The Bad News Bears – The Best Baseball Movie Ever Made
Some might disagree and say Field of Dreams, The Natural, A League of Their Own or Pride of The Yankees are better films. While those are all excellent movies, the 1976 Bad News Bears has an honesty and appeal that has endured for over 40 years. It’s also not just about baseball, it is about real life and overcoming challenges and disappointments. By the way, you can forget the lame remake in 2006 that failed at every level.
Yes, it’s been 40 years since the release of The Bad News Bears. That just blows my mind. I was a kid in 1976 and could very strongly relate to the action on the screen with things happening in my little league and off the field experiences.
Viewing the film now, I believe this exact version, line for line and scene for scene, could not and would not be made today. The world has become too politically correct and “sensitive.” The kids use the “n” word liberally. Pre-teens drink alcohol. 12 kids ride with beer-drinking Walter Matthau (while he’s behind the wheel) in an overloaded convertible, all of them not wearing seat belts. The fact that the film mirrored the way kids behaved and talked like in real life would probably upset too many people nowadays.
The Bad News Bear deals with things that are relevant in 2016. Sex, racism, birth control, sore pitching arms and nightmare little league parents. They are all contemporary threads that run through the comedic antics of the Bears.
This article that appeared earlier this year in the New York Daily News is absolutely phenomenal. Writer Christian Red interviewed many people involved in the filming of the classic movie including star Tatum O’Neal, producer Stanley Jaffe and many of the young stars who are all now 52 or older.
If you’ve never seen The Bad News Bears don’t read the article, as it has many spoilers.