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 <email@example.com>
John Sayles used cardboard cutouts to help fill up the stands in the ballpark. He needed 1,000 extras to film close-ups and panning shots of live fans. To lure the extras, Charlie Sheen volunteered to take part in a contest for one extra to have a lunch with him. See more »
In the film, Arnold Rothstein is very overweight. In real life, Rothstein was of average weight. See more »
[When the players meet with him to accept the money before the first game]
It's all out on bets.
That's not good enough!
Hey! Don't worry, you'll get the money soon enough.
And how much?
100 grand, like I said. 20 after each game.
Wait a minute, that's 5 games. I thought we were just dumping a few.
No, you lose the first 3.
Kerr's pitching the third, he's not with us.
So what? We don't hit for him, he'll fold. He's a busher!
[...] See more »
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 »
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 »
I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
Written by Jaan Kenbrovin (as Jann Kenbrovin) and John W. Kellette (as John William Kellette)
Published by Warner Bros. Music, a division of Warner Bros. Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. See more »
the antidote to Field of Dreams
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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