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Bad News Bears – 1976 Version


The Bad News Bears – 1976 movie is an American athletic comedy written by Bill Lancaster and directed by Michael Ritchie. The movie’s main star, Walter Matthau, acts as an alcoholic former baseball player (a pitcher) who then becomes an instructor for a youth baseball team popularly known as The Bears. Together with Walter Matthau, the movie cast includes Vic Morrow, Tatum O’Neal, Ben Piazza, Joyce Van Patten, Jackie Earle Haley, and lastly, Lutter W Alfred, composed by Fielding Jerry, who adjusts the main themes of Bizte’s performance called Carmen. The movie was issued by Paramount Pictures, whereby the Bad News Bears (1976) movie acknowledged positive evaluations. The film was followed by two sequels: The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978) and The Bad News Bears in breaking training (1977). Then it short-lived between 1979 to 1980 on a CBS television sequence, and the movie was remade in 2005.

Ethical Dilemma

A major ethical dilemma in the film, analyzed from a deontological, teleological, and existential perspective, is the depiction of homophobic and racial slurs throughout the film. That is to say, the film had lots of allocation fat jokes to meet since they came solid and quick early on beforehand, totally vanishing before the conclusion. Furthermore, Greco (2020) points out that part of Walter Matthau’s drunk driving and alcoholism at first was for laughs, and on the other hand, he is shown to be drinking less for a short period. However, when Walter decides to be serious about schooling the baseball team, his alcoholism remains problematic to the extent of distributing beers to his under-aged children in the last scenes. It is not ethical to allow underage children to drink alcohol before the permitted age.

Socialization of Children

The children in the film are socialized through their youth sports experience by showing us that the children previously saw psychoanalysts, who were obscene and coarse & who had started to submit their identities to the norms and values of the charmers around them. It is then the grownups in the film clung to their roasting values of opposition. Coakley (2014) describes sports as social constructions that are part of our social world that individuals shape as they socialize (interact) under specific political, social, and economic conditions. Furthermore, Coakley (2014) socialization is constructed on a social interaction concept systematized around a mixture of interactionist, cultural and structural theories. The norms and values of their social world of the children are transmitted as they eventually learn how to socialize with each other and participate in the social world. For instance, whenever young adults interact with siblings, parents, peers, and teachers, they learn norms about risk-taking and safety, plus they master to give sense to the discomfort that comes with bruises, bumps, and cuts that are normal in childhood. Some of the values transmitted in the film are that sports helped the children establish their characters and taught them several American values. These values among the coach and players helped them develop exclusive sports skills among the children and prepared them for the next level of competition.

Skills and Excellence Model

The youth sports program depicted in the film adheres to the Skills and Excellence Model after Kelly Leak’s final home run gave the Bears team their 1st win of the baseball season against the opponent team (White Sox). The film shows the Bad Bears rejoicing at home plate on all sides of Kelly, showing a Yankee Catcher. This scene from the movie is the alternative ending with the Bad Bears winning their last match against another team called the Yankees. Coakley (2014) describes that an ideal demonstration of skills and excellence model is achieved through winning. According to Evans (2021), privatization in youth sports typically refers to shifting an industry or business from being government nationalized or publicly regulated to something else, along with fewer regulations. For example, privatization occurs to push the students into NFT and NIL opportunities. According to Coakley (2014), the performance ethic in privatization is a set of beliefs and ideas emphasizing that the quality of different sports experiences is measured regarding competitive success and improved skills. It emphasizes improving youth skills and promoting them into exclusive performance classes, for example, travel teams for separate specific athletes with complete skills better than others. Feltz (2001) states adult controlled youth sports are programs for young adults, mostly between 7 to 18 years, with elected coaches, scheduled competitions, and organized practices.

Examples of both Overconforming and Underconforming Deviance

Overconforming deviance is deviance grounded on tolerating and conforming to standards without inquiries involving “supranormal” activities and, in some instances, could lead to fascism. Coakley (2014) describes that overconforming athletes might lead to damages that irreparably harm the health of sports athletes. For example, Mary Decker Slaney, a fabulous middle-distance runner between the 1970s to 1980s, attempted a comeback after 19 sports-associated surgeries and numerous injuries even though she was in continuous pain. Slaney excessively trained to qualify for the United States Olympic team. Her coach realized that Slaney’s overconforming to the sports ethic led to her damages.

Underconforming deviance is deviance grounded on rejecting or ignoring norms that involve “subnormal” activities and, in an extreme case, could lead to anarchy. Underconforming, whenever individuals do not differentiate between the types of deviance, they regularly define sports personalities as role models. However, most of what they do could be dangerous to their well-being and health and beyond the restrictions of accepting other scopes of life. Examples of underconforming include taking disqualified performance-enhancing elements, breaking certified rules, and illegally hitting on opponents.

