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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Slap Shot (1977)

**45th Anniversary**

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: It's a mid-life crisis movie where one guy is losing everything that he has staked his identity on; so he desperately tries to save it. As far as 70s movies go, it's kind of a lower stakes, much less dark, and half as long version of the Deer Hunter that would win Best Picture the next year.

Plot Summary: Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) is the player/coach of the Charlestown Chiefs, a minor league hockey team in rural Pennsylvania. When the local mill is announced to be closing, Dunlop desperately tries to rally his last place team enough to try and force a sale of the team, and has to resort to bullying and manipulative tactics to both win games and win back the hometown fans. When Dunlop relents to allowing the wildly aggressive and increasingly violent Hanson brothers into games, the Chiefs go on a winning streak by completely beating up their opponents. Nevertheless, can Dunlop save the Chiefs and his career?


  • George Roy Hill - Director

  • Nancy Dowd - Writer

  • Paul Newman – Reggie Dunlop (#7)

  • Strother Martin – Joe McGrath

  • Michael Ontkean – Ned Braden (#10)

  • Jennifer Warren – Francine Dunlop

  • Lindsay Crouse – Lily Braden

  • Jerry Houser – Dave "Killer" Carlson (#3)

  • Andrew Duncan – Jim Carr

  • Jeff Carlson – Jeff Hanson (#18)

  • Steve Carlson – Steve Hanson (#17)

  • David Hanson – Jack Hanson (#16)

  • Yvon Barrette – Denis Lemieux (#1)

  • Allan Nicholls – Johnny Upton (#12)

  • Brad Sullivan – Morris "Mo" Wanchuk (#2)

  • Stephen Mendillo – Jim Ahern (#6)

  • Yvan Ponton – Jean-Guy Drouin (#14)

  • Matthew Cowles – Charlie

  • Kathryn Walker – Anita McCambridge

  • Melinda Dillon – Suzanne Hanrahan

  • M. Emmet Walsh – Dickie Dunn

  • Swoosie Kurtz – Shirley Upton

  • Paul D'Amato – Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken

  • Ronald L. Docken – Lebrun (#30)

  • Guido Tenesi – Billy Charlebois (#5)

  • Jean Rosario Tetreault – Bergeron (#8)

  • Christopher Murney – Tommy Hanrahan

  • Blake Ball – Gilmore Tuttle

  • Ned Dowd – Ogie Ogilthorpe


  • Slap Shot was a moderate hit upon release, grossing $28,000,000 over its theater run, which placed it at #21 among movies released in 1977.

  • In the years since its initial release, Slap Shot has come to be regarded as a cult classic.

  • Critical reevaluation of the film continues to be positive. In 1998, Maxim magazine named Slap Shot the "Best Guy Movie of All Time" above such acknowledged classics as The Godfather, Raging Bull, and Newman's own Cool Hand Luke.

  • Entertainment Weekly ranked the film #31 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films". In the November 2007 issue of GQ, Dan Jenkins proclaimed Slap Shot "the best sports film of the past 50 years."

  • Slap Shot holds an 83% on RT, and a Metacritic score of 61.

Did You Know:

  • Paul Newman had stated on many occasions that he had more fun making this film than on any other film he has starred in, and that it remained his favorite of his own films until his death.

  • Bruce Boudreau, head coach of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, appears in the film wearing #7 for the Hyannisport Presidents. Boudreau was one of several players for the Johnstown Jets minor league hockey team that were used as extras.

  • Reggie's apartment in this movie is the actual, real life apartment of Bruce Boudreau, who, at the time, played for the Johnstown Jets, the team the Chiefs were modeled on.

  • Paul D'Amato's character, Tim 'Dr. Hook' McCracken, served as the model for the face of the Marvel Comics mutant superhero Wolverine.

