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The Bad News Bears (1976)

4.3 out of 5 stars 326 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Bad News Bears, The (DVD)

A major surprise as one of 1976's top grossing films. THE BAD NEWS BEAR S is a movie about children that is refreshing, utterly believable, and quite cleverly funny. Walter Matthau is at his absolute best as the gru mbling beer-guzzling former minor-league pitcher who gets roped into coa ching a band of half-pint misfits somewhat loosely called a team. With t his bunch in uniform, it's impossible to get caught up in the suburban c ompetitive spirit that drives other adults to extremes of parental dscip line. So, instead, the Bears have a good time.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Vic Morrow
  • Directors: Michael Ritchie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (326 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AEFXHNI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,268 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel R. Bryan on February 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The great Walter Matthau (all saggy jowls) plays Buttermaker, an ex-pitcher turned pool cleaner who tools around all day on his jobs in a chop-top station wagon with a cooler of beer in the backseat. A local businessman talks (with money) Buttermaker into coaching a youth-league team of castaways. Seems this is one community that takes its youth league baseball seriously. A little too seriously.
What follows is the familiar plot of a bunch of underdog kids coming together as the "Team Nobody Believed In" and contending for the championship against a team that represents everything that's wrong when parents spoil simple pleasures for their children (the Yankees, coached by Vic Morrow, in a neatly-observed performance). Look, I don't know if "Bears" even did it first, but this movie certainly does it best, and without the labored sentimentality of its progeny.
"Bears" never turns cartoonish. It captures just the right atmosphere- slanting, late afternoon sunlight during the games, the bikes parked behind the dugouts, the post-game chants. The kids, led by Tatum O'Neal and Jackie Earle Haley all perform well, and each has a sharply defined personality. Even Morrow, as Buttermaker's antagonist, isn't portrayed as bad or evil- just a guy with misplaced priorities that make him act like a jerk.
But Matthau makes this movie, conning kids into making martinis for him and cleaning pools while he regales them with increasingly drunken stories of his baseball glory days... until he passes out on the mound in a litter of beer cans. Matthau plays Buttermaker as a modern day loser who discovers (eventually) he still has a better nature.
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Format: DVD
Studios would never risk making such a hard edged kiddie flick! Here we have a posse of little cretins that act like real kids, obnoxious, bratty, foul mouthed, and selfish. These kids hurl racial epithets and get slapped down by their overly competitive or alcohol abusing coaches and fathers. Matthau drives the kids around while drinking whiskey laced beer. Do not let the PG rating fool you. In other words, it's a little too close to reality for modern white washed sensitivities and has nary a trace of the sentimentality that permeates other kiddie fare. So, if you want a non offensive boring piece of trash to watch with the family, I suggest you look at the list of lame imitators, such as Little Giants, Mighty Ducks, the Sandlot, or Little Big League.

The Bad News Bears is great! When kids are allowed to act like real kids, they can be pretty convincing. The humor is derived from watching the kids deal with each other or watching Matthau deal with their exasperating antics. And it has quite a number of actually touching moments, as when loud mouthed little Tanner sticks up for Lupus, or when Matthau coaxes Ahmad out of a tree after a particularly poor performance on the field, and of course, when both coaches lose their cool in the dugout during the final game. (Parents can learn lessons from this flick as well).

So, if you have not seen this since you were a kid, check it out, there was a lot more going on than you remember, and if you are an adult wondering if you should let your eight year old see it, go for it. I turned out alright!
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Format: DVD
Even movies about a bunch of pre-adolescent ballplayers were better in the 70s. This is possibly one of the best "kids movies" of all time ... if you like an unsentimental, raw look at how kids really are. No glossy cinematography here, the Bears stands as a testament to the truth of kids lives. Not all perfect angels or demons, kids are more complex than we give them credit. Sadly, this truth seems to stop with this film; "The Bad News Bears" is an anomaly rather than a groundbreaker.

We never see the kids at home, or with their families except for some brief snippets at the very end; the film exists only on the playing field and the dugouts. Matthau is simply wonderful as a gruff drunk who doesn't suddenly become loveable in a bland burst of generic orchestral mediocrity -- kudos to the filmmakers for incorporating the score to Carmen throughout the entire film.

Vic Morrow shines in a supporting role that embodies the cutthroat world of American Little League (and sadly the movie made me ask, does everything about America have to be so cutthroat?) and Morrow's performance is eerily true-to-life of all the sports parents and coaches out there who are more into the game than the kids. Watch for the tense stand-off scene between Morrow and Brandon Cruz.

The Bears went on to sully their legacy with two less than stellar sequels and a short lived TV series but this original film is worth holding onto.
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Format: DVD
I saw "The Bad News Bears"in the theatre, when it came out in 1976. At the tender age of thirteen, I thought this was a hilarious send up of little league and organized sports. Now over twenty five years later, I still laugh out loud at the DVD version of the film, which has both biting moments and a lot of heart.The plot has now been endlessly copied by dozens of other movies.Walter Matthau plays an aging alcoholic, who is payed by a local politician to coach a little league team made up of misfits and losers.They are hopelessly bad players, who are dumped on by both other kids and adults alike.Through Mathau's drunken coaching and the help of an eleven year old girl with a killer curve ball (wonderfully played by Tatum O'neal) the team rises to the top of the stats and the big championship game. The late director, Michael Ritchie used this fairly simple plot device to present us with a scewering of the world of children's organized sports and a satire of suburban society in general.I love the scene where at the league party a female official presents a pizza made up with toppings to look like a ball field.She goes on to explain how she couldn't use anchovies in the presentation "but hey, not many people like anchovies".The film has many funny moments such as this, but it also carries a dark underbelly when it presents how serious the parents take games that are suppose to be fun and put their kids under a tremendous amount of pressure.It's hard to even watch a scene, in which an opposing team's coach, in the heat of game, goes out to the pitcher's mound and slaps his own son in the face.I don't mean to paint too dark of a picture of this movie. It is a really funny film.Read more ›
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