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cover: Bad News Bears, The (1976)

Bad News Bears, The (1976)

Director(s): Michael Ritchie

Theatrical Release: 1976

Cast: Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Vic Morrow, Joyce Van Patten, Jackie Earle Haley, Quinn Smith

Genre(s): Comedy, sports, coming-of-age, Dean's List

Countries: USA


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Running Time: 102m.

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 Los Angeles little league team, 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 (allmovie.com)
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