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Eight Men Out (1988)

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

Director:

John Sayles

Writers:

Eliot Asinof (book), John Sayles (screenplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jace Alexander ... Dickie Kerr
John Cusack ... Buck Weaver
Gordon Clapp ... Ray Schalk
Don Harvey ... Swede Risberg
Bill Irwin ... Eddie Collins
Perry Lang ... Fred McMullin
John Mahoney ... Kid Gleason
James Read ... Lefty Williams
Michael Rooker ... Chick Gandil
Charlie Sheen ... Hap Felsch
David Strathairn ... Eddie Cicotte
D.B. Sweeney ... 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson
James Desmond James Desmond ... Smitty (as Jim Desmond)
John Sayles ... Ring Lardner
Studs Terkel ... Hugh Fullerton
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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 | Plot 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 1989 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Eight Men Out See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,129,491, 5 September 1988

Gross USA:

$5,680,515

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,680,515
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

First of back to back roles for Charlie Sheen in a baseball movie. Sheen immediately followed up his role in the film Major League, in which he again played a pro Ball Player. See more »

Goofs

In one scene you see a team photo while circles are being drawn around the faces of players. Rather than being a sold black line, the grease pencil makes a grainy line. This is because this is not a proper photo but a photo output on a high-resolution inkjet printer. The grainy grease pencil mark gives it away. Photos of the time would be finished by laying them on a sheet of glass coated in a thin layer of shellac. When peeled off, they would have a glossy look. The photo in the movie was not printed on glossy paper but on a special grain-textured paper used on inkjets. See more »

Quotes

[Weaver is getting ready for court]
Buck Weaver: How do I look?
Helen Weaver: You look just fine.
Buck Weaver: I look like a future jailbird.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits of the movie, they are done against a blue cloudy sky up, then to the right and down to the bottom. Despite the ensemble cast, the most well-known leading and character actors at the time were credited first in alphabetical order, then lesser known actors that had roles that were just as large or larger were credited in pairs of two. Example: John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, and Charlie Sheen were credited first, due to their successes with The Sure Thing, Back to the Future, and Platoon, respectively, but in pairs, Michael Rooker, Kevin Tighe, and Richard Edson also had pivotal roles, but were lesser known. Charlie Sheen was already well-established, but had no more than a few minutes of screen time the entire movie, Christopher Lloyd and Richard Edson were always together playing gamblers, but Lloyd was a much more well-known actor and credited first. See more »

Alternate Versions

Five seconds were cut from the British theatrical release in order to obtain a "PG" rating by removing a use of strong language. The film was later released uncut on video and the rating was upgraded to "15", which was subsequently downgraded to "12" for the DVD. See more »

Connections

Featured in Diamonds on the Silver Screen (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

I Be Blue
Written by John Sayles and Mason Daring
Performed by Leigh 'Little Queenie' Harris
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the antidote to Field of Dreams
15 November 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

When the team that couldn't be beat threw the World Series in 1919 they did more than deliberately lose a few baseball games; they corrupted the National Pastime and ushered the sport out of its age of innocence. Writer director John Sayles succeeds in showing exactly how and why eight players on the best team in baseball set in motion what had to be one of the most poorly conceived, organized and executed conspiracies in the whole history of graft, and in his usual role as a champion of the working class portrays the guilty players as victims of money-grubbing corporate exploitation (represented both by team management and organized crime).

But it's all the cynical wheeling and dealing behind the Black Sox scandal which make the film so fascinating. The story might have been unbelievable if it wasn't entirely true, but like any aspect of real life the details are messy and inconclusive. Most of the film recounts the mechanics of the fix; events during the subsequent exposure and trial are telescoped too quickly into the final forty minutes or so, which makes sense: in any conspiracy the crime is always more interesting than the punishment.

It helps to be at least slightly familiar with the huge cast of characters involved: players, gamblers, reporters and so forth. A few scenes have been added for dramatic unity, and others were abbreviated to maintain a consistent pace, but all the facts are there, and Sayles manages to pull them all together in an entertaining history lesson from our collective adolescence, re-creating that fateful moment when the boys of summer grew up for good.


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