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The Bad News Bears is a 1976 film directed by Michael Ritchie. It stars Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker, an alcoholic former minor-league baseball player who becomes the coach of the Bears, a cellar-dwelling Little League baseball team with poor playing skills and little hope or ever winning.
To bolster the team's abilities, he recruits Amanda Whurlitzer, a skilled pitcher who happens to be the eleven-year-old daughter of one of Buttermaker's ex-girlfriends, and Kelly Leak, the local cigarette-smoking troublemaker. And, miraculously, the notoriously chronic underdogs start winning under Buttermaker's careful coaching. Now all that lies between them and victory is the championship game...
The film was followed by two sequels, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training in 1977 and The Bad News Bears Go to Japan in 1978, and a short-lived 1979-80 CBS television series, none of which were able to duplicate the success of the original. A remake was made in 2005.
This movie contains examples of:
- Down to the Last Play: This was perhaps the first underdog movie to have the protagonist team NOT win.
- Fallen-On-Hard-Times Job: Buttermaker the little-league coach.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Buttermaker is variously referred to as "Boilermaker", "Butterworth", "Buttercrud", etc.
- The Napoleon: Tanner.
- Opposing Sports Team: The Yankees.
- Ordered to Cheat: Buttermaker orders his batter to lean into the pitch so he'd get hit, to get a walk. The player is against the idea, but does it anyway. Twice.
- Positive Discrimination
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Save Our Team
- Sequel Goes Foreign: The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.
- The Seventies: Boy, does it ever...
- You Go, Girl!: Amanda.
The 2005 remake contains examples of:
- Bowdlerisation: In the remake, Billy Bob Thornton wasn't allowed to drink beer on the dugout, though he was allowed to spike it with some hard liquor as a compromise.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Despite being a "politically correct" remake, there were a lot more dirty stuff that the creators got away with. For one thing, they had Buttermaker alluding to prison sexuality in the beginning of the film.
- Prison Rape: Buttermaker implies in the beginning of the film when talking with a woman and her kid that he was a victim of this. It's a surprise that this got past the sensors.