Eight Men Out

7.21 h 59 min1988X-Ray16+
This dramatization follows the 1919 major league baseball scandal involving the Chicago White Sox who as a team accepted bribes to throw the World Series for money.
Charlie SheenChristopher Lloyd
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Midge Sanford
Crowd Pleasers
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Violencealcohol usesmokingfoul language
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4.7 out of 5 stars

1059 global ratings

  1. 79% of reviews have 5 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

John Port WalkerReviewed in the United States on November 18, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent historical sports drama
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Great retelling of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox World Series Scandal that almost broke baseball after World War 1.
John Sayles brings his A game and demands nothing less from his impressive cast. The story draws heavily from Eliot Asinof's now less than fully reliable narrative on the event.
The production design and attention to detail of the period are impressive. You can tell this was Sayles passion project and he gives a dryly humorous and affecting performance as real life sports journalist Ring Lardner who helped cover and later expose scandal.
Great performances by all with the most hearthfelt from John Cusack and David Strathairn as 3rd baseman Buck Weaver and Ace pitcher Eddie Cicotte.
The overarching narrative of the 1919 White Sox, the heavy World Series favorite, conspiring to throw the World Series for a big payday from Gamblers and Heavy underworld figures leaves many threads that are sometimes hard to follow, much like the real event.
Multiple factions of gamblers, players, owners, and mobsters not to be triffled with make up fueding and dwindling loyalties that are only as solid as the money or lack there of, that one can produce.
If there is a flaw it is what is not emphasized by the timeline of the story.
Namely that 1919 was the first season following the First World War that America was seeking a return to normalcy with baseball as needed distraction. Then there is recent research that sheds light on the complexity of the story, namely the motives for the players to agree to the scandal, not as black and white as the film would have you believe.
If you don't know the jist of the story's conclusion, you can watch this excellent 1988 baseball themed film that followed the popular Bull Durham and was forgotten after the classic 1989 Major League.
As for a mixture of drama, action and heart, you won't find a better period baseball themed movie. Here it's available on Blu-ray with excellent new features with new documentaries and commentary with Sayles.
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 3, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Actually sticks to the real main events that happened in the 1919 World Series fix
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Eight Men Out is about the infamous 1919 World Series where 8 members of the White Sox took money from gamblers to throw games. It’s an interesting take because they blame Sox owner Charles Comiskey for the scandal because he treated his players so bad. The movie actually stuck to the main events that happened in real life which I appreciated. That means you can actually learn something from watching it. Out of all the players John Cusack plays the most sympathetic one because of his plight.
Allen JacksonReviewed in the United States on December 5, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Finest Blu-ray picture quality I've ever seen--outstanding! Highly recommended Blu-ray. Superb retelling of infamous scandal.
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Simply outstanding Blu-ray rendition of probably the finest baseball movie ever made. I rank it ahead of even " 61* ", "A League of Their Own," and "Pride of the Yankees," the latter being a fine film about Lou Gehrig but weak in the baseball parts.

"Eight Men Out" is a period piece about the infamous fixing of the 1919 World Series by eight Chicago White Sox players, who did it with varying degrees of enthusiasm and reluctance, in cooperation with big-time gamblers who had approached them. This movie is based on the excellent 1963 Eliot Asinof book of the same name. The screenplay was written 11 years before this 1988 film was made, by director/writer John Sayles, who wrote a screenplay faithful to the true story. The resulting film is excellent at retelling the full story of how the 1919 "Black Sox" threw the World Series, as well as taking us back, quite well, to this era that opened the Roaring '20s. (This scandal damaged baseball hugely, and as I recall from my baseball research as a kid, Major League baseball came back primarily with the developing fame of a young Babe Ruth within a couple of years.) This film is true to the clothes, language, and cars of the times, generally, and also spends sufficient time on the all-important post-World Series discovery of the conspiracy, the hiring of well known Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis to investigate and pass judgment on this matter as the new lifetime Commissioner of Baseball, and takes us through that famous series of concluding events that resulted in lifetime bans from baseball for the eight players. (As I recall from my own childhood research, nobody got any "commutation of sentence" later on, either-- they were out for the rest of their lives as it turned out.)

The film also contains scenes showing how different groups of the conspiring gamblers were double-crossing ONE ANOTHER as well as the players they were conspiring with. An interesting side element of which I had been previously unaware.

The cast is absolutely top-drawer, including Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney (both of whom were already good high school and college baseball players, respectively, in real life), John Cusack, Michael Lerner, David Strathairn, Christopher Lloyd, Clifton James, Michael Rooker, John Mahoney, Studs Terkel, and several other fine actors.

