Bull Durham (1988)

R | 106 mins | Comedy | 15 June 1988

Director:

Ron Shelton

Writer:

Ron Shelton

Producers:

Thom Mount, Mark Burg

Cinematographer:

Robert Byrne

Production Designer:

Armin Ganz

Production Company:

Mount Company
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HISTORY

       Working titles included National Pastime and A Player To Be Named Later.
       Writer-director Ron Shelton played minor league baseball for five years, as noted in a 5 Apr 2002 NYT article. In 1979, he penned a screenplay titled A Player To Be Named Later that caught the attention of Universal Pictures’ president, Thom Mount. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Mount, who went on to become co-owner of the Durham Bulls and four other minor league baseball teams, encouraged Shelton to overhaul the script, keeping only the two main characters, “the journeyman catcher and the screwy young pitcher.” After leaving Universal to become an independent producer, Mount secured financing for the $9 million film from Orion Pictures, as noted in a 10 Jan 1988 LAT article. Lead actor Kevin Costner, who played “Crash Davis,” reportedly received a salary of $3 million.
       Shelton selected the name of the character, Crash Davis, from a minor league baseball encyclopedia, and the real-life Davis called him after hearing about the film to promise he would not sue, as noted in a 1 Dec 1994 LAT news item. The men became friends and Shelton later cast Davis in his 1994 film Cobb (see entry). According to a 13 Nov 1988 LAHExam news item, actor Kurt Russell, who played minor league baseball until the age of twenty-two, was eager to play Crash and agreed to do the movie before Kevin Costner was cast.
       During pre-production, Costner practiced at a batting cage near his home in Pasadena, CA. Also prior to filming, a two-week baseball camp ... More Less

       Working titles included National Pastime and A Player To Be Named Later.
       Writer-director Ron Shelton played minor league baseball for five years, as noted in a 5 Apr 2002 NYT article. In 1979, he penned a screenplay titled A Player To Be Named Later that caught the attention of Universal Pictures’ president, Thom Mount. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Mount, who went on to become co-owner of the Durham Bulls and four other minor league baseball teams, encouraged Shelton to overhaul the script, keeping only the two main characters, “the journeyman catcher and the screwy young pitcher.” After leaving Universal to become an independent producer, Mount secured financing for the $9 million film from Orion Pictures, as noted in a 10 Jan 1988 LAT article. Lead actor Kevin Costner, who played “Crash Davis,” reportedly received a salary of $3 million.
       Shelton selected the name of the character, Crash Davis, from a minor league baseball encyclopedia, and the real-life Davis called him after hearing about the film to promise he would not sue, as noted in a 1 Dec 1994 LAT news item. The men became friends and Shelton later cast Davis in his 1994 film Cobb (see entry). According to a 13 Nov 1988 LAHExam news item, actor Kurt Russell, who played minor league baseball until the age of twenty-two, was eager to play Crash and agreed to do the movie before Kevin Costner was cast.
       During pre-production, Costner practiced at a batting cage near his home in Pasadena, CA. Also prior to filming, a two-week baseball camp took place in Durham, NC, led by baseball consultant and ex-umpire Pete Bock; there, fifty actors and local baseball players tried out for roles that Bock helped cast.
       Principal photography was slated to begin 8 Oct 1987 in Durham, NC, as stated in a 25 Sep 1987 HR brief; however, a DV item of the same date named 7 Oct 1987 as the start date, while 27 Oct 1987 HR production charts reported that filming began 5 Oct 1987. Crew members painted the stands of Durham’s El Toro Stadium green and yellow, and a new sign was erected at the entrance that read: “Welcome to El Toro Stadium, Home of the Durham Bills – the Greatest Show on Dirt.” Instead of using the stadium’s locker room, a set was built at a factory warehouse in downtown Durham. The 10 Jan 1988 LAT noted that production was still underway, and below-freezing temperatures made for uncomfortable filming conditions for cast members dressed in late-summer attire and shooting mostly outdoors.
       A 3 Jun 1988 HR item reported that Bull Durham was set to open 15 Jun 1988 on 1,200 screens. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $5 million on 1,238 screens, according to the 23 Jun 1988 HR, while the 21 Jun 1988 LAT noted that it took in $6.4 million in box-office receipts in the first five days.
       Critical reception was mixed. Consistent praise went to Shelton’s depiction of the minor league baseball world and the game itself, with the 1 Aug 1988 New Republic review deeming the baseball sequences “very good indeed” but the rest of the story bland, and sometimes offensive. Calling it a “fanciful and funny bush league sports story,” the 10 Jun 1988 DV review praised Shelton’s writing and Costner’s performance, but criticized Susan Sarandon’s character “Annie Savoy” as unbelievable and old-fashioned; similarly, the HR review of the same date described the film as “ambitious” and well-crafted but complained that Annie came across as a “dingbat...way out in left field.”
       Ron Shelton won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Screenplay, Written Directly for the Screen, as well as Best Screenplay honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Society of Film Critics. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, and received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, and Best Original Song (“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Bernard Hanighen, Gordon Jenkins, Johnny Mercer).
       Actor Tim Robbins, who played “Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh,” donated his Durham Bulls uniform to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, according to a 25 Jun 1999 LAT brief. Although the Baseball Hall of Fame later organized a fifteenth-anniversary screening of Bull Durham, the event was cancelled by Dale Petroskey, the president of the organization, who refused to condone Robbins’s vocal opposition to the Iraq War, as noted in a 25 Apr 2003 NYT article. The anniversary screening was moved to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY, with Robbins, Sarandon, and Shelton in attendance.
       The film marked Ron Shelton’s feature film directorial debut.

