseball team during the second World War. This film follows the stories about the team of females and their perspective on life and society (as women) during this time in history. I am not a fan of sports or sport-related films, but I did enjoy this one. I think that this film had enough elements for a wider audience to enjoy it. It also is able to combine comedy with drama and history, and it makes an exciting and engaging film with characters that are three-dimension and easy to care about. I think that this is an exciting film, and even if you dislike sports, the film has plenty more to offer for any viewer.
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Plastic nostalgia...but Geena Davis and Lori Petty are perfectly cast
moonspinner5528 August 2007
A modern-day reunion of WWII-era women's league baseball players brings back fond memories for one such lady, who recalls the journey she and her kid sister made to brief but tangible stardom in America's Golden Era. Director Penny Marshall's nostalgic valentine to war-time tomboys puts the squeeze on us right from the start (with elderly actress Lynn Cartwright dubbed with Geena Davis' voice, to ill effect). Marshall wants to make sure we don't miss any of her hat-tricks, some of which (including a urination gag) that misfire completely. The cast of high-spirited gals (and Tom Hanks as their coach) are alternately lively, wonderful, and excruciating. Rosie O'Donnell is a real chore stomping about on the field, but Geena Davis and Lori Petty (as competitive sisters) are genuinely charming, shrewdly cast, and nearly flawless (a movie about them alone would be worth watching). The film isn't nearly as hearty as it wants to be (the mechanical seams show right through), but the put-on sentiment may hook some. **1/2 from ****
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A wonderful film
MovieGrl8314 August 2006
This movie always makes me feel good when I watch it. It's got a feel to it that a lot of people can relate to. I happen to be a baseball/softball fan, but even if your not, you will still enjoy this movie! I think that the time-line was captured very well. The acting in this movie was well done too. Many people said that a female director wouldn't do this film any good. I think that this movie needed a female director and it couldn't have been done any better! This is one of Tom Hanks best movies by far. If you are in the mood to watch a great movie that will leave you with a good, energizing feeling, than I recommend this movie!
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A Film I Should Like But I Don't
Rainey Dawn25 June 2014
This is another film I should like but I don't. I really can't explain why I have a distaste for the movie. Why don't I like it? It has positive aspects: It's an all-star cast, it has the incredible Tom Hanks in the film, it's about woman power, and it's has quite a few funny moments too. So why do I have a strong distaste for the movie? I like baseball, I like the cast, I like the woman-power idea, I like comedy, I like Tom Hanks and the story is good. What is wrong with me and this film?! I still cannot put my finger on the reason I do not enjoy this movie. I would rather have my teeth pulled than to re-watch this film.

I cannot give this movie a bad review because I have nothing but good to say about it. I cannot give this movie a good review because I did not like the film. I guess I will have to say I'm in the middle with this movie.

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i love it
KatyCarter13 August 2005
I'm only 17 but this is my favourite film ever , i live in UKand don't even like baseball but i love this film and watch it all the time , i think all the actors/ actresses are great!!!!!. Its so sad and makes me cry all the time ,

i just made my friend watch it and he loved it as well. I've seen it over 50 times and have only just brought it on DVD over here. i think it should have won a lot more awards as it is great and by far my favourite film.