As to the blu-ray picture quality--FANTASTIC! Looks absolutely PERFECT, ultra-sharp, with beautiful colors, clean and unflawed--this has just the most beautiful picture quality by far of any movie from the 1980s (or 1990s!) that I've ever seen, and I own a few hundred blu-rays. There is thankfully no phony grain added, it's just a very sharp, very clean picture. I had seen a beautiful print of this great film not long ago on the MGM-HD Channel, and was hoping the eventual Blu-ray would be as good-- and not adding in phony grain to degrade the picture quality, which these small Blu-ray production houses tend to do. But, this Blu-ray turned out even slightly BETTER than that excellent MGM-HD Channel presentation. I also have the DVD, and this Blu-ray's picture quality is far better, as one would have hoped.

There is also an extremely good "making of" documentary from the 2007 DVD included on the Blu-ray, about an hour long, primarily with director-writer John Sayles, also actor D.B. Sweeney (who played Shoeless Joe Jackson), and, to a lesser extent, a couple of other actors in the film. This documentary is extremely informative about the movie-making aspects of this film from the development stages, also including interesting discussions of the training in baseball of the actors, and why doing the baseball parts very well was important to the filmmakers. The other extra is a good trailer, also in very sharp picture-quality. Oddly, there are no subtitles available, not even in English.

Olive Films has produced the nicest Blu-ray of theirs that I've ever seen, most especially in regard to the spectacular Blu-ray picture quality, which is superior to that of virtually any other Blu-ray I've seen out of 300+ Blu-rays-- and without a doubt vs. 1980s and 1990s films on Blu-ray.

Highly recommended Blu-ray release!
30 people found this helpful
Mike TarraniReviewed in the United States on July 10, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Closely follows historical events; a John Sayles masterpiece
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I purchased my first copy of this DVD in January 2009 , and due to a scratch on the disc purchased another copy in October 2019. That underscores just how valuable the film is to me. While I am not necessarily a baseball (or any sports fan), I am a history buff and this piqued my interest.

Story line aside, I am a dyed-in-the-wool John Sayles fan, and although this is one of his earlier works, his writing and directing are as distinctive and recognizable as are those in every one of his films. He also has a role in this film (as Ring Lardner), which is another feature of most of his movies.

One of the things that keeps drawing me back to rewatching this movie for the umpteenth time is how the era is captured. I felt as though I was peering through a time machine back to 1919. The scenes were like old photos from the era, and even the vernacular was true to the era. Of course, there is a certain rhythm to Sayles' writing regardless of the story, and while the words spoken by the actors may be a bit archaic, the cadence is pure Sayles.

The cast, more than a few of whom show up in other Sayles films, were believable. I won't single anyone out for particularly convincing performances because it would take up a few more paragraphs. I will say that having Studs Terkle, cast as Hugh Fullerton who uncovered the 1919 scandal, was a great tough. Terkle was seven years old when the events depicted took place, so remembered the era and events.

If you love history, and especially if you want to be treated to the 1919 scandal in a fairly accurate manner with all the backstory and nuances included, this is a worthwhile film.
One person found this helpful
Michael Patrick BoydReviewed in the United States on November 23, 2008
4.0 out of 5 stars
Black Eye in Baseball
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Eight Men Out is one hour and fifty-nine minutes and was released in theaters on September 8, 1988. The movie tells the story about one of baseball's darkest days; the 1919 World Series scandal. Seven baseball players from the White Sox team decide to throw the World Series due to the own of the team poor treatment to the players. Though one of them, Buck Weaver, defends his innocents. The movie opens with the last game of the 1919 baseball season. The White Sox have won the American League Pennant and face the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. Gamblers start to think about bribing some of the White Sox players into throwing the World Series. Charles Arnold "Chick" Gandil let it be know that for the right amount of money that he would throw the World Series. He is approached by Joseph J. "Sport" Sullivan and Chick recruits seven more players. The only person that does not go along is Buck Weaver. The other six players who join Chick to fix the World Series are: Eddie Cicotte, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles "Swede" Risberg, and Claude "Lefty" Williams. The main reason for the players for throwing the World Series is their boss and owner of the White Sox Charles Comiskey. Charles was one of the cheapest owners of baseball and even making players pay for their cleaning of their uniforms. When Eddie Cicotte hit Morrie Rath on the second pitch; that was the signal that to the gamblers that the fix was on. The White Sox go on to loose the first and second game of the series. Dickie Kerr, the starting pitcher for game three and not involved with the fix, goes on to win game three. The Reds wins the next two games which put the Reds four games to one in a best of nine series. Dickie goes on to win game six. By the time game seven rolls around some of the players who have not been paid the full of amount for throwing the World Series revolt and decide to play clean baseball on game seven making the gamblers nervous. Lefty Williams is approach by one of the gamblers and tell him to loose or his wife dies. Lefty pitches a bad first inning and is pulled from the game, but not before the damage is done. The Reds go on to win the World Series. It was not until Hugh Fullerton starting writing articles and uncovering the scandal that a grand jury was assembled to investigate the allegations. All eight members of the 1919 White Sox are taken to court for gambling charges but were found not guilty. With baseball trying to clean up their act; owners from both leagues appointed Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first Commissioner of Baseball. Then Kenesaw in one of his first acts a Commissioner of Baseball banned all eight players for life. The aftermath of the eight players were:

