The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)

PG | 99 mins | Comedy, Adventure | 1977

Director:

Michael Pressman

Writer:

Paul Brickman

Producer:

Leonard Goldberg

Cinematographer:

Fred Koenekamp

Editor:

John W. Wheeler

Production Designer:

Steve Berger

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corporation
Full page view
HISTORY

While a 13 Dec 1976 LAT news item used the title Bad News Bears II to describe the planned sequel to that year’s hit comedy, The Bad News Bears (1976, see entry), a 29 Dec 1976 Var article referred to the film as Making Friends. On 9 Feb 1977, DV reported that Paramount Pictures had changed the name to The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training.
       End credits include the following written statement: “We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Houston Astrodome and the Houston Astros in the making of this picture.”
       According to a 12 Aug 1976 DV news item, Paramount was making a sequel to The Bad News Bears and television veteran Leonard Goldberg would make his feature film producing debut. The 13 Dec 1976 LAT news item reported that twenty-six-year-old Michael Pressman would direct and collaborate with Paul Brickman on a script; however, Pressman is not credited as a writer on the film. Var announced that a casting call for boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen in San Antonio, TX, had been issued by Casting & Production Group's Elizabeth Keigley. The auditions would complete the Bears team, as well their TX opponents. The three roles on the Bears were “a fat boy about five foot, four inches weighing at least 180 pounds with no Texas accent; a ‘Fonzie’ [referring to the character played by Henry Winkler in the television series Happy Days ] type and a Mexican boy with an accent.” A 26 Feb 1977 LAT article reported that ... More Less