I think the casting was great and Gena Davis did a great job and Rosie o Donnell was very fun and they are all really good at playing baseball as well. Tom hanks is great as usual i love every film he does hes the best and Madonna was cool as Mae. i love this film so much and saw it first when i was 6 now I'm nearly 18 and its been my favourite film ever since then, nothing beats it,
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a great movie
courtney woods27 June 2005
This is either the first or one of the first, i cant really remember which right off the top of my head, that i have ever given a straight ten rating to. The reason why i say this is because i am so proud to rate it so high. This movie is really a moviegoers classic, you cant say your a true movie fan and be telling the truth about it if you haven't seenthis movie. This is a very feel good movie and i have loved this movie ever since i was a little girl. Whenever it would be on TV whether in the afternoon i would stay up as long as i needed too to watch this movie. In my opinion everything about this movie was great, The plot was awesome, the acting was perfect, just the right amount of happy tears, sad tears, laughter, and the fact that it is based on actual events, and baseball (baseball is my favorite sport) and that it is really about women proving to people that they can do everything men can do. This is a classic movie and i am extremely proud to say it is one of my favorites. IF you haven't seen it, RENT IT, it will be worth every penny i promise you.
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one of my favorite movies of all time
BeccaLeo24 April 2005
a league of their own is one of my favorite movies of all time. from start to finish it not only makes you laugh but gives you an inside view of women in baseball during the second world war. i had not known until this film came out that women even played baseball in the 1940's while the men were away fighting. history class obviously skipped some things. geena davis gives one of her best performances as dottie hinson a natural born ball player with a heart of gold. dottie watches out for her younger sister kit who is plagued with insecurities and self doubt. dottie and kit are given the chance to be apart of the first women's baseball league and with some insistence on kit's part they go for it. eventually they end up on the same team and the fun begins with laughs from rosie o'donnell and madonna. madonna is wonderful in this movie and i wish she would take a cue from it and do more supporting roles in good comedies/dramas. sibling rivalry consumes kit and dottie takes a loss to give kit the confidence she never had. penny marshall directs with a natural ease and integrity that is rare in Hollywood. why penny hasn't won an academy award for best director is not good by me. this is a movie worth owning! buy the special edition!
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It's home run of a film!!
Roman117 April 2005
All the gals did a magnificent job in this delightfully entertaining film. Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast also deserve cheers. Penny Marshall's direction was flawless especially when invoking tears in many parts of the film. The ladies like Lynn Cartwright et al were not only brilliantly cast as older look-a-likes but they simply WERE the younger actresses 40 years later.

The film is paced well with excellent timing and begins in 1943 went the men went to war. As I understand the Ladies league lasted between 1943 and 1954. I, myself, enjoy women's baseball and soccer. A true spirit and comradery was displayed throughout this exciting and touching movie. Congratulations to all and I certainly want more films like this one.
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A Valentine to the All American Girls Baseball League, but Where have you gone Geena Davis?
Son_of_Mansfield25 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A joyous gift to the women who graced the diamond. Here is slightly altered historic proof that women can be just as exciting and skilled as men in sports. The fact that a female baseball league survived twelve years during the 40's and 50's is a little surprising. I love the scene with the "proper" ladies on the radio, talking about the "masculinization of women." It is vintage American stupidity. Geena Davis, who needs to more movies, and Lori Petty, ditto, are great as the dueling Dotty and Kit. Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz steal the movie with supporting roles slammed out of the park. Nearly every line they utter is classic. Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, and Megan Cavanagh as team mates are strong as well. The interplay between these five women is awesome as well, such as the scene where Dotty, Kit, Mae, and Doris meet. The direction of the baseball scenes is far more exciting than any real baseball I have ever seen. Aside from a script that could have used some streamlining and focus, this is a great movie that is funny, emotional, and entertaining.

*Ernie: "See the way this works is, the train leaves, not the station"*

**Jimmy: Did anyone ever tell you that you look like a little p*n*s with a hat on?"**
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Classy feelgood story of women pioneers
spottedreptile12 June 2000
Like many others, I didn't know anything about a wartime female baseball league so the story was fascinating to me. The film is beautifully told and is very touching and funny. The plot follows the women who made up a professional girls' baseball league during the second world war when the guys went fightin'. And then of course the war is over, and the guys come back - then what happens to the women with their glimpse of independence and a life outside the kitchen?

There are lots of good character arcs, particularly the two sisters, Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty), and the washed up has-been, Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks with about 2 stone extra on him for the role.

The flashback structure works so well you can't imagine doing it any other way. All the actors do a great job, but for me, Lori Petty as Kit, Dottie's kid sister, steals the show. She is brilliant.

Watch out for occasional glimpses of Tea Leoni as a Racine hitter.

Apparently all the injuries seen were sustained by the actors themselves. You can believe it too - they really look like ball players. First-rate editing makes it genuinely exciting sport.

The film could have been a stinker - there are many cliches and it's pretty predictable, but it's handled with great sympathy and sentiment without treacle by Penny Marshall. Twists and subplots would have been out of place - this is a classic feelgood and entertains without dragging on.

I give this 7 out of 10. On a rainy afternoon it's great entertainment.
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Some big talent, but a sickly sweet script and direction by Marshall
secondtake13 September 2015
A League of Their Own (1992)

It's funny, but I remember seeing this when it came out in a tiny theater with an oversized screen in upstate New York, and I really liked it. It seems big and fun, with some great characters, and I was just getting to know Tom Hanks. This time I still loved the fun parts, and with Madonna being silly and Rosie O'Donnell being a crack-up it was worth the look. But it's not an especially good movie.

