Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Bad News Bears (1976)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Bad News Bears (1976)

In Michael Ritchie's realistic, underdog baseball sports comedy-movie, an un-PC mid-1970s classic about the failing Little League team of the Bears (with some of the least skilled players) from LA's San Fernando Valley, coached by washed-up, drunken, hang-dog, ex-minor league pitcher and professional pool cleaner:

  • during the team's first practice, coach Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) complained to his obnoxious, overweight and chubby catcher Mike Engelberg (Gary Lee Cavagnaro): "There's chocolate all over this ball"; Engelberg replied: "People are always buggin' me about it. My shrink says that's why I'm so fat. So you're not doing me any good, so just quit it!"
  • Buttermaker became further exasperated at his talentless team during practice when no one moved to pick up a B-U-N-T, and then catcher Engelberg made a wild throw to first base and broke his parked convertible's front windshield; simmering with anger, Buttermaker delivered a run-down of the basic rules of baseball by his car: "All right, boys. Let's get back to basics. This is a baseball. The object of the game is to keep the baseball within the confines of the playing field"
  • the rag-tag misfit team that Buttermaker eventually assembled was a group of very juvenile "bad news" ball players, with anti-authoritarian attitudes, obnoxious behavior, and obscene language, including: profanity-spewing, racist-talking, short-tempered shortstop Tanner Boyle (Chris Barnes), nerdy, bookwormish, stats-obsessed backup player Alfred Ogilvie (Alfred W. Lutter), booger-eating, bullied and withdrawn outcast right-fielder Timmy Lupus (Quinn Smith), black Muslim, Hank Aaron-idolizing outfielder Ahmad (Erin Blunt), Harley-Davidson-riding, cigarette-smoking trouble-maker and outfielder Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley)
  • Tanner demeaningly insulted his entire team: "All we got on this team is a bunch of Jews, spics, niggers, pansies, and a booger-eatin' moron" - followed by teammate Alfred's clever warning: "Tanner, I think you should be reminded from time to time that you're one of the few people on this team who's not a Jew, spic, nigger, pansy, or booger-eating moron. So you better cool it, or we may be disposed to beat the crap outta you"

Tanner's Racist Insult of the Entire Team

Alfred's Taunting Warning to Tanner
  • on opening day, the Bears team were miserably defeated by the Yankees, coached by aggressive Roy Turner (Vic Morrow) who encouraged Buttermaker to withdraw or drop out of the league: ("Your team has no right bein' on that field"); the Bears forfeited the game and declared defeat after the Yankees scored 26 runs without a single out; afterwards, feeling disgraced, demoralized and shamed by the loss due to his errors, team-member Ahmad stripped off his uniform and climbed a nearby tree, where Buttermaker convincingly urged him to return to the team
Opening Day - The Team's Disgraceful First Game

Bears Team Photo

Yankees Coach Roy Turner (Vic Morrow)