While a 13 Dec 1976 LAT news item used the title Bad News Bears II to describe the planned sequel to that year’s hit comedy, The Bad News Bears (1976, see entry), a 29 Dec 1976 Var article referred to the film as Making Friends. On 9 Feb 1977, DV reported that Paramount Pictures had changed the name to The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training.
       End credits include the following written statement: “We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Houston Astrodome and the Houston Astros in the making of this picture.”
       According to a 12 Aug 1976 DV news item, Paramount was making a sequel to The Bad News Bears and television veteran Leonard Goldberg would make his feature film producing debut. The 13 Dec 1976 LAT news item reported that twenty-six-year-old Michael Pressman would direct and collaborate with Paul Brickman on a script; however, Pressman is not credited as a writer on the film. Var announced that a casting call for boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen in San Antonio, TX, had been issued by Casting & Production Group's Elizabeth Keigley. The auditions would complete the Bears team, as well their TX opponents. The three roles on the Bears were “a fat boy about five foot, four inches weighing at least 180 pounds with no Texas accent; a ‘Fonzie’ [referring to the character played by Henry Winkler in the television series Happy Days ] type and a Mexican boy with an accent.” A 26 Feb 1977 LAT article reported that Gary Lee Cavagnaro, who played the overweight catcher “Mike Engelberg” in the first film, had lost thirty pounds and was replaced by Jeffrey Louis Starr. According to a 13 May 1977 LAT article, Starr, who had no prior acting experience, was discovered watching a VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] parade in Anna, IL, and received a seven-year contract from Paramount.
       A 9 Feb 1977 HR article announced that production on the film was scheduled to begin 28 Feb 1977 in Houston, TX, El Paso, TX, and on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, CA. Producer Goldberg said that Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neill, the stars of the first Bad News Bears, were not approached for the sequel because their characters did not appear in the script. According to the 13 May 1977 LAT news item, William Devane took the role of “Mike Leak,” the film’s adult male lead, to counter his image as a heavy from films such as Marathon Man (1976, see entry) and Family Plot (1976, see entry). A 1 Mar 1977 HR news item reported that production on the film started that day. According to the 22 Mar 1977 DV, the production moved to Houston after three weeks of filming in Los Angeles, CA, suburbs. A 4 Apr 1977 LAT news brief reported that while the film was shooting on location in Houston, a Harris County commissioner objected to filming at public parks used by area Little Leagues. Little League of America officials had been upset by the first film’s language and forbid the producers from using the Little League name. The dispute went to the courts, and the judge read the script and ruled that the production could use the fields. According to the 13 May 1977 LAT feature, Paramount needed a crowd of about 10,000 people for scenes filmed in the Astrodome so it offered cash prizes worth $15,000 as an incentive for people to show up. When not enough people came, Paramount had to hire 4,000 extras and went $60,000 over budget.
       Most critics found The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training to be inferior to the original, with Arthur Knight's 25 Jul 1977 HR review going so far as to say, “Almost everything is wrong with this picture.” Knight was particularly annoyed that The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training seemed to embrace the win-at-all-cost attitude the first film had satirized.
       For information on the series, see the AFI Catalog entry for The Bad News Bears. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Aug 1977.
---
Cue
20 Sep 1977.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1976.
---
Daily Variety
9 Feb 1977.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1977.
---
Films and Filming
1 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 1977
p. 2.
LAHExam
29 Jul 1977.
---
Los Angeles Free Press
29 Jul 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Feb 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 May 1977
Section IV, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jul 1977.
---
McCall's
Oct 1977.
---
Motion Picture Production Digest
7 Sep 1977.
---
New Times
16 Sep 1977.
---
New York
12 Sep 1977
p. 83.
New York Times
20 Aug 1977.
---
Newsweek
8 Aug 1977.
---
Variety
29 Dec 1976.
---
Variety
27 Jul 1977
p. 23.
Village Voice
15 Aug 1977.
---
Village Voice
19 Sep 1977
p. 53.
Westways
Sep 1977.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Paramount Pictures Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst dir trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
Gaffer
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy
Dolly grip
Best boy
Stillman (L.A.)
Stillman (Houston)
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst propman
Swing gang
Leadman
COSTUMES
Asst cost
MUSIC
Mus adpt and scored
Mus ed
Orch
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom man
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title by
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc casting, Shari Rhodes Associates
Scr supv
Prod auditor
Unit pub
Teacher/Welfare worker
Teacher/Welfare worker
Teacher/Welfare worker
Dial coach
Craft services
Extra casting
Transportation coord
Driver capt
Prod secy
Secy to prod-dir
Asst to prod
Prod Mgr (studio features)
Prod support
First aid
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Bill Lancaster.
MUSIC
"Themes from the 1812 Overture," by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
SONGS
"Lookin' Good," music Craig Safan, lyric Norman Gimbel, sung by James Rolleston.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Bad News Bears II
Making Friends
Release Date:
1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 29 Julyy 1977
New York opening: 19 August 1977
Production Date:
began 1 March 1977
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Movielab
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Bears, a ragtag San Fernando Valley, California, youth baseball team, reconvene without their former coach and star pitcher. A new, austere coach, Mr. Manning, prepares the team for a big game to be played at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas; the winner will travel to Japan to play a Japanese team. Appalled by the team’s lack of discipline, Manning fires catcher Mike Engelberg before they take the field. The team’s motorcycle-riding star, Kelly Leak, disrupts practice, leading the Bears to walk out and effectively ending Manning’s tenure as coach. Three of the players, Engelberg, Ogilvie, and Tanner Boyle visit the home of teammate Timmy “The Big Looper” Lupus, who is laid up with a broken leg and will not be making the trip to Texas. Ogilvie points out that none of them will be going to Houston if they cannot find a coach and a decent pitcher. Later, Kelly finds a new pitcher, Carmen Ronzonni, who has moved from the East Coast. Kelly rejoins the team and introduces the local park’s elderly groundskeeper, Lester Eastland, claiming that the man is the Bears’ new coach. The players trick their parents into thinking that Lester will accompany them to Houston, then depart without a chaperone in a possibly stolen van procured by Carmen Ronzonni and driven by thirteen-year-old Kelly. The team stops for the night at a motel where they pile into a double room. Kelly goes off to smoke and pulls a photograph of a man from his pocket. When Kelly returns, Tanner is watching Knute Rockne–All American on television, just as Pat ... +


