Made in 1976, this is the ultimate Little League film. Starring the late Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Vic Morrow, and Ben Piazza, you'll probably encounter it on late night television and say, "Oh, yeah! I remember that one!"

The central themes in this movie include rooting for the underdog, triumph through persistence despite adversity, and the superiority of trash-talkin' misfit kids. Worth seeing for, if nothing else, Matthau's Tommy Lasorda-esque beer belly.

The movie, directed by Michael Ritchie (who himself has had some grand slams -- such as Fletch, and some memorable Man From U.N.C.L.E. episodes -- and some strikes -- Cops and Robbersons, a prime example of why Chevy Chase and Jack Palance should not be anywhere within two hours of celluloid together), spawned two sequels. The first, Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977), lacks Matthau and O'Neal, but still has some moments. The final film, Bad News Bears Go To Japan (1978), is merely proof of Hollywood's "drive a fresh concept into the ground" mentality, and should be avoided unless there's a marathon on Comedy Central or something and you're too drunk to get off the couch.