      The following photo acknowledgements appear in end credits: Babe Ruth, courtesy of Nat Fein; Fernando Valenzuela, courtesy of UPI/Bettman Newsphotos; Willie Mays, Ed Gaedel, Jackie Robinson, courtesy of AP/Wide World Photos; “Playground in a Tenement Alley,” courtesy of George Eastman House; Pete Rose, courtesy of The Sporting News. End credits also include thanks to the following individuals and organizations: Paula Abdul; Adidas; Alaia; Aurora Allain; American Airlines; The Asheville Tourists; David Berman; The Burlington Indians; The City of Durham, NC; The D.C. May Company; Tim Devine; The Durham Bulls; Durham Police & Fire Depts.; Leigh French; Greg Gorman; The Greensboro Hornets; Holly Farms Chicken; Bruce Lundvall; Mitch’s Tavern; North Carolina Highway Patrol; North Carolina Film Commission; Larry O’Brian; Rock Mount Parks and Recreation; Ducky Shaw; David Slade; Paul Smith, Ltd.; Randy Smith (Umpire); Sharon Swab; The Texas Rangers; Keith Underwood; Carlton White (Bull Mascot); Wilson Parks & Recreation; Wilson Sporting Goods; WMAG-FM; Miles Wolff; WRDU-FM; Yohji Yamamoto.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1987.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1988.
---
Daily Variety
10 Jun 1988
p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 1988
p. 3, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1988.
---
LAHExam
13 Nov 1988
Section A, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1988
Section K, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jun 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jun 1988
Section H, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1994
Section C, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1999.
---
New Republic
1 Aug 1988.
---
New York Times
15 Jun 1988
Section C, p. 20.
New York Times
3 Jul 1988
Section A, p. 1.
New York Times
25 Apr 2003
Section B, p. 2.
Variety
15 Jun 1988
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Mount Company Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
2d unit dir
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
Best boy
Lamp op
Musco light op
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Video playback op
Addl photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept asst
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc set dec
Key scenic artist
Set painter
Key dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Ballpark organist
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR/Foley rec
ADR/Foley rec
ADR mixer
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Sd mixer, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Title des
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Financial representative
Prod consultant
Post prod auditor
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Unit pub
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Mount
Asst to Mr. Burg
Asst to Mr. Shelton
Asst to Mr. Costner
Loc casting
Loc casting asst
Asst to Bonnie Timmermann
Asst to Bonnie Timmermann
Caterer
Baseball consultant
Baseball trainer
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Photo researcher
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Centerfield," written and performed by John Fogerty, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Rock Around The Clock," written by Jimmy DeKnight and Max Friedman, performed by Bill Haley & The Comets, courtesy of MCA Records
"Try A Little Tenderness," written by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell & Reg Connelly, performed by Dr. John and Bennie Wallace
+
SONGS
"Centerfield," written and performed by John Fogerty, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Rock Around The Clock," written by Jimmy DeKnight and Max Friedman, performed by Bill Haley & The Comets, courtesy of MCA Records