In fact, it's kind of a pastiche of ideas, even though there is a solid historical basis for the plot (the creation of a woman's professional baseball league to replace the men's league during WWII). At times it's trying to be a touching story of young women with real dreams of greatness. Other times it's making hay off the historical quirks, including the sexist madness of it all (without any actual comment on that sexism). Other aspects include a businessman's world mercenary intentions (with David Strathairn as the good guy in that mix). It's cobbled together without a lot of realism—in other words, it's all for entertainment.

Which is fine. But then there is the Penny Marshall touch. This famous director/writer has a way of making things as simple and sugary as possible, as if we are all living in a Hallmark commercial. It undermines every single aspect listed above, including the touching part, which is her real goal. By the very end, with the inevitable look at the contemporary women (who are played by actresses, don't be fooled into thinking they are the real deal), it gets moving but in that pushy way that makes you kind of glad the film is finally ending.

Too bad. There is more potential here than all that.

There is a host of striving baseball movies that fall flat due to sentiment. I like baseball, but movies like "42" and "The Natural" (and even the recent Clint Eastwood "Trouble with the Curve") seem to acknowledge that the sport is something mired in a nostalgic past. Only in something like "Moneyball" does it morph into something bigger, and much better. So maybe it's me wanting baseball to be great but also realistic and vivid and intense. Not sticky with honey and amber glows.

Yeah, an enjoyable movie on many little levels, including moments of nearly everyone's performances. But don't expect more.
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Davis Makes It A Winning Picture
ccthemovieman-117 July 2006
As a sports fan, it's fun to see a film of a little different nature, the case here being women's pro baseball - something that actually took place for a short time during World War II.

The best thing going for the film, in my opinion, was a very likable lead character - someone you could really root for - in Geena Davis' character "Dottie Hinson." She made the movie, as far as I was concerned as the rest of the cast - although good - was not particularly likable.

For instance, Tom Hanks plays a profane, drunken manager, and not a lot of laughs except for famous, "There is no crying in baseball" line which has become famous. Then there is the family-friendly Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. Yikes! Actually, Madonna plays a nice, subdued character and she's okay to watch but, frankly, it's hard for me to warm up to O'Donnell in any role. Just hearing that voice is enough to call 'time out' and stop the game. Many of the men in here are generally pictured as sexist idiots, which is the way left-wing Hollywood likes to portray men.

The sad thing is, this is another one of the these Penny Marshall films that ignorant national movie critics call a "family film." However, profanity - which includes four blasphemes (even one by Davis which ruined her good-person character image at that point), a two-minute scene of hearing Hanks taking a pee....and other things hardly add up to "family fare."

However, it is an entertaining adult movie that has a lot of charm to it and is recommended, especially if you're a baseball fan.
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David Ahlstrom28 May 2017
I was always surprised this film did so well at the box office. If you are a baseball fan it is almost unwatchable. I like Tom Hanks but he mostly snarls and growls in the film. Madonna is a complete anachronism and painful to watch. Most of the other women are simply irritating. Only Genna Davis is worth watching. Completely fails to capture the spirit of the wartime America. Don't waste your time with this turkey of a film.
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Nice fictional film on women's pro baseball league
SimonJack23 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"A League of Their Own" is an enjoyable film about the short stint that women's professional baseball had in the U.S. From 1943 to 1954, there was a professional league that was the brainchild of Chicago chewing gum magnate Philip Wrigley. He and other baseball owners started the league supposedly to keep baseball "alive" in the minds of the public during World War II. The thinking was that the sport might die out because so many men who played professional baseball went off to war.

The women's league went through a few name changes. In 1943, the All- American Girls Softball League was changed to the All-American Girls Baseball League. The league ranged from four to 10 teams each year and had a total of 15 teams over its 12-year history. It started with four teams, two of which are portrayed playing the first girls baseball world series in 1943 – the Racine Belles and the Rockford Peaches. The movie is a highly fictionalized story of the founding and first year of the league. But it includes a reunion of many of the girls at the National Baseball Hall of Fame when its Women in Baseball exhibit opened on Nov. 5, 1988. Penny Marshal who produced and directed the movie, attended that opening and shot scenes there.

