The Bad News Bears (1976)

Rated PG 102 minutes 1976

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

Film Credits

Director: Michael Ritchie

Writer: Bill Lancaster

Producer: Stanley R. Jaffe

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

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