The Bad News Bears (1976)

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Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

The success this underdog comedy from director Michael Ritchie almost single-handedly spawned the kids' sports film boom of the 1980s and '90s. When beer-breathed ex-minor-league ball player and professional pool cleaner Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) agrees to coach a little league team in the San Fernando Valley, he soon finds he's in over his head, having inherited an assortment of pint-sized peons and talentless losers. They play well-organized teams and lose by tremendous margins, and the parents threaten to disband the Bears to save the kids (and themselves) any further embarrassment. Buttermaker refuses, though, and brings in a pair of ringers: Amanda (Tatum O'Neal), his ex-girlfriend's tomboy daughter, and Kelly (Jackie Earle Haley), a cigarette-smoking delinquent who happens to be a gifted athlete. With their help, the Bears manage to change their losing ways and qualify for the championship, where they face their arch-rivals, the Yankees.~ Jeremy Beday, All Movie Guide

Cast

  • Walter Matthau
  • Tatum O'Neal
  • Vic Morrow
  • Joyce Van Patten
  • Ben Piazza
  • Jackie Earle Haley
  • Alfred Lutter III
  • Chris Barnes
  • Erin Blunt
  • Gary Lee Cavagnaro

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • Tanner uses the word crud (or cruddy) 11 times during the course of the film.
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Goofs

  • After Kelly Leak's homerun gives the Bears their first win of the season (against the White Sox) the footage of the Bears celebrating at home plate around Kelly shows a Yankee catcher. This footage was actually from the alternate ending which had the Bears winning the final game against the Yankees.
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Quotes

    • Kelly: I got a Harley-Davidson. Does that turn you on? Harley-Davidson?
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Metacritic

75

The Bad News Bears is, in a way, [Ritchie's] most harrowing portrait of how we'd sometimes rather win than keep our self-respect. He directs scenes for comedy even in the face of his disturbing material and that makes the movie all the more effective; sometimes we laugh, and sometimes we can't, and the movie's working best when we're silent.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times