Examples of violence are shown in the film and how they relate to Coakley’s model.

The examples of violence shown in the film include, According to Greco (2020), a depiction of homophobic and racial slurs throughout the film. That is to say, the film had lots of allocation fat jokes to meet since they came solid and quick early on beforehand, totally vanishing before the conclusion. Secondly, the coach giving the children beer is portrayed as violent because it is a form of child abuse. The violence shown in the film is related to Coakley’s model of racial ideologies because they are interconnected beliefs and ideas that are primarily used to categorize human beings in groups assumed to be biological. Also, racial ideologies are associated with attributes like temperament, intelligence, and physical abilities. Therefore, the Bad Bears movie is related to Coakley’s model whereby scientists at Harvard University investigated race and published a book claiming to prove the existence of race where the natural dominance of white people and natural inferiority of blacks plus other people of color existed.

Gender Ideology

Gender ideology is represented in the film through bullying, gender roles, parenting, and body shaming that happened in the movie. Coakley (2014) argues that gender ideologies in sports are shaped around the experiences and values of genders. The gender stereotypes are depicted through Jackie Earle, the stereotyped child who is foul-mouthed rebellious, rides a motorcycle, and fumes or smokes cigarettes. According to Holland (2018), this child is a typical outsider who would want to be accepted by his peers if only he discovered how to be involved. Gender stereotypes refer to a careless performance of white hypocrisy and privileges. Therefore, some schools and states currently have rules banning these practices.

Examples of race and ethnicity

Examples of race and ethnicity shown in the film include; homophobic and racial slurs throughout the film. That is to say, the film had lots of allocation fat jokes to meet since they came solid and quick early on beforehand, totally vanishing before the conclusion. For example, there is a scene in the film where Walter Matthau sits in a tree with another African- American child who angrily refers to Walter Matthau as a honky. Instead of being flabbergasted or outraged, Walter Matthau just raised his brows, silently ignored the comment, and told his friend not to carry race ideas into their conversations because they had other issues. Diversity issues are handled by requesting players to commit to their games and put ethnicity aside. Coakley (2014) states that diversity issues are addressed when sportspeople propose strategies to inspire critical awareness of racist notions, ethnic prejudices, and any form of discrimination established in the structures and cultures of sports companies.

Social Class and youth sport representation

Social Class and youth sports are represented in the film through the coach accepting children from different social types/ backgrounds. Coakley (2014) relates social Class mainly to the involvement of individuals from all categories regardless of socioeconomic background, race, or gender. Social Class and youth sports relations influence individuals who play, watch, and consume information about the sports available in the conventional. Trends of people participating in sports (playing, watching, or drinking through media) are primarily associated with power, money, and privilege. Yes, meritocracy is validated because it rejuvenated childhood memories of having a little league that I did not like. The meritocracy was illustrated where good team players were heroes and celebrated and pointed toward the appropriate area with the expectation that they would keep walking. Technically, meritocracy in sports must involve winning, through which winning comprises skills. However, it can not be explained why some children are very good at sports while others are not, no matter how hard they try. Coakley (2014) argues that meritocracy is the notion that individuals must always get what they deserve (work hard for) and earn whatever they get.

The concept of Ageism

Ageism, the Meaning of Age, and Aging as a Social and Political Issue refers to the ability to participate in sports participation of an individual. From an early stage, it is known that the norms for classifying and evaluating individuals, whether fit, short, tall, fat, thin, unattractive, attractive, athletic, old, disabled, or young, determine their ability to participate in particular sports. Coakley (2014) found that Ageism currently influences relationships in parts of North America and Europe. Ageism causes age segregation, particularly in sports and physical activities. Therefore, as a result, older individuals, like volleyball players in the 2013 United States Senior Games in Ohio, infrequently engage in physical or sports activities with younger individuals. Furthermore, the perception of Ageism respites on the beliefs that young individuals are more skilled & superior to individuals that have passed their Middle Ages and become older. It is a belief that is primarily spread in most cultures, and many individuals have taken it for granted, making them joke about older individuals and developing an overall fear of them becoming old. Therefore, adults are represented in the film by acting as coaches to equip the younger individuals with skills they once knew about.


In conclusion, the Bad Bears movie is hilarious, with a gloomier side that pushes through mainly the severe parts. It is a classic film that brings back childhood memories that many other movies do not.


Coakley, J., & Pike, E. (2014). Sports in society: Issues and controversies.: SiS11e Coakley Chs 1-9.pdf

Evans, J. (2021). The privatization of Sports. Sports Radio America.

Feltz, D. L. (2001). Youth sports, psychology of. ScienceDirect. DOI:

Greco, J. (2020). The Bad News Bears (1976) – Does it hold up? SBNATION.

Holland, H. (2018, January 10). Back to 1976: THE BAD NEWS BEARS. F This Movie!


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