Slap Shot (1977)

R | 123 mins | Comedy | 25 February 1977

Director:

George Roy Hill

Writer:

Nancy Dowd

Cinematographer:

Victor J. Kemper

Editor:

Dede Allen

Production Designer:

Henry Bumstead

Production Companies:

Kings Road Productions , Pan Arts
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HISTORY

       Writer Nancy Dowd based her script on the experiences of her brother Ned, a player for the Johnstown, PA, Jets of the North American Hockey League (1973-1977), according to a 3 Mar 1977 Newsweek article. She interviewed players and asked her brother to carry a tape recorder to capture the game’s off-ice flavor. Dowd reportedly sold her script to agents for $50,000 and the property was later resold for “a rumored $250,000. Although Newsweek stated that Dowd directed the television segment scenes in the film, she does not receive directorial credit onscreen. As noted in a 2 Jul 2007 Sports Illustrated article, Jeff Carlson, his brother Steve Carlson, and Dave Hanson, who portrayed the “Hanson” brothers in the film, all played for the Jets. A third Carlson brother, Jack, was originally hired to play “Jack Hanson,” but was called up by the Edmonton Oilers for the 1975-1976 World Hockey Association playoffs.
       A 1 Mar 1976 New York news item reported that director George Roy Hill held hockey tournaments in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, to test the skills of potential actors on the ice. Actor Peter Strauss, who was not cast in the movie, fractured his ankle and another actor required forty-four stitches.
       On 15 Mar 1976, Box stated that principal photography began that day in Johnstown. A 14 Jun 1976 Box article reported that the production filmed for over sixty days in Johnstown, then completed two days of shooting at Onondago County War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, NY, on 3 Jun 1976. There, 500 extras were used, in addition to 1,000-3,000 others who came ... More Less

