The Bad News Bears

1976, Movie, PG, 102 mins

Review

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As amusing for adults as it is for children, this charming, funny film takes a gentle poke at Little League baseball and the American obsession with winning. Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau, in a strong comic turn), a one-time minor leaguer, becomes the manager of the Bears, a team of multiracial Little League rejects in southern California. With Morris's help this hapless, foul-mouthed bunch, led by its star female hurler, Manda Whurlizer (Tatum O'Neal), begins improving and winning ball games. Director Michael Ritchie (DOWNHILL RACER, SMILE), working from a script by Burt Lancaster's son, Bill, provides a nice twist on the expected outcome. Although the film could have been preachy, Ritchie handles the story and theme with deftness. So popular was the film that it produced two sequels--THE BAD NEWS BEARS IN BREAKING TRAINING (1977) and THE BAD NEWS BEARS GO TO JAPAN (1978)--and at least one imitation, HERE COME THE TIGERS (1978), plus a TV series. leave a comment

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