The Basketball Fix

The Basketball Fix is a 1951 noir sports drama film directed by Felix E. Feist and starring John Ireland, Marshall Thompson and Vanessa Brown. The film is also known by the alternative title The Big Decision in the United Kingdom.[1] It is based on the CCNY point shaving scandal.

The Basketball Fix
The Basketball Fix FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byFelix E. Feist
Produced byEdward Leven (producer)
Henry Spitz (associate producer)
Screenplay byPeter R. Brooke
Charles K. Peck Jr.
Story byCharles K. Peck Jr.
StarringJohn Ireland
Marshall Thompson
Vanessa Brown
William Bishop
Hazel Brooks
Johnny Sands
Music byRaoul Kraushaar
CinematographyStanley Cortez
Edited byFrancis D. Lyon
Distributed byRealart Pictures
Release date
  • September 13, 1951 (1951-09-13) (New York City)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States


Sports journalist Peter Ferredey tries to prevent promising college basketball player Johnny Long from becoming involved with a betting ring, but is unable to stop him from shaving points during games for gambler Mike Taft.


Basketball betting had existed for many years but grew during the 1940s.[2] Since the start of college doubleheaders (two games in a row) at Madison Square Garden in 1934[3] and the invention of spread betting by Charles K. McNeil circa 1940,[4] gamblers "embraced the excitement of college basketball and the financial possibilities of betting the spread".[2][5] Still, the general public considered amateur college basketball "pure", and it was not until 1951, after multiple trials resulting from the CCNY point shaving scandal, when awareness of college basketball gambling centered in New York became widespread.[2][6][7] Based on this scandal, Realart Pictures released The Basketball Fix in 1951. Edward Leven produced it; Peter R. Brooke and Charles Peck Jr. wrote the screenplay.[8] The book Basketball in America states, "This movie exploited the fascination people had with the daily media reports of the actual investigation and the subsequent trials." The film had to do with both "society and basketball".[2]


The film was shown nationwide beginning in 1951, including at the Palace Theatre in New York City, the Majestic Theatre in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and the Roxy Theatre in Decatur, Alabama.[8][9][10] Alpha Video, Digiview Entertainment, and St. Clair Entertainment Group released it on DVD.[11]


A review in The New York Times said, "While The Basketball Fix is on the timid side, it is worth the effort put into it, and points the way to better and more constructive social comments."[8] The Decatur Daily wrote, "When Hollywood unlimbers its big cameras and turns the heat of a spotlight on a dramatic situation like The Basketball can generally count on plenty of fireworks – and you won't be disappointed this time."[10] A TV Guide review said, "Surprisingly, the scandal in The Basketball Fix was small potatoes compared to the one that rocked the real basketball world in 1951."[12]


  1. ^ "The Basketball Fix (1951)". BFI. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Frank Hoffmann; Robert P Batchelor; Martin J Manning (May 23, 2016). Basketball in America: From the Playgrounds to Jordan's Game and Beyond. Routledge. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-1-135-41986-8.
  3. ^ Andrei S. Markovits; Steven L. Hellerman (April 22, 2001). Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism. Princeton University Press. pp. 89–. ISBN 0-691-07447-X.
  4. ^ Arne K. Lang (July 14, 2016). Sports Betting and Bookmaking: An American History. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 162–. ISBN 978-1-4422-6554-7.
  5. ^ David George Surdam (October 30, 2012). The Rise of the National Basketball Association. University of Illinois Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-252-09424-8.
  6. ^ Murray Sperber (July 29, 2014). Onward to Victory: The Creation of Modern College Sports. Henry Holt and Company. p. 601. ISBN 978-1-4668-7645-3.
  7. ^ Ezra Mendelsohn (March 31, 2009). Jews and the Sporting Life: Studies in Contemporary Jewry XXIII. Oxford University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-19-972479-6.
  8. ^ a b c "Behind College Basketball Scenes". The New York Times. September 14, 1951. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "Majestic". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. March 6, 1952. Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via
  10. ^ a b "The Basketball Fix Scores High As A Dramatic Expose". The Decatur Daily. Decatur, Alabama. May 11, 1952. Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via
  11. ^ "The Basketball Fix (1951)". AllMovie. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  12. ^ "The Basketball Fix". TV Guide. Retrieved January 9, 2021.

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