Gus is a 1976 comedy film created by Walt Disney Productions, starring Edward Asner, Don Knotts, and Gary Grimes.The film told the story of Andy Petrovic, a young Yugoslavian boy who discovers that his mule Gus has the astounding ability to kick any kind of ball up to 100 yards when Andy says the Yugoslavian word "Ojigdz". At the same time, Coach Venner (Knotts), coach of the fictional California Atoms, is conversing with manager Hank Cooper (Asner) who tells Venner that they better improve the team, which is a complete failure at actually winning any games. It is at that moment that Debbie Kovacs, a woman who reads and collects Yugoslavian newspapers, discovers the article about Andy and Gus and when she delivers the news about this discover to Cooper and Venner, Cooper then decides to invite Andy and Gus to California, where Andy and Gus are to be part of the halftime show. However, during the game, when it comes down to one last field goal, it is discovered that Gus can act as the team's place kicker, which results in the Atoms starting to come out on top during the season. However, trouble blooms when conniving Charlie Gwynn makes a bet with Cooper that the Atoms will win seven games before taking part in the Super Bowl, while Charlie secretly plans to make sure that the Atoms do not take part in the Super Bowl. With that, he hires two thugs named Spinner and Crankcase, who have been sprung from jail, to make sure that Andy and Gus do not help the Atoms win. Even though the two flunkies do successfully keep Andy and Gus from attending the game several times (such as taking them on a wrong turn and drugging Gus with alcohol), the Atoms are able to take part in the Super Bowl. Finally, Charlie has Spinner and Crankcase kidnap Gus and replace him with a lookalike mule that had been painted to look like Gus before they smuggle Gus into a hotel. However, Gus suddenly escapes from the hotel after seeing the game on TV in which Andy is using the lookalike mule instead of him. The chase then leads to a supermarket where comical antics ensue. After Andy discovers the false mule, he and Cooper go out to look for Gus via helicopter. After a long while, Gus is finally found after exiting the supermarket so they take him back to the stadium in time for them to make up for lost time. However, because it had been raining during the game, when Gus tries to make a final kick, he ends up slipping on the mud, which leads to Andy acting as a runningback, before making a touchdown, which leads the Atoms to victory, as well as Andy finally gaining the approval of his father.
Tropes found in Gus include:
- Accidental Athlete: Gus would count as a rare animal version of this trope.
- Alcohol Hic: Happens to Gus after Spinner drugs his water and oats with alcohol. This results in Gus inadvertently causing chaos and failing completely at the game.
- Animal Athlete Loophole: When Gus goes out into the field to make a field goal, Johnny Unitas reads from a booklet of sport rules that a player can be a man, a woman, or even a mule.
- As Himself: Johnny Unitas plays a commentator in this film under his own name.
- Bedsheet Ladder: Andy does this as an attempt to escape from the hospital room that Spinner trapped him in, but it's subverted, as it's actually a ploy to lure Crankcase into the room so that Andy could escape while Crankcase is distracted.
- Deadpan Snarker: Johnny Unitas (playing himself), in contrast to his commentating partner, Pepper Allen.
- Doomed Supermarket Display: Gus knocks down one of these while Spinner and Crankcase chase after him in the supermarket.
- Epic Fail: At the beginning of the film, everything goes wrong during the Atoms' training practice, ranging from a marching band tripping up while a tape recorder was revealed to be playing the music to a group of inept female cheerleaders (known as the "Atomettes") falling down every time they did their pyramid routine. There's also Andy's attempts to try to play soccer like his brother Stjepan, which results in Andy falling down the well.
- Face-Heel Turn: Rob Cargill, a former member of the Atoms, switches teams after being replaced by Andy as Debbie's boyfriend, which leads to Rob trying to take Andy and Gus out of the game.
- Horsing Around: Not actually a horse, but Gus would count as an example of this trope.
- Large Ham: Bob Crane as Pepper Allen, in contrast to his commentating partner, Johnny Unitas.
- Left the Background Music On: At first, it appears that the marching band Coach Venner hired was experienced, until the baton twirler drops his baton and trips over the dropped baton, knocking over the band members while the music is still playing, before a bass drum rolls over the tape machine that the music was playing on.
- Meaningful Name: Spinner and Crankcase get their names from two parts of an automobile, the former being a type of ornamental hubcap and the latter being a type of internal combustion engine.
- Playing Against Type: Tim Conway, best known for his protagonist roles, plays the conniving Crankcase in this film.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Spinner and Crankcase
- Villainous Breakdown: Not exactly villainous, but when the Atoms are triumphant in winning the Super Bowl, Pepper becomes so shocked about how wrong his predictions were that he is reduced to just squawking in gibberish, leading to Johnny to take over the rest of the commentary.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Andy appears to be this to his father, who only regards Andy's older brother Stjepan as a true hero, due to the fact that Stjepan is a real soccer pro.