The Bad News Bears
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The success this underdog comedy from director Michael Ritchie almost single-handedly spawned the kids' sports film boom of the 1980s and '90s. When beer-breathed ex-minor-league ball player and professional pool cleaner Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) agrees to coach a little league team in the San Fernando Valley, he soon finds he's in over his head, having inherited an assortment of pint-sized peons and talentless losers. They play well-organized teams and lose by tremendous margins, and the parents threaten to disband the Bears to save the kids (and themselves) any further… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Surprisingly, improbably, The Bad News Bears is the year's funniest movie."
‑ Jay Cocks, TIME Magazine
"Amiably engrossing satire on the 'win ethic' that offers a take-it-or-leave-it approach to its serious points about enforcing precociousness on kids, but consistently delights with its panoramic comic invention."
‑ , Time Out
"A small winner."
‑ Jason Caro, Radio Times
"This charming, funny film takes a gentle poke at Little League baseball and the American obsession with winning."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"rude and very funny"
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"Michael Ritchie keeps his dead-end cynicism in check and produces a genuinely funny comedy about a Little League team managed by a lovably drunken Walter Matthau."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"[Ritchie] keeps the sentimentality in check most of the time and obtains first-rate performers from his miniature cast all of the time."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"[VIDEO ESSAY] Rife with every non-politically-correct social tic that '70s America had to offer, "The Bad News Bears" (1976) is a sports comedy that serves as a cultural benchmark."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Matthau's perfectly restrained, brilliantly comic performance holds it together."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The chemistry between Matthau and O'Neal makes it work."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"An extremely funny adult-child comedy film."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"[Ritchie] directs scenes for comedy even in the face of his disturbing material and that makes the movie all the more effective; sometimes we laugh, and sometimes we can't, and the movie's working best when we're silent."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"If all kids' movies were like this, you wouldn't need to drag parents to the multiplexes."
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"Remains the best film ever made about kids and sports."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"I've never understood what people thought was so great about this middling sports comedy."
‑ Rob Thomas, Capital Times (Madison, WI)
More reviews for The Bad News Bears on Rotten Tomatoes

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