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Angels in the Outfield is a film released in 1951 and remade in 1994.
The 1951 film is about Pittsburgh Pirates manager Duffy McGovern being visited by invisible angels who will give his team miracles, as long as he stops swearing and controls his violent temper. A girl from the local Catholic orphanage can see the angels, and a woman reporter who's been covering the Pirates prints the story. McGovern's bete noir is Fred Bayles, a snarky sportscaster who wants to get something on him. When the manager is beaned by a fastball he lets slip about "talking to angels", and a sanity hearing ensues. Naturally, the Pirates eventually take the NL pennant, and the reporter and McGovern ultimately get together and adopt the little girl.
The 1994 Disney remake stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Christopher Lloyd and is about a boy praying that the Angels will win the pennant, mistakenly believing that if they do, he will reunite with his Disappeared Dad. Roger asks said dad when they will be a family again. His father replies sarcastically, "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant." Taking his father's words to heart, Roger prays for God to help the Angels win. After he prays, a star, unseen by Roger, twinkles in the sky.
Then, in a game which Roger and JP are attending, Roger sees a group of angels led by Al helping the team. Although Roger can see the angels quite clearly, everyone else can only explain the seemingly impossible acts as freak occurrences. Roger's unique ability to see which players are receiving help from angels leads the Angel's skeptical manager, George Knox to keep Roger around as a good luck charm/consultant. Due to the much needed help, the Angels start to win games and make a surprising second-half surge to the top of their division. Unfortunately, Roger's father permanently gives up custody of his son instead.
On the championship game none of the Angels show up to help the team. Later on Al explains that championships must be played without help from the Angels and that he was just checking Mel Clark who will be one of them soon (he has been a smoker for years and only has six months left to live). Throughout the game Clark has been in, but is getting tired after 159 pitches. When Coach Knox goes in, everyone thinks he is going in to take him out, but instead, Knox gives Clark some motivation, with help from Roger, the Angels team, and finally, the entire stadium audience as well as Murphy and the broadcasters (minus Ranch).
The Angels ultimately win the final game of the regular season without the help of the angels and clinch the division pennant over the rival Chicago White Sox. Murphy fires Wilder due to his snide remarks over the Angels. George, having grown close to Roger throughout the movie, adopts him and his surrogate brother J.P. Granting Roger his wish after all.
Standard kids movie film but a feel good one at that which ultimately is about the power of faith wrapped around a sports story. The 1994 version was followed by two Made For TV sequels , 1997's Angels in the Endzone (Same thing with Outfield only with football) and 2000's Angels in the Infield which replaced Christopher Lloyd with David Alan Grier as the head angel.
Provides Examples Of:
- Daddy Didn't Show: Roger's dad breaks his heart when, after the Angels are well on their way to winning the pennant (which he sarcastically said would be when they could be a family again), he gives up custody of Roger to the state.
- Down to the Last Play
- Game of Nerds: in the 1994 version, Roger has a whole team full. Understandable since they're all ten years old or younger.
- Guardian Angel: Al
- Happily Adopted
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Seems to be a prerequisite for seeing Angels.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lots of them in the Disney version, Knox being an obvious example.
- Jerkass: McGovern starts out as one, and Bayles isn't much better.
- Magic Feather: In the original, the angels tell McGovern they're withdrawing their aid before the final game, since he lost his temper during a sanity hearing. But they say, "You've been on your own a lot of times this season without knowing it." In the remake, the whole crowd at an Angels baseball game makes wing flapping gestures to help their pitcher make a strikeout, without the divine intervention they've been relying on these past few months.
- Since everyone in the stadium was helping him it can also be considered a Combined Energy Attack.
- Our Angels Are Different: The angels fit the standard good-guys-with-wings image, as befits a feel-good kids' movie. They are repelled by foul language, being pure and ethical in all respects ... except, it seems, for cheating at sports, which is perfectly okay if they're the ones doing it. In the original, they work mostly by influencing the players' intuition.
- In all fairness, the new version just had them, lending a hand, so to speak.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Al and JP
- Put Me in Coach: In the 1994 version, only there's a minor subversion. It was the coach's idea.
- Heartwarming Orphan
- Sand in My Eyes: Played for Laughs in the remake. One of the ball players pokes fun at Coach Knox for shedding a tear during the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" before a game, but Knox shrugs it off as sunscreen getting in his eye.
- Save Our Team: From being the one that sucks the most!
- Sequel: Angels in the Endzone and Angels in the Infield
- Spiritual Sports