Ahmad Expressing Humiliaton About Loss
  • Buttermaker engaged in his first talk with 11 year-old, tough-talking Amanda Whurlizer (Tatum O'Neal) (the daughter of one of Buttermaker's ex-girlfriends); he used to coach her fast-ball pitching a few years earlier; Amanda was initially opposed to speaking to coach Buttermaker about being on his team: "I'm through with pitching. My mom says you almost ruined me with that, that sports stuff...That fast ball you taught me put my arm in a sling"
  • Amanda blamed him for his irresponsible behavior and frequent drunkenness, his role as a 'father figure,' and ultimately his failed relationship with her mother: "You handled it like s--t...Look, Buttermaker, you're not my father and I ain't interested in playing baseball for you any more. So why don't you get back into that sardine can of yours and go, go vacuum the bottom of the Pacific Ocean? I've got business to take care of. You're blocking my customers with your car" - she resumed selling maps to movie-stars' homes
  • during a second visit with Amanda, Buttermarker doggedly recruited the reluctant Amanda who insisted she was through being a tomboy, and was an aspiring model who was starting ballet lessons; she was convincing: "I'm almost 12, and I'll, I'll be getting a bra soon. Well, maybe in a year or so. I can't be playing no dumb baseball"
  • remaining dogged, he downplayed his interest in her: "You're right. You're absolutely right. You're turning into a regular little lady. It was a dumb idea anyway. I mean, you wouldn't have helped the team much. I mean, you were great when you were 9, but girls reach their peak athletically about that age. Probably haven't picked up a ball in two years anyway"; Amanda spoke up and bragged about how she was actually practicing her pitching in secret: "Got my curve breaking 2 1/2 feet"; they agreed on a bet of $20 dollars for her to prove it"; he knew he had her hooked when she started throwing pitches at him
Buttermaker's 2nd Effort to Recruit Amanda to Play Ball
  • while riding in his car, she still acted resistant and bargained for favors and incentives, such as paid ballet and modeling lessons, and imported French jeans; Buttermaker complained: "Who do you think you are, Catfish Hunter?", but she didn't know who he was ("Who's he?"); he was able to convince her to join the team - the team's only girl, a curve-ball pitcher
  • when she was brought to the team and introduced, Tanner demeaned Amanda: "Jews, spics, niggers, and now a girl?" - she shot back: "Grab a bat, punk!"
  • Buttermaker enforced the league rule that everyone on the team had to wear a cup and an athletic supporter: "Gotta be worn at all times.... Either you wear 'em or you don't play"; Amanda asserted: "You ain't strapping one of these things on me," followed by the entire team's refusal: "If she don't wear one, I don't wear one" - they all tossed their boxes of supporters back at the coach
  • during the climactic, exciting championship game against the Bears' arch-rivals, the Yankees, Amanda was kicked in the chest during a spiked slide and play at home plate when she backed up the catcher, leading to a major fight between her team to defend her against their rivals; she told Buttermaker: ("I know I don't have too much up there, but what I got sure don't feel too good")
  • also, the demanding and competitive coach Roy Turner reprimanded his pitcher son Joey Turner (Brandon Cruz) for almost beaning Bears' catcher Engelberg at bat with a wild pitch; after coach Turner slapped his son to the ground at the mound, on the next pitch, Joey allowed a ground ball to the pitcher's mound to become an inside-the-park homerun by holding onto the ball, to retaliate against and defy his father; as he left the park, he dropped the ball at his father's feet
Coach Turner's Vicious Treatment of Pitcher Son Joey - With Retaliation

Joey Slapped to Ground

Holding Onto Ground Ball Without Fielding It

Joey Leaving the Game After Defying His Father
  • by game's end, it was lost narrowly by the Bears (by only one run, 7-6) who were awarded a smaller second-place trophy; one of the Yankee players spoke up: "You guys played a good game. And we treated you pretty unfair all season. We want to apologize. We still don't think you're all that good a baseball team. You got guts, alla ya"
  • the defeated team refused to acknowledge the win; Lupus tossed their small trophy at the condescending winners as Tanner yelled out: "Hey Yankees. You can take your apology and your trophy and shove it straight up your ass!"; the shy Lupus challenged them: "And another thing, just wait 'til next year," and then the Bears players celebrated and doused themselves with beer (as if they had won the game) - as the film concluded

Tanner: "You can take your apology and your trophy and shove it straight up your ass!"

Timmy Lupus: "And another thing, just wait 'til next year"

Buttermaker: "There's chocolate all over this ball"

Catcher Engelbert's Response: "Quit bugging me about my food!"

Buttermaker's Speech: "Let's get back to basics"

All of the Players in Buttermaker's Car

Amanda's Feelings of Blame Toward 'Father Figure' Buttermaker

Amanda Riding in Car with Buttermaker

Enforcement of Rules - Passing out Jock Straps and Cups

Amanda: "You ain't strapping one of these things on me"

Amanda Spiked in the Chest

Championship Game

Championship Game's 1st Place Trophy

A Small Second Place Trophy Was Awarded to the Bears


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