Director Ron Shelton
Year 1989
Starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Robert Wuhl. Trey Wilson
Rating R
Run Time 108min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

Sports Illustrated hailed it as the #1 Greatest Sports Movie of All TIme. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. And it got a lot of people interested in "long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."

We're talking about BULL DURHAM, the first Kevin Costner movie to defy Hollywood's time-tested rule that baseball-themed movies were box-office poison: Made for a paltry $9 million, writer-director Ron Shelton's hilarious, witty and irresistibly sexy comedy rang up more than $50 million in ticket sales and gave major boosts to the careers of Costner and his invaluable co-stars, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. 

Shelton based BULL DURHAM in part on his own experiences over five years as a minor-league player. But his screenplay never got to bat when he approached the major studios, none of which was interested in a movie about baseball without a major star to anchor it, a la Robert Redford in THE NATURAL.

While Costner had racked up two big successes a year earlier with THE UNTOUCHABLES and NO WAY OUT and had the natural athletic ability to play worldly catcher "Crash" Davis, he was not yet on the A-List; executives hoped Kurt Russell or Mel Gibson would step in instead. Likewise, Sarandon (fresh from a screen-scorching turn in THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK) had to fight off "she's too old" naysayers to land the savory role of the sensually charged baseball fanatic Annie Savoy.

As for Robbins, who had been teetering on the edge of a breakthrough in movies for several years at that point, he was low on the list of preferred performers for the part of "Nuke" LaLoosh, whose flair for pitching is counterbalanced by his astonishing lack of brainpower and common sense. His competition included Charlie Sheen (who went on to make his own baseball flick, MAJOR LEAGUE, instead) and former Brat Packer Anthony Michael Hall, who was looking for a vehicle that might allow him to shake off his geeky SIXTEEN CANDLES/BREAKFAST CLUB/WEIRD SCIENCE image once and for all. Unfortunately for Hall, he so offended Shelton in their initial meeting that the director refused to have anything further to do with him. 

When Shelton finally did get his team together, the result was a thoroughly winning combination. BULL DURHAM scores on every front: as a baseball story, as a romantic comedy, as a bittersweet snapshot of small-town life and as a supremely sexy good time. (James Sanford)


Drafthouse News