The Big Green

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The Big Green
Big green.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHolly Goldberg Sloan
Produced byDennis Bishop
Roger Birnbaum
Written byHolly Goldberg Sloan
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyRalf D. Bode
Edited byJohn F. Link
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • September 29, 1995 (1995-09-29)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$17,725,500

The Big Green is an American 1995 family sports comedy film by Walt Disney Pictures starring Olivia d'Abo and Steve Guttenberg, written and directed by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It also stars Bug Hall, Chauncey Leopardi, and Patrick Renna. The film is about the antics of a soccer team consisting of a misfit group of small town kids who are coached by a teacher from England.


Teacher Anna Montgomery (Olivia d'Abo), who is on an exchange program from Surrey, England, is placed into a school in the fictional tiny town of Elma, Texas. She struggles to connect with the children at first, as they believe they are underachievers doomed to dead end lives after receiving the lowest test scores in the state for four years running. She is also shocked to learn that the children think very little of everything. So instead of teaching geography to the inattentive class, Ms. Montgomery breaks the globe in an attempt to introduce the kids to a new game. After some confusion, the children begin to learn the game of soccer. Then at the end of the first session, Ms. Montgomery tells them that they have been entered into a league in Austin, Texas, but their first game was the next day. At this point, the town Sheriff's Deputy Tom Palmer (Steve Guttenberg) becomes co-coach while at the same time becoming enamored of Montgomery.

The team travels to Austin to play against the Knights, who are the junior division district champions and undefeated for that season. Because none of the kids have learned the rules, they do not know how to play and lose 18–0. They lose heart and do not want to play anymore, until they discover the talent of new classmate Juan Morales (Anthony Esquivel), but have to persuade his mother to let him play. From the beginning, she insists that Juan avoids making bonds with anyone around because of how much it would hurt him if they had to leave soon. The reason they move a lot is because she is trying to keep a low profile to avoid being caught on account of legal citizenship matters. However, after enough begging from the clan, she reluctantly agrees to let Juan join the team. Once Juan joins the team, the team steadily improves and they go on a remarkable run with a record of eight wins, two losses, and one tie which earns them a re-match against the Knights in the finals. As the town goes crazy for the final, hometown boy and current Knights coach Jay Huffer (Jay O. Sanders) returns to Elma, and finds in the bar the drunken father of Kate Douglas (Jessica Robertson), one of the players, who tells Huffer (who also just so happens to have a job with the IRS) via bribery that his mother are illegal immigrant, but Juan born in USA in El Paso, leading to an investigation that the sheriff forces Deputy Palmer to take up that ultimately forces them to flee frantically to avoid deportation. Though we learn that Juan was born native, while it was his mother who wasn't. Kate is left furious with both her father and Deputy Palmer over the situation, but Montgomery is able to convince her to stay on the team and forgive them.

On the day of the final, Deputy Palmer goes looking for Juan to help the team in the final, and by halftime the team is down 2–0. With 10 minutes to play, there is an injury to a Knights player, and in this time Juan returns with Deputy Palmer and his mother, Tom found a way to keep Juan's mother in the country as his sponsor and he is substituted into the game immediately. He sets up Elma's first goal, and with the last kick of the match, scores the equalizer himself to tie the game. The game then goes into a shootout, and after the first three shots are scored by each team, both teams miss their fourth kick. In the final kick, the Knights captain, top scorer in the league and son of the coach, Jay Huffer Jr., steps onto the field. The Big Green goalie Larry Musgrove (Patrick Renna), who suffered from visions of the opposition players becoming "monsters," manages to turn himself into a monster in his own fantasy, in order to psych out the opponent and save the kick. The final kick for the championship was to be taken by the Big Green's smallest, and youngest player, Newt Shaw (Bug Hall). As he runs in to take the kick, he slips but still sails the ball into the bottom left corner, giving the championship to the Big Green. Huffer, having made a bet with Montgomery if his Knights were to lose, kisses the Big Green's goat mascot, much to his disgust.

At the beginning of the movie, there was a billboard for the town's only other sporting success, in football back in the 1970s, but the end of the movie shows a new billboard, one documenting the success of the Big Green, and also a sticker saying they had the 4th highest test scores in the state.



The movie was shot near and around Austin, Texas in Autumn of 1994. It was released in U.S. theaters on September 29, 1995, taking in $4,688,285 on its opening weekend. The total box office revenue for the movie was $17,725,500.


The film received a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.[1]


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