SLAP SHOT (1977)
A film by George Roy Hill.
Cast: Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean, Strother Martin.
Located in the US Rust Belt, Charlestown is home of the hapless Chiefs, a losing Federal League hockey team whose games are poorly attended. To make money, the team’s unknown owner makes its manager, Joe McGrath, do cheesy publicity much to the players’ chagrin. Rumors abound among the players that if the local mill closes, the team will fold. Just before the official announcement is made, the team’s aging player/coach, Reggie Dunlop, does get wind that the mill is indeed closing and that this season will be the team’s last. Beyond efforts to reconcile with his wife Francine, who loves Reggie but doesn’t love his career, Reggie begins to focus on how to renew interest in the team for a possible sale as he knows if the team folds, his hockey career is over. Without telling anyone of his plan, he begins a rumor that the owner is negotiating a sale with a city in Florida.
It Is a funny, frank, violent film about minor league hockey offers a wonderful comic performance from Newman as the aging player-coach of the Charleston Chiefs. In addition to Newman’s masterful work, the film includes excellent supporting performances by Martin as the Chiefs’ general manager, Duncan as a sportscaster, and Crouse as Ontkean’s most unhappy wife. A great film by George hill and a wonderful cast.