The lead character, Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis) was said to be a composite of two of the real girl players – Dottie Kamenshek and Pepper Paire Davis. In the movie, Dottie is married and plays just one year until her wounded husband returns from the war. The real Kamenshek, however, began playing when she was 17 and never married. She was considered the best player of the league and led her team, the Rockford Peaches, to four of the 12 series titles. She led the league in many stats.

All the rest of the characters in the film were fictional as well, as was the Peaches' manager, Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks. I suppose Hollywood thought a straight story based mostly on facts and real characters wouldn't be as glamorous or interesting. There's no doubt that Hanks' Jimmy Dugan added some color to the film. But the film does give an accurate portrayal of the training the girls were required to take – off the field. They studied etiquette and manners. And it is a good account of the uniforms and other aspects of the girls professional baseball.

The girls teams played mostly at larger towns outside of the major league cities. That also makes the supposed purpose of the league – to keep baseball alive in the minds of the public – suspect. After all, the big leagues (National and American) continued to play ball all during the war. They did suspend play for a couple days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But the game went on and each year the World Series games were played at the end of the regular season. For the record, the St Louis Cardinals won the 1942 World Series over the NY Yankees. The Yankees turned the trick the next year against the Cards. Then, the Cards won the 1944 Series over cross-town rivals, the St. Louis Browns. Finally, in 1945 the Detroit Tigers took the Series over the Chicago Cubs.

I mention this because a scene sticks in my mind from the 1943 movie, "Guadalcanal Diary." William Bendix is a corporal who's listening to a game on the radio and rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers. There's some talk among the men about the possibility of the Dodgers winning the pennant to play the Yankees in the World Series. That probably was the year of the movie – 1943. The Dodgers finished third that year in the National League, behind Cincinnati and far behind the Cards.

Still, one wonders if there might not have been one or more other reasons behind the women's pro baseball league. For starters, how about another venue of wholesome and interesting entertainment for folks back home during the war? Especially since the folks outside the cities didn't often get to see big league games. Remember – this is before television. Then there's always the profit motive. One scene in the film addresses this. The Walter Harvey character (of chewing gum fame – guess who) played by Garry Marshall tells Ira Lowenstein, the league manager, played by David Strathairn, that the league will have to shut down after the first year because it's losing money. Of course, Ira does some things to turn that around, with the help of some of the players.

The movie completely dodges one aspect of the girls pro baseball league. That has to do with sizes and distances. The ball they used to start with was the same size as a softball – 12 inches in circumference (compared to the 9-inch baseball). And they pitched it underhanded. The infield was considerably smaller than that of pro baseball. The distance between bases was 65 feet, compared to 90 in baseball. The pitcher's mound was 40 feet from home plate, compared to 60 feet, six inches. As the years went on after the war, the field distances widened and got closer to those of baseball, and by 1948, the ball size was 10 3/8 inches and overhand pitching was allowed.

This is an enjoyable film to watch and a nice tribute to women's baseball and sports in general. For more history and an accurate account of the girls pro baseball league, one might visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, NY.
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Women playing professional baseball leagues, a big turning point for our country.
Cameo Foster23 March 2013
A League of their own is a great movie. I have watched it several times over the years. This is one of them films that I could never get tired of watching. When I first seen this film for the first time I thought it was neat that women were playing baseball professionally. What appeared to me most was women were doing something something different then what they was expected to do. This movie just proves that women can be just as good at sports as men are.

During World War two a lot of jobs became available to women, including baseball. Candy manufacturing magnate Walter Harvey comes up with a plan to start a professional women's baseball league, so he sends scout Ernie Capadino to recruit players. Capadino comes across Dottie Hinson in Oregon. He is very impressed and offers her a shot at tryouts but she is not interested. However her younger sister Kit Keller loves baseball and is really interested, but the scout is not interested in Kit. Eventually Capadino tells Kit she can come along if Dottie comes and try's out. So the two set off to Chicago for tryouts. Both of the them make the same team, The Peaches, which is coached by a drunkard former baseball player Jimmy Dugan. He thinks this whole thing is a joke and does nothing but stay drunk in the pit. Dottie guides and directs the team. Jimmy gets to see how good the team really is and then steps up to the plate of being coach. With Dottie doing something spectacular the team ends up in being successful.
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