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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

The Waterboy (1998)

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: A grown man-child stands up to all of his bullies and becomes America's best college football player.

Plot Summary: After long time water boy, Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler), is fired from his job at the University of Louisiana because the players are so often distracted by trying to harass him, Boucher sets out to find another job as a water boy. However, after finding a new job at SCLSU, Boucher is yet again subjected to taunting and abuse by the players only to take out his rage on one of them after being encouraged to finally stand up for himself by Coach Klein (Henry Winkler). Despite his mama's protestations (Kathy Bates), Boucher quickly becomes a college football sensation, but will Boucher get the last laugh on all of his bullies?


  • Frank Coraci, Director and Roberto Boucher

  • Tim Herlihy, Writer

  • Adam Sandler as Bobby Boucher, Jr., Writer

  • Kathy Bates as Helen "Mama" Boucher

  • Henry Winkler as Coach Klein

  • Fairuza Balk as Vicki Vallencourt

  • Jerry Reed as Coach Red Beaulieu

  • Peter Dante as Gee Grenouille

  • Larry Gilliard Jr. as Derek Wallace

  • Blake Clark as Farmer Fran

  • Jonathan Loughran as Lyle Robideaux


  • The Waterboy currently has a 33% on RT and a 41 on Metacritic

  • The film opened at number 1 at the US box office, earning $39,414,071 in its opening weekend, a record opening for November.

  • The film grossed $161,491,646 in the United States, and a further $28,700,000 internationally, for a worldwide total of $190,191,646 worldwide, against an estimated production budget of $20 million.

  • As of 2020, The Waterboy is the highest-grossing film in the sports comedy genre.

Did You Know:

  • Henry Winkler's role as Coach Klein came about after he was mentioned in Adam Sandler's huge hit "The Chanukah Song", where Sandler sang about various Jewish or half-Jewish entertainers. Sandler said, correctly, that the actor who played Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on Happy Days (1974) is Jewish, and Winkler was thrilled by the reference and contacted Sandler to tell him so. Sandler then decided to ask Winkler if he would read the script for the coach's role, and then say if he wanted to take the part. Winkler did so and immediately signed on to the film.

  • Kathy Bates was convinced to take the role of Helen "Mama" Boucher by her niece, a longtime fan of Adam Sandler.

  • When the film was released in November of 1998, it was preceded by the trailer for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). Many Star Wars fans who were not fans of Adam Sandler paid the full admission price and sat through the trailer, then left the theater.

  • This movie was the highest-grossing football/sports film of all time, before being beaten by The Blind Side (2009).

  • This was the final acting role of Jerry Reed.

  • Suzanne Lloyd Hayes, granddaughter of silent screen star Harold Lloyd, filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company in 2000, claiming that this movie was plagiarized from Lloyd's silent film classic The Freshman (1925). By 2002, the courts ruled against her.

  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.

Best Performance: Kathy Bates (Mama)/Adam Sandler (Bobby)

Best Secondary Performance: Henry Winkler (Klein)

Most Charismatic Award: Henry Winkler (Klein)/Adam Sandler (Bobby)

Best Scene:

  • UL Practice

  • Captain Insano

  • Bobby Stands Up for Himself

  • Tackling Fuel

  • What Mama Don't Know...

  • Madula Oblongata

  • Bobby Gives Away the Game

  • First Win

  • Pep Rally

  • GED Exam

  • Fake Coma

  • Candlelight Rally

  • Bourbon Bowl

  • Last Minute Win

Favorite Scene: Bourbon Bowl/Bobby Stands Up for Himself

Most Indelible Moment: Bobby Stands Up for Himself/"You Can Do It!!!" and Candlelight Rally

In Memorium:

  • Gilbert Gottfried, 67, American Actor/Comedian/Podcaster (Aladdin, Aflac Duck, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.)

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Bobby Boucher: My Mama says that alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.

Young Bobby Boucher: [flashback to Bobby's childhood] Mama, when did Ben Franklin invent electricity?

Mama Boucher: That's nonsense, I invented electricity. Ben Franklin is the Devil!

Coach Klein: Son, you just opened up a whole case of whoop-ass.

Mama Boucher: [to Bobby] You don't have what they call "the social skills." That's why you never have any friends, 'cept fo' yo' mama.

Coach Klein: Gatorade not only quenches your thirst better, it tastes better too.

Mama Boucher: No son of mine is gonna play any fool's-ball.

Dan Fouts: The waterboy just needed some water!

Brent Musburger: Wow Dan, did you come up with that all by yourself?

Dan Fouts: Shut up, Brent.

Bobby Boucher: Now that's what I call high quality H2O.

Paco: Look at Bobby tackle. I haven't seen a tackle like that since Joe Montana.

Walter: Joe Montana was a quarterback, you idiot.

Bobby Boucher: No, Colonel Sanders, you're wrong. Mama's right.

Bobby Boucher: Captain Insano shows no mercy.

Paco: I am not what you would call a handsome man. The good Lord chose not to bless me with... with charm, athletic ability... or a fully functional brain. You see, you're an inspriation, to all of us who... who weren't born handsome, and charming and cool, and and...

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 6

Novelty: 6

Classic-ness: 5

Rewatchability: 8.25

Audience Score: 7.95 (88% Google, 71% RT)

Total: 38.7

Remaining Questions:

  • Why did they admit Mama to the hospital?

  • Did SCLSU win the National Championship?

  • How many plays do you think were in Coach Klein's Green Notebook?

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