"Try A Little Tenderness," written by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell & Reg Connelly, performed by Dr. John and Bennie Wallace
"Sixty Minute Man," written by William E. Ward and Rose Marks, performed by The Dominoes, courtesy of G.M.L., Inc.
"Baseball Boogie," written and performed by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter
"Only A Memory," written by Pat DiNinzio, performed by The Smithereens
"Born To Be Bad," written by George Thorogood, performed by George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers
"You Done Me Wrong," written and performed by Pat McLaughlin
"When Will I Be Loved," written by Phil Everly, performed by The Everly Brothers
"Middle of Nowhere," written by Gina Schock and Vance DeGeneres, performed by House of Schock
"All Night Dance," written by Bennie Wallace, performed by Bennie Wallace, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Mac "Dr. John" Rabennack
"Woman Loves A Man," written by Hanighen, Jenkins, Mercer, performed by Joe Cocker
"I Idolize You," written by Ike Turner, performed by Ike & Tina Turner
"La Vie En Rose," written by Louiguy, Piaf, David, performed by Edith Piaf, courtesy of EMI-Pathe Marconi
"So Long Baby, Goodbye," written by Dave Alvin, performed by The Blasters, courtesy of Slash Records/Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Love Ain't No Triple Play," written and performed by Bennie Wallace/Mac "Dr. John" Rabennack
"Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," written by C. Dumont, M. Vaucaire, performed by Edith Piaf, courtesy of EMI-Pathe Marconi
"I Got Loaded," written by Camille Bob, performed by Los Lobos, courtesy of Slash Records/Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Can't Tear It Up Enuff," written by Kim Wilson, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, courtesy of Bruco Music.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 June 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 June 1988
Production Date:
began early October 1987 in Durham, NC
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
7 November 1988
Copyright Number:
PA392721
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Camera and lenses by Panavision ®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29162
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Annie Savoy attends a minor league baseball game in her hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Annie, who sleeps with a different player on the Durham Bulls team every year, swears by her ability to improve a player’s performance by making love to him for the duration of the season. As the game is about to start, head coach Joe “Skip” Riggins finds new pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh having sex with a local girl named Millie in the locker room. Skip berates Ebby, reminding him that he is about to make his professional debut. In the stands, Millie informs Annie that Ebby’s lovemaking is like his pitching, “sort of all over the place.” After the game, veteran player Crash Davis arrives and Skip offers to hire him as the new catcher, hoping Crash will mentor Ebby. Although Crash feels he is too old for the sport, he accepts. Later, the team unwinds at a local bar where Crash flirts with Annie but says he does not dance. Ebby interrupts to thank Annie for a note she sent him during the game, and the two men fight over her. Taking their quarrel outside, Crash challenges Ebby to throw a baseball at his body, but Ebby misses. Humiliated, Ebby charges at him, but Crash punches Ebby, then introduces himself as the new catcher. Annie invites both men to accompany her back home, where she informs them of her habit of sleeping with a new player each season. Although she announces that Crash and Ebby are her top contenders, Crash turns her down, offended. Puzzled by his rejection, Annie returns to Ebby, who allows her to tie him to the bed but ... +


