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Hard Ball (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  14 September 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 21,311 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 129 user | 84 critic | 25 from

An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bryan Hearne ...
Andre Ray Peetes (as Bryan C. Hearne)
Julian Griffith ...
Jamal (as Michael Jordan)
A. Delon Ellis Jr. ...
Kristopher Lofton ...
Michael Perkins ...
Brian M. Reed ...
Carol Hall ...
Pearla Evans (as Carol E. Hall)
Jacqueline Williams ...
Lenora Tibbs
Freeman Coffey ...
Darryl Mackey
Matt Hyland


Bright, well-educated, handsome Conor O'Neill's promising future was wrecked by his gambling addiction, which dragged him into heavy drinking and petty crime, but worst of all, the stifling grip of loan-shark bookies. Desperate for a loan, he accepts to stand in for lawyer friend Jimmy Fleming as coach of a Chicago black 'projects' ghetto Little League baseball team. His sense of pride, becoming the boys' sole idol, and competition, plus their attractive teacher, motivate Conor. But the crushing loan problem rather requires leaving town. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The story of ten kids and a coach who never had a chance... until they took a chance on each other. See more »


Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

14 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hardball  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,386,342 (USA) (14 September 2001)


£79,864 (UK) (21 June 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Based on a true story. See more »


Characters often discuss going to "Sluggers" (a sports bar) and refer to it as being "on the corner of Clark and Addison". "Sluggers" is a real sports bar and several scenes from the film were shot there, however it is not on the corner of Clark and Addison - another famous sports bar, "The Cubby Bear", is the only bar on that corner. "Sluggers" (3540 N. Clark Street) is actually a full block from the intersection of Clark and Addison and is located at the intersection of Clark and Eddy. See more »


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User Reviews

Predictable but an A+ nonetheless. Parental slant to review-
8 September 2001 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Tonight I attended a sneak preview of the movie Hardball with a 10 year old boy in tow. Hardball shows the very gritty, dangerous life of some inner city kids who are not only trying to survive, but to find some-thing worth caring about- in this case, baseball.

Though not playing to a sold out house, the audience was very loud and enthusiastic, even breaking into cheers at points. I thought the storyline was predictable (bum coach becomes a better man and gets the girl, kids learn teamwork and sportsmanship) and similar to other movies about kids sports teams. What is unique to this movie is it's view of the kids off the field- their lives in housing projects, the dangers, drugs and problems they face just living every day. It's a daring and very affecting storyline, and the cheering of the audience proved to me that it worked very, very well.

Very solid jobs by cast, including Keanu Reeves, who does a fabulous job as the shiftless/compulsive gambler/reluctant coach who becomes much more to his team after realizing these kids actually have a rougher life than his own. This role seemed as well-suited for Reeves as The Matrix...and he didn't even look good doing it. [He does clean up and flash the famous smile near the end!]

The kids steal the show here- and the audience I sat with fell for them as hard as their coach did! Lots of sniffling and clapping in the house. My son loved the movie, too, the moral themes are well wrapped up in the story and not sappy.

Some rough language, disturbing scenes of housing project life and the gambling/bookie world, some sexual references, one death. However, I would grab the kids and go if over first grade. Good opportunity to talk to the kids about winning/losing, drugs, violence and education. Best see it with your boys film since the Mighty Titans scored a touchdown. You may want to go again...

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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