       Writer Nancy Dowd based her script on the experiences of her brother Ned, a player for the Johnstown, PA, Jets of the North American Hockey League (1973-1977), according to a 3 Mar 1977 Newsweek article. She interviewed players and asked her brother to carry a tape recorder to capture the game’s off-ice flavor. Dowd reportedly sold her script to agents for $50,000 and the property was later resold for “a rumored $250,000. Although Newsweek stated that Dowd directed the television segment scenes in the film, she does not receive directorial credit onscreen. As noted in a 2 Jul 2007 Sports Illustrated article, Jeff Carlson, his brother Steve Carlson, and Dave Hanson, who portrayed the “Hanson” brothers in the film, all played for the Jets. A third Carlson brother, Jack, was originally hired to play “Jack Hanson,” but was called up by the Edmonton Oilers for the 1975-1976 World Hockey Association playoffs.
       A 1 Mar 1976 New York news item reported that director George Roy Hill held hockey tournaments in Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, to test the skills of potential actors on the ice. Actor Peter Strauss, who was not cast in the movie, fractured his ankle and another actor required forty-four stitches.
       On 15 Mar 1976, Box stated that principal photography began that day in Johnstown. A 14 Jun 1976 Box article reported that the production filmed for over sixty days in Johnstown, then completed two days of shooting at Onondago County War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, NY, on 3 Jun 1976. There, 500 extras were used, in addition to 1,000-3,000 others who came to see star Paul Newman. The production moved to War Memorial Auditorium in Utica, NY, 4 Jun 1976, and planned to continue at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, and for two days in Hollywood, CA. A 2 Mar 1977 Var article estimated the budget $6 million.
       Many critics cited the movie for setting a new standard in its use of obscenities. Reviews were mixed, but in the 26 Feb 1977 NYT, Vincent Canby wrote that Slap Shot “has a kind of vitality to it that overwhelms most of the questions relating to consistency of character and point of view.”
       Due to home video and frequent showings on cable television, the film developed a cult following. More than twenty years after the first movie, two direct-to-video sequels, Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002) and Slap Shot 3: The Junior League (2008), were released. Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, and Dave Hanson reprised their roles as the Hanson brothers in both sequels.
      End credits include the following acknowledgment: “With special thanks to John Mitchell and his Johnstown Jets.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Mar 1976.
---
Box Office
14 Jun 1976.
---
Box Office
7 Mar 1977.
---
Cue
5 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1977
p. 3, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1977
p. 3, 15.
LAHExam
25 Feb 1977
Section B, p. 7.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
18 Mar 1977
p. 16.
Los Angeles Free Press
25 Feb-3 Mar 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Feb 1977
p. 1.
Mademoiselle
May 1977
p. 42, 58.
Motion Picture Product Digest
16 Mar 1977.
---
New Republic
14 Mar 1977.
---
New Times
1 Apr 1977.
---
New West
14 Mar 1977
pp. 80-81.
New York
1 Mar 1976.
---
New York
7 Mar 1977
p. 76.
New York Times
26 Feb 1977
p. 11.
New Yorker
7 Mar 1977
pp. 91-93.
Newsweek
7 Mar 1977
pp. 68-69.
Orange Coast Newport Life
Undated.
---
Playboy
May 1977.
---
Saturday Review
2 Apr 1977.
---
Sports Illustrated
2 Jul 2007.
---
Time
14 Mar 1977.
---
UCLA Daily Bruin
24 Feb 1977
---
Variety
2 Mar 1977
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A George Roy Hill Film
A Pan Arts Presentation
A Friedman/Wunsch Production Associated with Kings Road Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles & opt eff
MAKEUP
Make-up
Make-up
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Talent coord
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
"Right Back Where We Started From," written by J. Vincent Edwards and Pierre Richard Roman Tubbs, performed by Maxine Nightingale, courtesy of United Artists Records
"Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," written by Elton John and Bernard J.P. Taupin, performed by Elton John, courtesy of MCA/Rocket Records
"Rhiannon," written by Stephanie Nicks, performed by Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Reprise Records
+
SONGS
"Right Back Where We Started From," written by J. Vincent Edwards and Pierre Richard Roman Tubbs, performed by Maxine Nightingale, courtesy of United Artists Records
"Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," written by Elton John and Bernard J.P. Taupin, performed by Elton John, courtesy of MCA/Rocket Records
"Rhiannon," written by Stephanie Nicks, performed by Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Reprise Records
"Say That You Love Me," written by Christy McVie, performed by Fleetwood Mac, courtesy of Reprise Records
"A Little Bit Of Saskatoon," written by Sonny James and Carole Smith, performed by Sonny James, courtesy of Columbia Records
"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," written by Vini Poncia and Gerard Hugh Sayer, performed by Leo Sayer, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
"Lady Of Spain," music by Tolchard Evans
"The Star-Spangled Banner," music by John Stafford Smith
"The Stripper," music by David Rose
"Yankee Doodle Dandy," music by George M. Cohan.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 February 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 Feb 1977
Production Date:
began 15 Mar 1976 in Johnstown, PA; Syracuse, NY; Utica, NY; Hamilton, NY; Hollywood, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, LLLP
Copyright Date:
25 February 1977
Copyright Number:
LP48513
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
123
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Charlestown Chiefs are a poorly performing minor-league hockey team playing in a northeast mill town. On the ice, veteran player-coach Reggie "Reg" Dunlop leads the Chiefs to the lower rungs of the Federal League standings. After yet another loss, the team’s publicity-seeking manager, Joe McGrath, books the players for a fashion show where team captain Johnny Upton exposes himself to the mostly female audience. Later, while walking through town, Reg informs his Princeton-educated star, Ned Braden, that the mill is closing and that 10,000 workers, the team’s fan base, will soon be out of jobs. Ned’s wife Lily picks them up in the couple’s van and makes it clear that she hates Charlestown and living the life of a hockey wife. At the team’s office, McGrath asks Reg to retrieve some newly acquired players. McGrath reminds Reg that he only has a few seasons left as a player, so McGrath is training him for the front office. At the bus station, Reg meets the unruly Hanson brothers, Jeff, Steve, and Jack. Back at the arena, Reg confronts McGrath, accusing him of acquiring low-salaried players, regardless of whether they can play. That night, the team unwinds at a bar where Reg compliments sportswriter Dickie Dunn on his column. Later, Reg’s estranged wife Francine warns him that, as soon as the mill closes, the Chiefs will fold and she worries over what will happen to him. At an away game against the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Gears, the Chiefs are relieved to learn that “Ogie” Ogilthorpe, a notoriously violent player, has been suspended. Also, Ned overhears McGrath on the phone, soliciting a job for next season. As the Gears rout the Chiefs, ... +


