A League of Their Own
A League of Their Own is a 1992 American sports comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Directed by Penny Marshall, the film stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, and Lori Petty. The screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel from a story by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson.
|A League of Their Own|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Penny Marshall|
|Produced by||Elliot Abbott|
|Screenplay by||Lowell Ganz|
|Story by||Kelly Candaele|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||George Bowers|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$132.4 million|
In 2012, A League of Their Own was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In 1988, Dottie Hinson (Lynn Cartwright) attends the opening of the new All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame. She sees many of her former teammates and friends, prompting a flashback to 1943.
When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, candy magnate and Cubs owner Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) persuades his fellow owners to bankroll a women's league. Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) is put in charge, and Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) is sent out to recruit players. Capadino attends an industrial-league softball game in rural Oregon and likes what he sees in Dottie (Geena Davis), the catcher for a local dairy's team. Dottie turns down Capadino's offer, happy with her simple farm life while waiting for her husband Bob (Bill Pullman) to come back from the war. Her sister and teammate, Kit (Lori Petty), however, is desperate to get away and make something of herself. Capadino is not impressed by Kit's hitting performance, but agrees to take her along if she can change Dottie's mind. Dottie agrees, but only for her sister's sake.
Dottie and Kit head out to Harvey Field in Chicago for the tryout. There they meet a pair of New Yorkers, taxi dancer "All the Way" Mae Mordabito (Madonna) and her best friend, bouncer Doris Murphy (Rosie O'Donnell); along with soft-spoken right fielder Evelyn Gardner (Bitty Schram); illiterate, shy left fielder Shirley Baker (Ann Cusack); pitcher/shortstop and former Miss Georgia beauty queen Ellen Sue Gotlander (Freddie Simpson); gentle left field/relief pitcher Betty "Spaghetti" Horn (Tracy Reiner); homely second baseman Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh), who was scouted by Ernie, Dottie and Kit in Fort Collins, Colorado; first baseman Helen Haley (Anne Ramsay); and Saskatchewan native Alice "Skeeter" Gaspers (Renée Coleman). They and eight others are selected to form the Rockford Peaches, while 48 others are split among the Racine Belles, Kenosha Comets, and South Bend Blue Sox.
The Peaches are managed by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), a former marquee Cubs slugger who initially treats the whole thing as a joke. The league attracts little interest at first. With a Life magazine photographer in the stands, Lowenstein begs the players to do something spectacular. Dottie obliges when a ball is popped up behind home plate, catching it 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. Due to Kit's and Dottie's sibling rivalry, Kit is traded to the Peaches' rival, the Racine Belles.
The Peaches end the season qualifying for the league's World Series. In the locker room, Jimmy gives Betty a telegram that informs her her husband was killed in action in the Pacific Theater. The grief-stricken Betty leaves the team. Later that evening, Dottie receives a surprise when Bob shows up, having been wounded and discharged from the Army. The following morning, Jimmy discovers that Dottie is going home with Bob. Unable to persuade her to at least play in the World Series, he tells her she will regret her decision.
The Peaches and Belles meet in the World Series, which reaches a seventh and deciding game. Dottie, having reconsidered during the drive back to Oregon, is the catcher for the Peaches, 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. Under immense pressure 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.
Back in the present, Dottie is reunited with several other players, including Kit. The fates of several of the characters are revealed: Jimmy, Bob, and Evelyn have died, while Marla has been married to Nelson (Alan Wilder), the man she met in the bar in an earlier scene, for over 40 years. Kit is a mother and grandmother many times over. The original Peaches sing a team song composed by Evelyn and pose for a group photo.
- Geena Davis as Dorothy "Dottie" Hinson (#8, catcher/assistant manager)
- Lynn Cartwright as Older Dottie
- Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan (manager)
- 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)
- 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)
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, saying: "Demi Moore, I liked, but by the time we came around, she was pregnant."
- 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
- Julie Croteau as Helen Haley (baseball double for Anne Ramsay)
- Bill Pullman as Bob Hinson, Dottie's husband
- Janet Jones as Racine pitcher
- Téa Leoni as Racine first baseman
- Don S. Davis as Charlie Collins, Racine coach
- Eddie Jones as Dave Hooch, Marla's father
- Justin Scheller as Stillwell Gardner, Evelyn's son
- Mark Holton as Older Stillwell. He attends the Peaches' reunion at the Baseball Hall of Fame on behalf of his mother who had died.
- Pauline Brailsford as Miss Cuthburt, Rockford chaperone
Director Penny Marshall was inspired to make the film after viewing the 1987 documentary about the AAGPBL titled "A League of their Own" on television. She had never heard of the league before, 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 the film.
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 huge bruise seen in the film on actress Renée Coleman's thigh was real. Discussing the skirts they wore playing baseball 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."
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.
The film 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 being a commercial success, making $107.5 million in the United States, and $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 and their performances. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site'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, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score 67 out of 100, based 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
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With 2012 marking the 20th year since the film's release, A League of Their Own was released as a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on October 16, 2012.
Forty-seven former players of the AAGPBL 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 members of the AAGPBL and family coming together to witness the honoring of 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 as well as a scene-setting 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 the film.
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, and Jon Lovitz reprising their roles. Only five of the six episodes made were broadcast.
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- King, Susan. "National Film Registry selects 25 films for preservation " Los Angeles Times (December 19, 2012)
- "Penny Marshall". Costas at the Movies. MLB Network. January 28, 2013.
- "An Oral History of 'A League of their Own' on its 25th Anniversary". ESPN. June 29, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- "An Oral History of 'A League of their Own' on its 25th Anniversary". ESPN. June 29, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- "Demi Moore in 'A League of Their Own?' Almost happened". Newsday. March 7, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- A League of Their Own soundtrack - The Billboard 200. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
- Wilker, Deborah (July 24, 1992). "Madonna Hit Single Not On Soundtrack". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- Kronke, David (July 2, 1992). "Penny Marshall pitches 'League of Their Own' agenda". The Dispatch. Lexington, NC. Los Angeles Daily News. p. 4C. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- White, Sue (October 26, 2011). "'A League of Their Own' brings former ballplayer to the Riverside Saginaw Film Festival". MLive. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- Sidewater, Nancy (April 23, 2004). "DVD Q&A – Penny Marshall". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly Inc. (761). Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "A League of Their Own". Fort-Worth Star-Telegram. June 30, 1992.(subscription required)
- Rachlin, Jill (February 12, 1993). "A League of Their Own Review | Reviews and News". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly, Inc. (157). Retrieved October 1, 2013.
- "A League of Their Own (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "A League of Their Own reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "A League of Their Own – CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- "Breakfast at Tiffany's added to film archive". BBC News. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- Kekis, John (September 23, 2013). "Women Remain in League of Their Own". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Prell, Jon (June 12, 2012). "A League Of Their Own Comes Home To Bosse Field On June 22". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
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- A League of Their Own on IMDb
- A League of Their Own at Rotten Tomatoes
- A League of Their Own at the TCM Movie Database
- A League of Their Own at AllMovie
- A League of Their Own at the American Film Institute Catalog
- A League of Their Own at Box Office Mojo
- ESPN.com – Page 2 – Reel Life: 'A League of Their Own'