The Deadliest Season

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The Deadliest Season
Directed by Robert Markowitz
Written by Ernest Kilroy
Starring Michael Moriarty
Meryl Streep
Music by Dick Hyman
Cinematography Alan Metzger
Edited by Stephen A. Rotter
Distributed by CBS
Release dates
  • 1977 (1977)
Country United States
Language English

The Deadliest Season is a 1977 made-for-TV film that was originally shown in the United States on CBS. The film was directed by Robert Markowitz, written by Ernest Kilroy, and produced by Titus Productions. The main character was played by Michael Moriarty, an American-Canadian stage and screen actor. His wife was played by Meryl Streep in her first-ever film appearance.


An average professional ice hockey defenseman is relegated to the minor leagues because his play is not aggressive enough. In an effort to get back to the majors, he plays dirty and gets into fights on the ice, which gets him back to the major. His aggressive play results in the death of another player as a result of injuries sustained during a game, and results in his being charged with manslaughter. The player appears largely indifferent to the situation, appearing to view it as a normal part of playing top level ice hockey.


The Deadliest Season was a 98 minute long courtroom and sports drama[1] made-for-TV movie that originally aired in the United States in on CBS in 1977.[2][3] In Canada, the movie aired in August 1979 on CBC.[4] In Australia, the film first aired in November 1980,[5] and later aired on March 23, 1982 on ATN7.[6] In 1984, it reran in New York on Channel 2.[7] It re-ran on television in Alaska in November 1986.[8]


In The Deadliest Season, Michael Moriarty plays the main character.[4][9] Gerry Miller and Kevin Conway also starred in this film.[6][8] Sully Boyar, Jill Eikenberry, Walter McGinn, Andrew Duggan, Paul D'Amato and Mason Adams also appeared on The Deadliest Season.[5][10] Conway played the attorney who defended Mortiarty's character.[11] Adam's appearance as the team owner in this movie helped land him a role in Lou Grant.[10][12]

The movie was written by Ernest Kilroy,[13] who had already written several television dramas by that time.[14] It was directed by Robert Markowitz,[15] and produced by Titus Productions.[16] Meryl Streep made her movie début in this film,[15][17][18] and would go on to make her big screen film début later the same year in Julia.[19][20] Streep, playing Moriarty's wife, received fifth billing in what was her first-ever film appearance.[1]


  1. ^ a b "The Deadliest Season". New York: New York Times. June 5, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Didinger, Ray; Macnow, Glen (2009). The ultimate book of sports movies : featuring the 100 greatest sports films of all time. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers. p. 316. ISBN 9780762435487. OCLC 316825645. 
  3. ^ K. Edgington; Thomas L. Erskine; James Michael Welsh (29 December 2010). Encyclopedia of Sports Films. Scarecrow Press. p. 509. ISBN 978-0-8108-7652-1. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Moriarty stars in hickey film". The Montreal Gazette (Montreal). August 22, 1979. p. 39. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Wednesday TV". The Age (Australia). November 13, 1980. p. 36. 
  6. ^ a b "TUESDAY MARCH 23.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 24 March 1982. p. 140. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ New York Media, LLC (2 July 1984). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 185–. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Movies". Anchorage Daily News (Anchorage, Alaska). November 16, 1986. p. 102. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  9. ^ David Quinlan (November 2000). Quinlan's Film Stars. Batsford. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-7134-8651-3. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Douglass K. Daniel (1996). Lou Grant: The Making of Tv's Top Newspaper Drama. Syracuse University Press. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-8156-0363-4. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Network Sports and Specials". The Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina). March 12, 1977. p. 11. 
  12. ^ Buck, Jerry (August 13, 1989). "Knight and Day'; Mason Adams: Looking for Another `Bad-Guy' Role". The Washington Post. p. y.05. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  13. ^ "MOViE GUiDE.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 24 March 1982. p. 142. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Alvin H. Marill (2009). Sports on television. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-35105-1. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Jerry Roberts (15 June 2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-8108-6138-1. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Steven A. LuKanic (January 1991). Film actors guide. Lone Eagle. ISBN 978-0-943728-38-4. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Streep, Meryl Louise (1949-).(Narrative biography). Encyclopedia of World Biography (Gale). 1998. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "IT'S A FACT", Europe Intelligence Wire (Financial Times Ltd), 2012-01-07, retrieved 19 October 2012 
  19. ^ Liz Sonneborn (1 January 2002). A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts. Infobase Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-4381-0790-5. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Ray B. Browne; Pat Browne (15 June 2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. p. 794. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2. Retrieved 19 October 2012.