The Charlestown Chiefs are a poorly performing minor-league hockey team playing in a northeast mill town. On the ice, veteran player-coach Reggie "Reg" Dunlop leads the Chiefs to the lower rungs of the Federal League standings. After yet another loss, the team’s publicity-seeking manager, Joe McGrath, books the players for a fashion show where team captain Johnny Upton exposes himself to the mostly female audience. Later, while walking through town, Reg informs his Princeton-educated star, Ned Braden, that the mill is closing and that 10,000 workers, the team’s fan base, will soon be out of jobs. Ned’s wife Lily picks them up in the couple’s van and makes it clear that she hates Charlestown and living the life of a hockey wife. At the team’s office, McGrath asks Reg to retrieve some newly acquired players. McGrath reminds Reg that he only has a few seasons left as a player, so McGrath is training him for the front office. At the bus station, Reg meets the unruly Hanson brothers, Jeff, Steve, and Jack. Back at the arena, Reg confronts McGrath, accusing him of acquiring low-salaried players, regardless of whether they can play. That night, the team unwinds at a bar where Reg compliments sportswriter Dickie Dunn on his column. Later, Reg’s estranged wife Francine warns him that, as soon as the mill closes, the Chiefs will fold and she worries over what will happen to him. At an away game against the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Gears, the Chiefs are relieved to learn that “Ogie” Ogilthorpe, a notoriously violent player, has been suspended. Also, Ned overhears McGrath on the phone, soliciting a job for next season. As the Gears rout the Chiefs, Ned tells Reg what he heard, so Reg goes to the locker room where McGrath confirms this will be the Chiefs’ last season. That night, the players commiserate and watch television in a hotel room. Reg visits an old friend, Suzanne, and, as they make love, she tells him that she has been sleeping with only women since she left her abusive husband, Hanrahan, the goalie for Long Island, New York. Back in Charlestown, Reg visits Dickie and suggests that a community in Florida is interested in buying the Chiefs. Later, the Chiefs play Long Island and Reg baits Hanrahan about his wife being a lesbian. Hanrahan is so upset that he gives up several goals and goes after Reg, triggering a brawl. The Chiefs are victorious, but Ned calls it a “garbage win.” Back in Charlestown, Reg sees Lily drinking alcohol in the park and joins her. Across the street, they see Ned with another woman, and Reg propositions Lily. Meanwhile, the team watches a soap opera on a bar room television and read Dickie’s newspaper story about a group in St. Petersburg, Florida, negotiating to buy the team. Prior to that night’s game, Reg tells player Dave Carlson that other teams mock Reg about his age. During the game, Reg provokes an opposing player who says Reg is too old and Carlson retaliates. Reg notices the crowd’s reaction and finally lets the Hansons play, and they become instant fan favorites. Reg has goalie Denis Lemieux ask McGrath who the mysterious owner of the Chiefs is, but the manager says he does not know. Later, the team watches a touring ice show and goes out with some of the skaters. Reg becomes jealous when he sees Francine with another man. The team embarks on a road trip and is joined by their booster club as Reg fuels the players’ belief that the owner is close to selling the team. In Peterborough, Canada, the Chiefs fight with the Patriots during warm-ups. On the bus to the next game, Dave Carlson announces he is changing his name to “Killer.” Ned tells Reg he will not play dirty. In Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, an angry crowd greets the Chiefs and the team and the boosters respond by exposing their bare bottoms. On the ice, the Chiefs rout the home team and Jeff Hanson is hit in the face by a thrown set of keys. When the Hansons brawl with the fans, the local police arrest them; however, Reg, McGrath, and Ned bail them out. Back in Johnstown, the players’ wives become intoxicated in the parking lot while waiting for the team to return. Ned has the team bus drop him off at a bar, leaving Lily waiting in the lot. Reg again tries to seduce her, but she takes him home before anything happens. The next day, at a soda fountain, the team celebrates and the town shows their support. When Reg meets Francine on the street, she tells him she is moving to Long Island. Back at the office, Reg does not think McGrath’s new marketing campaign is tough enough. He reminds McGrath of the time he caught McGrath wearing women’s lingerie. Later, during a radio interview, Reg offers a $100 bounty on the head of the Syracuse, New York, player-coach, Tim McCracken. At his apartment, Reg tries to nap before the game, but is interrupted by phone calls from McGrath, complaining about the bounty, and “Killer” Carlson, who wants to collect it. Then, after leaving Ned, Lily arrives with all her possessions, including the dog, and Reg finally falls asleep. Later, he arrives at the arena to find brawling fans lined up has a confrontation with the Syracuse players. The game starts and Ned gets an early goal. McCracken slams Ned against the boards and challenges him to a fight, but Ned ignores him and “Killer” goes after McCracken. When Reg calls Ned a coward and tells him he will play again when he is ready to fight, Ned punches his teammate and storms up to the broadcast booth to air his grievances. The next day, Reg takes Lily to the beauty salon where Francine works then visits the team’s mysterious owner and discovers she is a widow named Anita McCambridge. She compliments him for promoting the sale to Florida, but claims that the Chiefs are more valuable as a tax write-off if she folds them. Later, Reg cringes when he hears “Killer” on the radio, crediting Reg for his success. Driving to Ned’s house, Reg sees someone in the adjacent woods and calls out, but Ned does not answer. Reg says that Ned does not have to fight, adding that he is sick of violence, there probably will not be a sale and they might as well try to win their final game in Charlestown for the championship. At the arena, Reg admits to the team that he made up the possible sale to Florida and the Chiefs are unable to continue on. As this is his last game, Reg says he wants to win by playing legitimate hockey. When the Syracuse Bulldogs are introduced, they have added some infamous thugs to the roster, including Oglethorpe. The Bulldogs immediately attack the Chiefs, who do not fight back. Between periods, the battered Chiefs retreat to the locker room and McGrath screams that there are National Hockey League scouts in the stands. When the game resumes, Reg and the Chiefs revert to their rough ways. The game devolves into mayhem with the crowd shouting, “Kill! Kill! Kill!” Meanwhile, Francine and Lily take their seats. Ned sits on the bench, the lone non-combatant, and notices his wife’s beauty shop makeover. He skates onto the ice and performs a slow striptease amid the fighting. The Chiefs’ band plays “The Stripper.” The other players gradually take notice and stop fighting. McCracken tries to protest, but the referee refuses to listen and McCracken slugs him in retaliation. The referee awards the Chiefs the championship by forfeit. To the crowd’s delight, Ned, wearing only skates and a jockstrap, carries the trophy. Later, the Chiefs celebrate with a parade through downtown Charlestown. Reg, McGrath, and the reconciled Ned and Lily, ride in a car with the trophy. Reg sees Francine and tells her that he has a job for next season coaching the Minnesota Nighthawks, noting that if she needs anything, or if things do not work out, she knows where to find him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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