Annie Savoy attends a minor league baseball game in her hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Annie, who sleeps with a different player on the Durham Bulls team every year, swears by her ability to improve a player’s performance by making love to him for the duration of the season. As the game is about to start, head coach Joe “Skip” Riggins finds new pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh having sex with a local girl named Millie in the locker room. Skip berates Ebby, reminding him that he is about to make his professional debut. In the stands, Millie informs Annie that Ebby’s lovemaking is like his pitching, “sort of all over the place.” After the game, veteran player Crash Davis arrives and Skip offers to hire him as the new catcher, hoping Crash will mentor Ebby. Although Crash feels he is too old for the sport, he accepts. Later, the team unwinds at a local bar where Crash flirts with Annie but says he does not dance. Ebby interrupts to thank Annie for a note she sent him during the game, and the two men fight over her. Taking their quarrel outside, Crash challenges Ebby to throw a baseball at his body, but Ebby misses. Humiliated, Ebby charges at him, but Crash punches Ebby, then introduces himself as the new catcher. Annie invites both men to accompany her back home, where she informs them of her habit of sleeping with a new player each season. Although she announces that Crash and Ebby are her top contenders, Crash turns her down, offended. Puzzled by his rejection, Annie returns to Ebby, who allows her to tie him to the bed but becomes disappointed when she remains clothed and reads aloud from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Although they do not sleep together that night, Annie and Ebby become a couple and she nicknames him “Nuke,” a name the other players embrace. Crash continues to clash with Nuke and warns him that his slovenly ways will never get him into the major leagues, which Crash refers to as “the show.” During his first game for the Bulls, Crash strikes out, distracted by thoughts of Annie. She sends him a note with a suggestion about his form and offers to work with him. The two go to a batting cage, where Annie admits she looked up Crash’s record and discovered he is twenty homeruns away from setting a minor league record. Ignoring her encouragement, Crash suggests they make love, but Annie says she is monogamous during the baseball season. Later, Annie accidentally calls Nuke “Crash” during sex. At the next game, Nuke rejects Crash’s signals for pitches, and Crash retaliates by alerting a hitter he is about to throw a fastball. The player hits a homerun off the pitch, and Nuke learns his lesson, following Crash’s signals for the rest of the game. Under Crash’s direction, Nuke’s pitching improves but remains inconsistent. As the team leaves town for a series of away games, Annie gives Nuke a garter belt as a parting gift and urges him to wear it under his uniform, promising the lingerie will put him in a different state of mind. On the team bus, Crash reveals he played in the major leagues for twenty-one days and suggests Nuke lacks the passion required to succeed in “the show.” The Bulls begin a losing streak on the road, but Crash hits well. When they return to Durham, Crash watches jealously as Annie greets Nuke at the bus. Suiting up for another game, Crash catches Nuke putting on Annie’s garter belt in the locker room. Embarrassed, Nuke explains Annie’s theory that the garter belt will keep his brain off-center, and also reveals that she ordered him to follow Crash’s signals. Although the first inning is rocky, Nuke’s pitching improves, and Crash hits a homerun. Later in the game, Crash instructs Nuke to throw a pitch at the mascot, and the wild ball successfully confuses the hitter, who strikes out afterward. The Bulls begin a winning streak, and Nuke frustrates Annie by swearing off sex as long as they continue to win. With Annie suffering from lack of sex, the team reaches a tie for first in the minor leagues. Nuke reveals to Crash that he is rechanneling his sexual energy, and Crash encourages him to remain celibate. Nuke relays Crash’s advice to Annie, who goes to Crash’s apartment and berates him for interrupting her sex life. While arguing, Annie is overcome with passion and declares that she wants Crash. He rejects her playfully and she announces this is the strangest baseball season of her life. When the team finally loses a game, Nuke brings his father to meet Annie at her house. They are interrupted by a phone call from Skip Riggins, who reports that a major league team wants Nuke, and he must leave the next morning. Elated, Nuke shares a heartfelt goodbye with Annie and returns her garter belt. Later that night, Nuke finds Crash drunk at a pool hall and tells him the good news. Complaining that Nuke is not worthy of his talent, Crash provokes a fight, but Nuke punches him cold. The next day, Crash enters the locker room with a black eye to reconcile with Nuke before he leaves, encouraging the pitcher to remain cocky despite the difficult hitters he will be up against. After the next Bulls game, Skip tells Crash that the manager wants to replace him with a young catcher now that Nuke is gone. Dejected, Crash goes to Annie’s house and she offers him a drink, knowing that he has been let go. The two share a passionate night of lovemaking, but Crash leaves early in the morning and Annie finds a note that he has left town to play for another team. Soon after, Crash breaks the minor league record for homeruns; although Annie takes notice, the accomplishment does not make sports news. One day, Annie comes home from a rained out game to find Crash, who quit his team after setting the record. Annie informs him that she has decided to quit “boys,” and Crash tells her he might take a manager position next season. When Annie excitedly rambles about Crash’s abilities, he begs her not to intellectualize and leads her inside to dance. +

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

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