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Film: Slap Shot

Dunlop: You cheap son-of-a-bitch, are you crazy? Those guys [The Hanson Brothers] are retards!
McGrath: I got a good deal on those boys. Scouts said they showed a lot of promise.
Dunlop: They brought their fuckin' toys with them!
McGrath: I'd rather have them playing with their toys then playing with themselves.
Dunlop: They're too dumb to play with themselves! Boy, every piece of garbage that comes on the market, you gotta buy it!
McGrath: (snickering) Reg, Reg... that reminds me. I was coachin' in Omaha in 1948 and Eddie Shore sends me this guy that's a terrible masturbator, you know? Couldn't control himself. He would get deliberate penalties so he could get in to the penalty box all by himself, and damn! if he wouldn't (makes hand motions of masturbation) na-na-nana-na-na...
Dunlop: Oh Jesus... (walks away in disgust)
McGrath: What was his name? (snickering, continues to make hand motions) Na-na-nana-na-na...

Slap Shot is a comedy movie released in 1977 that has earned a sort of cult status among hockey fans and is recognized as the best hockey movie of all time by no less an authority than The Hockey News.

The Charlestown Chiefs are a minor league hockey team in the Federal League. With a losing record, a lack of popularity, and the fact that the town's mill - a main local job provider - is closing, the team seems doomed to be folded after the season. But then the team picks up the Hanson Brothers, three child-like young men that play the roughest hockey the team has ever seen. Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman), a veteran player and the team's coach decides to retool the team after the brothers after their fighting and overly aggressive style of play excites the Chiefs' fans. This decision splits the team between players who enjoy some good rough-housing on the ice, and those that prefer the "clean" style of playing.

Despite their slow rise in popularity, the team is still meant to be folded, and in order to keep his players' spirits up, Dunlop starts a rumor that the team has a buyer somewhere in Florida. As the Chiefs continue winning and gaining fans, Dunlop blackmails the team's stingy GM, Joe McGrath (Strother Martin) to tell him who the Chiefs' mysteriously unknown owner is, in order to convince them not to fold the team.

The script was written by Nancy Dowd, whose brother Ned played for the Johnstown Jets, a team that included the guys who would play the Hanson Brothers in the movie. The director, George Roy Hill, also directed Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Game: For the league championship. Subverted by the very unusual ending to the Big Game.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The F word itself is mentioned at least 60 times throughout the movie, among other swears. Hey, it's the language of the locker room. Paul Newman has said in interviews that he swore very little before making Slap Shot, but retained Reg's penchant for profanity after filming.
  • The Danza:
    • The Hanson brothers - Jeff, Steve and Jack Hanson were played by Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson and David Hanson respectively.
    • Averted with Dave "Killer" Carlson, who was based on (and supposed to be played by) Dave Hanson, until Jeff and Steve's brother Jack Carlson (who would've played Jack Hanson) was called up to Edmonton for a playoff run, making himself unavailable for filming. Dave took over Jack's role, and Dave's role went to Jerry Houser.
  • Fanservice: A topless scene with Melinda Dillon for no particular reason.
  • Hockey Fight: The climactic final game pretty quickly devolves into this. The defusing of it (by one of the players deciding to strip-tease) Makes As Much Sense In Context.
  • Man Child: The Hanson Brothers. (Reggie to the General Manager: "You cheap bastard, those guys are retards!")
  • Memetic Mutation: "Old time hockey!" referred in universe to clean play. In popular culture, however... Though there's a bit of Values Dissonance at play here. At the time of the film, the idea of gooning it up as strategy was still a relatively new concept, having just been codified a few years earlier by the Philadelphia Flyers (who gooned their way to a pair of Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975). But by the end of the 80s, the NHL and most professional, college, and junior leagues had began to crack down on fighting. Then as the Cold War ended and Eastern European players began to make their way to North America... bringing their quicker, finesse-based style with them... the term "old time hockey" began to refer to the goonery that say its heyday in the 1970s.
  • Mooning: The entire team plus their followers do this out the windows of their vehicles when they get to one town that objects to their presence, and manage to stun the crowd to silence.
  • Music At Sporting Events: "Don't ever play 'Lady of Spain' again!"
  • Noodle Incident: One of the notorious players returning to hockey for the final "has been living in semi-seclusion in Northern Quebec ever since the famed Denny Pratt Tragedy."
  • Opposing Sports Team: Inverted in that the protagonists are a down-and-out hockey team who suddenly hit the big time when they recruit three brothers who teach them the value of violent tactics deliberately designed to hurt the other team. This ends with them facing a team that's a conglomeration of all the most violent players their opponents can find, with no one making any attempt to play the game as they just try to kick each others' asses instead.
  • Outdated Outfit:
    • The outfits in this film are very, very 1970s, to an embarrassing extent.
    • This even extends to the teams' uniforms. Helmets didn't become mandatory in professional hockey until the late 70s and nowadays, any league worth its salt will not let a player play without one.
  • Precision F-Strike: Though the Hanson Brothers are brutal, they at least know when to shut up and when others should too. One referee thought that the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was the perfect opportunity to berate them for the brawl that had happened during the warmups.
    Referee:I got my eye on the three of you. You pull one thing, you're out of this game. I run a clean game here. I have any trouble here, I'll suspend ya.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lily Braden.
  • Trickster Archetype: Reggie Dunlop.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The fashions, hairstyles, and music are so seventies its painful. Plus the background story is the the closing of a steel mill and the crushing blow to the local economy. A very serious issue throughout the rust belt in the seventies. To boot there's a very memorable scene about women's sexual liberation!
  • Unnecessary Roughness:
    • The Hanson Brothers practically embody this.
    • And then with the team of goons for the final game.

Sleeping DogsFilms of the 1970sSmokey and the Bandit
She-Wolf of LondonCreator/UniversalSmokey and the Bandit
MiracleSports StoriesBest Of The Best

alternative title(s): Slap Shot
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