A League of Their Own
|A League of Their Own|
|Directed by||Penny Marshall|
|Screenplay by||Lowell Ganz |
|Story by||Kelly Candaele |
|Produced by||Elliot Abbott |
|Edited by||George Bowers|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$132.4 million|
A League of Their Own is a 1992 American sports comedy-drama film directed by Penny Marshall that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). It stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall and Bill Pullman. It was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel from a story by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson.
A League of Their Own was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $132.4 million worldwide and garnering acclaim for Marshall's direction and the performances of its ensemble cast. In 2012, the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In 1988, Dottie Hinson attends the opening of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame. She sees many former teammates and friends, prompting a flashback to 1943.
When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, Chicago Cubs owner Walter Harvey persuades his fellow owners to bankroll a women's league. Ira Lowenstein is put in charge. Scout Ernie Capadino attends an industrial-league softball game in Oregon and likes what he sees in Dottie, the catcher for a local dairy. She is not interested; she is happy with her life while waiting for her husband Bob to return from the war. Her younger sister Kit, however, is desperate to get away and make something of herself. Capadino is unimpressed by Kit's batting and refuses to watch her pitch, but agrees to take her along if she changes Dottie's mind. Dottie agrees for her sister's sake.
Dottie and Kit travel to Harvey Field in Chicago for the tryout. They meet taxi dancer Mae "All the Way Mae" Mordabito and her best friend, bouncer Doris Murphy, soft-spoken right fielder Evelyn Gardner, illiterate left fielder Shirley Baker, pitcher/shortstop and former Miss Georgia beauty queen Ellen Sue Gotlander, left field/relief pitcher Betty "Spaghetti" Horn, second baseperson Marla Hooch, first baseperson Helen Haley, and Alice "Skeeter" Gaspers. They and five others constitute the Rockford Peaches, while 48 others make up the Racine Belles, Kenosha Comets, and South Bend Blue Sox.
The Peaches are managed by former star Cubs slugger Jimmy Dugan, a cynical alcoholic. He initially treats the whole thing as a joke, forcing Dottie to take over as on-field leader initially. Dugan is also abrasive toward his players. The team travels with Evelyn's spoiled bratty son Stillwell and tightly wound team chaperone Miss Cuthburt. With a Life magazine photographer in the stands, Lowenstein begs the players to do something spectacular, as the league has attracted little attention. Dottie obliges, catching a popped-up ball behind home plate while doing a split. The resulting photograph makes the magazine cover. A publicity campaign draws more people to the ballgames, but the owners remain unconvinced.
The teammates bond. Marla marries a man named Nelson whom she met on a raucous roadhouse outing and leaves the team for the rest of the season, Mae teaches Shirley to read, and Evelyn writes a team song. Lowenstein makes Dottie the face of the league, making Kit resentful. Their sibling rivalry intensifies, resulting in Kit's trade to the Racine Belles.
The Peaches end the season with the league's best record, qualifying for the World Series. Jimmy gives Betty a telegram informing her that her husband was killed in action in the Pacific Theater. Grief-stricken, she leaves the team. That evening, Dottie receives a surprise when Bob shows up, having been wounded and discharged from the Army. Jimmy discovers that Dottie is going home with Bob. Unable to persuade her to play in the World Series, he tells her she will regret her decision.
The Peaches face the Belles in the World Series, which goes the full seven games. Dottie rejoins the Peaches for the seventh game, while Kit is the starting pitcher for the Belles. With the Belles leading by a run in the top of the ninth, Dottie drives in the go-ahead run. Kit is distraught, but gets a second chance when she comes to bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. She gets a hit and, ignoring the third base coach's sign to stop, scores the winning run by knocking her sister over at the plate and dislodging the ball from Dottie's hand.
The sellout crowd convinces Harvey to give Lowenstein the owners' support. After the game, the sisters reconcile before Dottie leaves with Bob.
In the present, Dottie is reunited with the other players, including Kit, Capadino and Lowenstein. The surviving Peaches sing Evelyn's team song and pose for a photo. During the closing credits, they play baseball at Doubleday Field.
- Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan (manager)
- Geena Davis as Dorothy "Dottie" Hinson (#8, catcher/assistant manager)
- Lynn Cartwright as Older Dottie
- Madonna as "All the Way" Mae Mordabito (#5, center field)
- Eunice Anderson as Older Mae
- Lori Petty as Kit Keller (#23, pitcher)
- Kathleen Butler as Older Kit
- Rosie O'Donnell as Doris Murphy (#22, third base)
- Vera Johnson as Older Doris
- Anne Ramsay as Helen Haley (#15, first base)
- Barbara Pilavin as Older Helen
- Megan Cavanagh as Marla Hooch (#32, second base)
- Patricia Wilson as Older Marla
- Freddie Simpson as Ellen Sue Gotlander (#1, shortstop/pitcher)
- Eugenia McLin as Older Ellen Sue
- Tracy Reiner as Betty "Spaghetti" Horn (#7, left field/relief pitcher)
- Betty Miller as Older Betty
- Bitty Schram as Evelyn Gardner (#17, right field), mother of Stillwell "Angel"
- Renée Coleman (credited as Renee Coleman) – Alice "Skeeter" Gaspers (#18, left field/center field/catcher)
- Shirley Burkovich as Older Alice
- Ann Cusack as Shirley Baker (#11, left field)
- Barbara Erwin as Older Shirley
- Robin Knight as Linda "Beans" Babbitt (shortstop)
- Patti Pelton as Marbleann Wilkinson (second base)
- Kelli Simpkins as Beverly Dixon (#4, outfield)
- Connie Pounds-Taylor as Connie Calhoun (Outfield)
- Jon Lovitz as Ernie Capadino, AAGPBL scout
- David Strathairn as Ira Lowenstein, AAGPBL general manager
- Marvin Einhorn as Older Ira
- Garry Marshall as Walter Harvey, candy bar mogul and AAGPBL founder (based on Philip K. Wrigley)
- Julie Croteau as Helen Haley on the field (baseball double for Anne Ramsay)
- Bill Pullman as Bob Hinson, Dottie's husband
- Janet Jones as Racine pitcher
- Téa Leoni as Racine first base
- Don S. Davis as Charlie Collins, Racine manager
- Eddie Jones as Dave Hooch, Marla's father
- Justin Scheller as Stillwell Gardner, Evelyn's son
- Mark Holton as Older Stillwell
- Pauline Brailsford as Miss Cuthburt, Rockford chaperone
- Rae Allen as Ma Keller
- DeLisa Chinn-Tyler in an uncredited role as the Black woman who threw the ball back to Davis in an memorable scene.
Director Penny Marshall was inspired by the 1987 TV documentary A League of their Own, about the AAGPBL. She had never heard of the league, and contacted the film's creators, Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson, to collaborate with the scriptwriters, Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, on producing a screenplay for 20th Century Fox. Fox eventually passed on the script and Marshall signed with Sony Pictures, who were eager to produce it.
On MLB Network's Costas at the Movies in 2013, director Penny Marshall talked about her initial interest in Demi Moore for the part of Dottie Hinson: "Demi Moore, I liked, but by the time we came around, she was pregnant." Debra Winger was then cast as Dottie and spent three months training with the Chicago Cubs in preparation. However, she dropped out of the production four weeks before the start of principal photography, later saying that the casting of Madonna was the reason for her decision. Marshall chose Geena Davis to replace Winger.
USC assistant baseball coach Bill Hughes was the film’s technical adviser and put the film’s ensemble cast through baseball camp three months before filming.
Principal photography began July 10, 1991. Filming the game scenes involved many physical mishaps: Anne Ramsay (Helen Haley) broke her nose with a baseball mitt while trying to catch a ball, and the large bruise seen on actress Renée Coleman's thigh was real. Discussing the skirts they wore playing in the film, Geena Davis said on MLB Network's Costas at the Movies in 2013, "Some of our real cast, from sliding into home, had ripped the skin off their legs. It was nutty." In a 2021 interview, Petty claimed to have broken her foot during filming, but reiterated her enjoyment of the shoot and the understanding of the film's importance at the time.
