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The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979)

The Pittsburgh basketball team is hopeless. Maybe with the aid of an astrologer, and some new astrologically compatible players, they can become winners.


Gilbert Moses


David Dashev (story), Jaison Starkes | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julius Erving ... Moses Guthrie
Jonathan Winters ... H.S. / Harvey Tilson
Meadowlark Lemon Meadowlark Lemon ... Rev. Grady Jackson
Jack Kehoe ... Setshot
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ... Himself
Margaret Avery ... Toby Millman
James Bond III ... Tyrone Millman
Michael V. Gazzo ... Harry the Trainer
Peter Isacksen Peter Isacksen ... Driftwood
Nicholas Pryor ... George Brockington
M. Emmet Walsh ... Wally Cantrell
Stockard Channing ... Mona Mondieu
Flip Wilson ... Coach 'Jock' Delaney
Marv Albert ... Himself (as Marvin Albert)
Debbie Allen ... Ola (as Debra Allen)


The Pittsburgh basketball team is hopeless. Maybe with the aid of an astrologer, and some new astrologically compatible players, they can become winners. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Sport


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

2 July 1981 (Colombia) See more »

Also Known As:

Basket Music See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,922, 4 November 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,281,246, 31 December 1979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lorimar Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In Bill Simmons' best-selling non-fiction tome "The Book of Basketball", he mentions that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who plays himself) completely vanishes from the climatic game's 4th quarter without any explanation. Simmons wrote that he researched and found two explanations: the shooting schedule was so far behind that Kareem had to leave the set and wasn't able to return, OR Kareem found out that Julius "Dr. J" Erving was being paid more than him to appear in the film and angrily walked off the production. See more »


The score before the timeout of the last game was Los Angeles 101, Pittsburgh 91, but when the game resumed, the Pisces made well over ten field goals. Their victory should have been by a double-digit margin. See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 8 minutes from this film for its 1982 network television premiere. See more »


Referenced in Swimming with Sharks (1994) See more »


Follow Every Dream
Music by Thom Bell
Lyrics by Casey James & LeRoy Bell (as Leroy M. Bell)
Performed by William Hart
See more »

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User Reviews

The fish that saved Pittsburgh was on 3-31-07. So i wanted to share some thoughts on my on personal experience as a young extra on the set.
5 April 2007 | by chille2See all my reviews

I was also a teenage extra when this film was shooting. However, at 14 I was memorized by all the star fested personalities. I along with two other teens lucked up and got a speaking part that ran two days. My part is right after the scene where the Pisces win the game, Dr. J comes out of the arena, three female fans are waiting, and two ask for his autograph, I say I will settle for a kiss. How lame. Wow, And yes the director took many takes to choose from before the scene ended.

However, I remember having lunch on the set, I had choice between roast duck or swordfish, I choose the duck. That's when I meet Debbie Allen (Ola) who was very nice and helpful she had such a beautiful spirit about her. Jack Kehoe (Set shot) was also kind to me on the set. I say that because as a 14-year-old impressionable girl these two people showed sincere genuine kindness. Now, not all the people on the set were nice, so I want to acknowledge those that were, it meant so much to me at the time. I never will forget you or the director. I appreciated his vision, which went far past the movie. I believe by including the extras, he exposed young people to something that would have only remained a dream.

In addition, the scenery of our fair city shot both during the day and the night was just beautiful. Even now watching the movie, someone yell's that's our city bridge, or I've been on that basketball court. The city looked beautiful on the big screen.

YES, the movie was a FLOP but my experience was not! My kids still get a kick out of seeing their mom as a teenager on National TV.


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