The Bears, a ragtag San Fernando Valley, California, youth baseball team, reconvene without their former coach and star pitcher. A new, austere coach, Mr. Manning, prepares the team for a big game to be played at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas; the winner will travel to Japan to play a Japanese team. Appalled by the team’s lack of discipline, Manning fires catcher Mike Engelberg before they take the field. The team’s motorcycle-riding star, Kelly Leak, disrupts practice, leading the Bears to walk out and effectively ending Manning’s tenure as coach. Three of the players, Engelberg, Ogilvie, and Tanner Boyle visit the home of teammate Timmy “The Big Looper” Lupus, who is laid up with a broken leg and will not be making the trip to Texas. Ogilvie points out that none of them will be going to Houston if they cannot find a coach and a decent pitcher. Later, Kelly finds a new pitcher, Carmen Ronzonni, who has moved from the East Coast. Kelly rejoins the team and introduces the local park’s elderly groundskeeper, Lester Eastland, claiming that the man is the Bears’ new coach. The players trick their parents into thinking that Lester will accompany them to Houston, then depart without a chaperone in a possibly stolen van procured by Carmen Ronzonni and driven by thirteen-year-old Kelly. The team stops for the night at a motel where they pile into a double room. Kelly goes off to smoke and pulls a photograph of a man from his pocket. When Kelly returns, Tanner is watching Knute Rockne–All American on television, just as Pat O’Brien delivers his “Win one for the Gipper” speech. The Bears reach New Mexico and a group of Native Americans kids challenge them to a game in a vacant lot. At first, pitcher Carmen cannot get the ball over the plate and then when he does, he cannot get the other team out, resulting in a disastrous loss. Arriving in Texas, the Bears spot the Astrodome and speculate that their opponents, the Toros, are dirt farmers. At a practice field, the Toros drill with military precision as the game’s sponsor, Sy Orlansky, impatiently waits for the Bears to arrive. Morrie Slaytor, the Toros’ coach, instructs his assistant to see if the El Paso Falcons team is still available. Kelly sets the Bears up in a dirty hotel, but the police show up and inquire about the van parked out front. Plainclothes Officer Mackie wants to know who drove the van, who it belongs to, and who their chaperone is? Kelly says their coach is not there and leaves for a nearby plant, where he waits for the shift to end, and greets the man in his photograph, his father Mike Leak. Kelly asks Mike to be the Bears’ coach and he reluctantly agrees. At the hotel, Mike introduces himself to Mackie as Coach Leak. Mackie says as long as the van checks out, everything is fine. On a practice field, the boys tell Mike that they do not need a coach, they just need an adult to go on the field with them, so Mike watches their inept play from the sidelines. When Carmen hits Tanner with a pitch, triggering a minor brawl, Mike takes the team for pizza and they read about themselves in the local newspaper. Sometime later, the Bears arrive at the field to find the El Paso Falcons are already there. Mike introduces himself to Sy, who mistakes the Falcons for the Bears, but Mike points out the real Bears. Sy challenges Slaytor over the confusion, telling him that he wants the team from the newspaper because they have a great story. After checking in at the Houston Hilton with expenses paid by Sy’s company, the Bears head back to the practice field where Mike teaches the boys fundamentals and Ogilvie gets a detailed scouting report on the Toros from a local girl. Mike tells Carmen to stop impersonating major league pitchers and just throw like himself, which turns out to be pretty good. Mike confronts Kelly about his smoking and Kelly storms off. He bumps into some of the Toros and one of them repeatedly uses a gay slur to describe the Bears and their coach and a fight ensues, but Kelly is separated from his rival. Now angrier, Kelly runs away. Back at the hotel, the team cannot find Kelly, but watch themselves in a television news report. When Mike finds Kelly in a pool hall, his son is upset that Mike did not recognize him immediately at the plant. Mike left eight years earlier, when Kelly was five, after giving the boy a bicycle. Kelly tells Mike that he never rode the bike because he saw it as a bribe and never accepted the deal. Mike asks if Kelly would have looked him up if he had not needed a coach? On game day in the locker room, the team worries that Kelly will not return, but Tanner gives a “win one for the Big Looper” speech, and Kelly arrives at the last minute. Between games of the doubleheader, a scaled down field with shorter baselines is set up. The Toros quickly take a 5-0 lead, but due to a time limit an official calls the game after only two innings. Mike argues that they deserve to finish the game, as Tanner refuses to leave the field and is chased by two officials. A member of the Astros, Robert J. Watson, shouts “Let them play,” and Mike and the Bears get the crowd to join in the chant. The officials reverse their decision and the game continues. The Bears chip away at the Toros’ lead. With two out in the bottom of the fourth and the score at 5-2, Carmen steps to the plate and hits the ball to the fence for a bases-clearing double. He takes off for third, the Toros throw the ball away, and Carmen slides home safely as the Bears win, 6-5 and are going to Japan. Alone in the runway to the locker room after the game, Kelly tells Mike that he would have found him even if they did not need a coach. Back in California, Kelly stops by the ball field and gives Lester Eastland a silent nod of thanks. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.