The tryout scene, at a fictional Major League Baseball stadium in Chicago called Harvey Field, was filmed at the Chicago Cubs' home stadium, Wrigley Field. The Rockford Peaches' home games were filmed at League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana, and the championship game against Racine was filmed at Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana. Additional games were filmed at Jay Littleton Ball Park in Ontario, California. The final week of shooting was during late October 1991 in Cooperstown, New York, where 65 original AAGPBL members appeared in scenes recreating the induction of the league into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. Due to the length of the schedule, the cast entertained themselves by putting on an elaborate amateur production, "Jesus Christ Superstar Goes Hawaiian."
A League of Their Own soundtrack was released on CD and cassette tape by Columbia Records on June 30, 1992. The album peaked at #159 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart on July 25, 1992. Although Madonna contributed "This Used to Be My Playground" to the film, featured over the closing credits, her recording was not included on the soundtrack album for contractual reasons.
A League of Their Own was released on July 1, 1992, and grossed $13.2 million in its first weekend, finishing second at the box office behind Batman Returns. In its second weekend it dropped just 15%, making $11.5 million and finishing first. It ended up a commercial success, making $107.5 million in the United States and Canada, but only $24.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $132.4 million against a production budget of $40 million.
The film was well received by critics, who praised the cast. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an approval rating of 81% based on 79 reviews, with an average score of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast." On Metacritic, the film received a weighted average score of 69 based 21 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote: "Though big of budget, A League of Their Own is one of the year's most cheerful, most relaxed, most easily enjoyable comedies. It's a serious film that's lighter than air, a very funny movie that manages to score a few points for feminism in passing." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3 out of 4 stars and wrote: "The movie has a real bittersweet charm. The baseball sequences, we've seen before. What's fresh are the personalities of the players, the gradual unfolding of their coach and the way this early chapter of women's liberation fit into the hidebound traditions of professional baseball."
On December 19, 2012, it was announced that A League of Their Own would be preserved in the United States National Film Registry.
Jimmy Dugan's (Tom Hanks) remark to Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram), "There's no crying in baseball!", was ranked 54th on the American Film Institute's 2005 list AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes.
20th anniversary Blu-ray edition
A League of Their Own was released as a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on October 16, 2012.
47 former AAGPBL players reunited in New York to celebrate the film and the real women who inspired it. Events included a trip to Cooperstown for a special program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, reminiscent of the film's final scene depicting AAGPBL players and family meeting to honor the Women's Professional Baseball League. The reunion wrapped up with a game of softball held at Alliance Bank Stadium in nearby Syracuse.
Former players also made an appearance at Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana on June 6, 2012, where many of the film's game scenes were filmed. Bosse Field still retains many of the Racine Belles themes from the movie. The event included an outdoor screening of the film, and a display of cars featured in the film. In addition to Bosse Field, the production used Huntingburg, Indiana's League Stadium, another Southwestern Indiana field older than Bosse, that was renovated for it.
A short-lived series of the same title based on the film aired on CBS in April 1993, with Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanagh, Tracy Reiner, Freddie Simpson, and Jon Lovitz reprising their roles. Carey Lowell took over Geena Davis's role. Only five of the six episodes made were broadcast.
On August 6, 2020, Amazon Video ordered a reboot series with the same title as the movie. The series debuted on August 12, 2022 on Amazon. On March 14, 2023 it was announced that the rebooted series would end with a four-episode second season bringing the total number of episodes of the series to twelve after having aired eight episodes in its first season.
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cost more than $40 million
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- 1992 films
- 1990s sports comedy-drama films
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
- American baseball films
- American sports comedy-drama films
- Columbia Pictures films
- 1990s English-language films
- 1990s feminist films
- Films about women's sports
- Films adapted into television shows
- Films directed by Penny Marshall
- Films produced by Robert Greenhut
- Films scored by Hans Zimmer
- Films set in 1943
- Films set in 1988
- Films set in Chicago
- Films set in Colorado
- Films set in Illinois
- Films set in Indiana
- Films set in New York (state)
- Films set in Oregon
- Films set in Wisconsin
- Films set on the home front during World War II
- Films with screenplays by Babaloo Mandel
- Films with screenplays by Lowell Ganz
- Sports films based on actual events
- United States National Film Registry films
- Films about sisters
- American female buddy films
- 1990s female buddy films
- Women's baseball
- 1990s American films