Wildcats (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Ritchie
Written byEzra Sacks
Produced byAnthea Sylbert
CinematographyDonald E. Thorin
Edited byRichard A. Harris
Music byJames Newton Howard
Hawn/Sylbert Movie Company
Warner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 14, 1986 (1986-02-14)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$26,285,544 (United States)[1]

Wildcats is a 1986 American sports comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Goldie Hawn, James Keach and Swoosie Kurtz. It is the film debut of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.


Molly McGrath is the daughter of a famed football coach who is dying to head her own team. When her wish is finally granted, Molly leaves her job coaching girls' track at an affluent high school (Prescott High School) to take over a football team at an inner-city Chicago high school (Central High School)—the kind of place where guard dogs are needed to patrol the campus. At first the new coach's idealism and optimism are suffocated with racial and gender prejudice, but eventually her overriding spirit begins to whip her unruly team into shape. After noticing him at every practice and game, Molly hustles teenage criminal and former star football player Levander ‘Bird’ Williams into rejoining the team which helps build rapport among the team. She also adds the massive and comedic Phillip Finch to the team. At the same time, she must also struggle to win a battle for the custody of her two young daughters. The real test for Molly comes when her Central High team faces Prescott in the city championship.




The film used Lane Technical College Prep High School football stadium for some of their shots.


Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No. 4.[2]

Critical response[edit]

The film holds a score of 26% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews.[3]

Roger Ebert gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4 and wrote, "The filmmakers, the producers and Hawn herself bought the premise instead of looking for the plot. The problem with the movie is that they started with a character description instead of with a story. The fact that Hawn plays a boys' football coach is not in itself interesting. Her relationship with the team would have been interesting, if they'd developed one."[4] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune awarded 1 star out of 4 and called it a "pathetic sports comedy" that represented "another attempt to duplicate the success of Hawn's genuinely funny, monster hit, Private Benjamin."[5] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote of Hawn that "[t]he film isn't truly a waste of her talents, but neither does it give her a chance to do much more than repeat some familiar tricks."[6]

Variety wrote that Hawn had by now been "reduced to a type" of "the adorable but goofy independent woman," but she "is the least of the problems amid cardboard characters with cardboard conflicts ... Football footage is also surprisingly dull, filmed mostly at close range making it look more like bodies bouncing off each other than a sport."[7] Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called it "a good-natured but superficial comedy—sort of a 'Bad News Bears Goes to the Ghetto' ... The movie is such a well-oiled dream machine that it would have been nice if the story, for all its corny charm, had veered off in a more adventuresome or unpredictable direction."[8] Roger Piantadosi of The Washington Post called it "a slick, fitfully charming little comedy that does nothing to deter those of us bent on being fond of Goldie Hawn forever. However, she is pushing her luck."[9]

In 2014, the movie was mentioned by Keli Goff in The Daily Beast in an article concerning white savior narratives in film.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wildcats (1986)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  2. ^ "New Movies Make Inroads At Box Office". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
  3. ^ "Wildcats". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Wildcats". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Siskel, Gene (February 14, 1986). "The cutesy klutz strikes again in tame 'Wildcats'". Chicago Tribune. Section 7, p. A.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (February 14, 1986). "The Screen: 'Wildcats,' With Hawn". The New York Times. C5.
  7. ^ "Film Reviews: Wildcats". Variety. February 12, 1986. 22.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (February 13, 1986). "'Wildcats' Doesn't Put Points On Scoreboard". Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 1, 2.
  9. ^ Piantadosi, Roger (February 14, 1986). "'Wildcats' Works the Goldie Mine". The Washington Post. Weekend, p. 25.
  10. ^ Goff, Keli (May 4, 2014). "Can 'Belle' End Hollywood's Obsession with the White Savior?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 14, 2014.

External links[edit]