  • Though decried by much of the NHL upon release, the movie is still a staple on NHL buses and team charters. It's not uncommon for NHL players born years after the movie's release to name it as their favorite movie. In locker rooms, players refer to reporters who write an untrue rumor with conviction as "Dickie Dunn."

  • The swearing in the film, by 1977 standards, was considered so foul, advertisements contained an additional warning underneath the R-rating: "Certain language may be too strong for children."

  • The Championship Trophy presented at the end of the movie was, in reality, the Lockhart Cup, which was representative of the North American Hockey League championship. To this day, it sits in the basement recreation room of Danny Belisle, where it has become a flower pot.

Best Performance: Paul Newman (Reg)/Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, David Hanson (Hanson Bros.)

Best Secondary Performance: George Roy Hill (Director)/Nancy Dowd (Writer)

Most Charismatic Award: Jerry Houser (Killer Carlson)

Best Scene:

  • Opening Interview

  • Your Wife's a Lesbian

  • Moving to Florida

  • First Hanson Brothers Game

  • $100 Bounty

  • Anita McCambridge

  • Old Time Hockey

  • Braden's Icecapade Striptease

Favorite Scene: First Hanson Brothers Game

Most Indelible Moment: Braden's Icecapade Striptease

In Memorium:

  • Nehemiah Persoff, 102, Israeli-American Actor (Twilight Zone, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Wonder Woman)

  • Bobby Rydell, 79, American Singer and Actor (Bye, Bye Birdie; 34 top 100 hits and more than 25 million albums sold)

  • Estelle Harris, 93, American Actress (Seinfeld, Toy Story 2, 3, 4, Stand and Deliver, Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Jim Carr: Oh this young man has had a very trying rookie season, with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada and that country's refusal to accept him, well, I guess that's more than most 21-year-olds can handle... Ogie Ogilthorpe!

Reggie Dunlop: She underlines the fuck scenes for ya? Jesus, if she underlines the fuck scenes for ya, she must worship the ground you walk on.

Ned Braden: They teach you how to underline in college.

Reggie Dunlop: Not the fuck scenes, they don't. Braden, you gotta learn to put out more, you know what I mean?

Tim McCracken: Dunlop, you suck cock.

Reggie Dunlop: All I can get.

Jim Carr: Ned, what's a young man of your background still doing playing professional hockey?

Ned Braden: I hate my father.

Jim Carr: Is that right?

Ned Braden: That's what I said, isn't it?

Reggie Dunlop: And remember I went up to your room afterwards and you were dressed in chick's clothes? Yeah, you had on this black bra with tassels! You were dancing in front of a mirror with this kinda zebra skin jockstrap.

McGrath: Bitch!

Reggie Dunlop: Remember how I screamed at you when you started coming on to me? And I just said 'Jesus stop it Joe, I'm ashamed of you!'

McGrath: Goddamn you.

Reggie Dunlop: I wanted to tell you I forgot the whole thing. Years have passed, now I'm sexually liberated. I don't care who's a fag no more. I mean who cares? It's natural, it's all around us.

Reggie Dunlop: Who's the owner Joe?

Jim Carr: Andre "Poodle" Lussier, defense. Andre, as you know, has been living in semi-seclusion in Northern Quebec ever since the unfortunate Denny Pratt tragedy.

Morris Wanchuk: Not Poodle.

Jim Carr: And from Mile 40, Saskatchewan, where he now runs a donut shop, number 10, former penalty-minute record holder for the years 1960 to 1968 inclusive, Gilmore Tuttle.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 7.5

Impact/Significance: 5.5

Novelty: 9

Classic-ness: 4.5

Rewatchability: 6.5

Audience Score: 8.75 (84% Google, 89% RT)

Total: 41.75

Remaining Questions:

  • Do the Hanson Brothers follow Reg to Minnesota?

  • How do the Chiefs suddenly get into the championship game with only a six-game winning streak after they were in 5th Place?

  • Who does Dunlop lie to more: the sportswriter, the team, or himself?

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