Eddie Cicotte worked in various jobs after his ban included working in the Ford Motor Companay, berry farmer, and Game Warden.
Oscar "Happy" Felsch played on various semi-pro baseball leagues.
Joe "Shoeless" Jackson played or managed on various minor league teams for the next twenty years and after that ran a dry cleaning business and finally a liquor store called Joe Jackson's Liquor Store.
Fred McMullin-unknown
Charles "Swede" Risberg played semi-pro baseball for the next ten plus years. He played for a team called the Mesaba Range Black Sox. After his baseball career was over he worked on a dairy farm and a tavern and lumber business. He was the last of the eight to die.
George "Buck" Weaver tried six unsuccessful times for reinstatement to baseball before he passed away and failed all six times.
Claude "Lefty" Williams played briefly for the Fort Bayard Veterans and would wind up running a garden nursery business.

The movie seems to be true to fact, but it suggests it all took place in the same year. The players were not banned from baseball till the end of the 1920. If nothing else, I like the period clothing back then. Eight Men Out gets a B+.


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One person found this helpful
Andrew GeerReviewed in the United States on April 23, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Better Understanding of the Players and What Truly Caused the Scandal
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This film helps the audience learn what truly happened that led to the Black Sox scandal and caused the players to be banned from the major leagues. At least the players had a good reason for what they did wrong, and I feel pretty bad for some of them; especially Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson. One thing I have learned is that the scandal brought a curse upon the White Sox that made the franchise suffer a drought of almost 90 years without a title; which was the Curse of the Black Sox. That curse remained with the team until they finally won the World Series in 2005.
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
"Fortune's coming my way, that's why I don't care. I'm forever blowing ballgames and the gamblers treat us fair." - Ring Lardner
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It's understood that movies based on actual events take liberties with facts, but sometimes the distortions for the sake of dramatic license are so egregious something needs to be said. [[ASIN:B0010YSD90 EIGHT MEN OUT]] (1988) is a perfect example of too much recasting of history, and it's worth noting the storytelling began with [[ASIN:0805065377 Eliot Asinof's book of the same name]].

For just one example, the disgruntled players never schemed to throw the World Series after their bonus for winning the American League pennant turned out to be a few cases of flat champagne. Another is the notion that Joe Jackson's signature was an "X". True he was barely literate, but Shoeless Joe was able to sign his name.

The movie's epilogue has 3rd baseman Buck Weaver fighting every year to clear himself. True enough. But he did sit in conference with the conspirators and may not have tried to inform club owner Charles Comiskey. Jackson however DID go to "Commie" and was denied an audience, plus he was never at any of the meetings. Joe also twice refused the 5K payoff held by Swede Risberg, who finally just threw the cash on the floor. His World Series stats are exceptionally good, so if Joe was in on the "fix" you can't tell from the offensive figures. Jackson also fought tenaciously for absolution that was perennially denied, undoubtedly due to Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, a stubborn old man of fixed opinions.

BTW, no little kid ever whined "Say it ain't so, Joe, say it ain't so!"

Finally, during the Black Sox trial, Buck Weaver tells a concerned boy that he'll still be playing ball next year. Yet we're led to believe the news stories, grand jury hearings and trial all happened post-1919 season. In reality the ultimately condemned men played throughout 1920.

But as for entertainment. EIGHT MEN OUT is a terrific piece of semi-fiction with an outstanding cast that includes the film's director, John Sayles, who bears a close resemblance to his character, Chicago Trib sportswriter Ring Lardner. Definitely a film for all who are interested in early 20th Century history, and of course, baseball fans.
10 people found this helpful
Rod MonahanReviewed in the United States on September 13, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bestselling baseball story ever.
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All parts.
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