7.4/10
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148 user 50 critic

Slap Shot (1977)

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A failing ice hockey team finds success with outrageously violent hockey goonery.

Director:

George Roy Hill

Writer:

Nancy Dowd
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Popularity
2,317 ( 1,780)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Reggie
Strother Martin ... McGrath
Michael Ontkean ... Ned Braden
Jennifer Warren ... Francine
Lindsay Crouse ... Lily
Jerry Houser ... Killer Carlson
Andrew Duncan ... Jim Carr
Jeff Carlson ... Jeff Hanson
Steve Carlson ... Steve Hanson
David Hanson ... Jack Hanson
Yvon Barrette ... Denis
Allan F. Nicholls ... Upton (as Allan Nicholls)
Brad Sullivan ... Wanchuk
Stephen Mendillo ... Jim Ahern
Yvan Ponton ... Drouin
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Storyline

Located in the US Rust Belt, Charlestown is home of the hapless Chiefs, a losing Federal League hockey team whose games are poorly attended. To make money, the team's unknown owner makes its manager, Joe McGrath, do cheesy publicity much to the players' chagrin. Rumors abound among the players that if the local mill closes, the team will fold. Just before the official announcement is made, the team's aging player/coach, Reggie Dunlop, does get wind that the mill is indeed closing and that this season will be the team's last. Beyond efforts to reconcile with his wife Francine, who loves Reggie but doesn't love his career, Reggie begins to focus on how to renew interest in the team for a possible sale as he knows if the team folds, his hockey career is over. Without telling anyone of his plan, he begins a rumor that the owner is negotiating a sale with a city in Florida. He also decides that "goon" hockey - most especially using the untapped talents of the recently acquired childlike ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If this movie doesn't make you laugh, you better look up a psychiatric!! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 February 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slap Shot See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nick Nolte lobbied hard for the part of Ned Braden, but there was no time for him to learn how to skate. Don Most, who portrayed Ralph Malph on Happy Days (1974) also auditioned. See more »

Goofs

The positioning of the sheet covering Reggie when he is in bed with Hanrahan's wife changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Gilmore Tuttle: We'll straighten you out, you little prick!
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Crazy Credits

Special thanks to John Mitchell and his Johnstown Jets. See more »

Alternate Versions

The VHS and laserdisc version replaced Maxine Nightingale's recording of "Right Back Where We Started From" on the soundtrack. The DVD and TV versions retain the song. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Golic and Wingo: Episode #1.22 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Performed by Elton John
MCA/Rocket Records
Written by Elton John (uncredited) and Bernie Taupin (uncredited)
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User Reviews

The ultimate hockey film, a resounding success as both drama and comedy
13 June 2009 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

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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