AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Bull Durham
Director: Ron Shelton (Dir)
Release Date:   15 Jun 1988
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 Jun 1988
Production Date:   began early Oct 1987 in Durham, NC
Duration (in mins):   106
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Kevin Costner (Crash Davis)  
    Susan Sarandon (Annie Savoy)  
    Tim Robbins (Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh)  
    Trey Wilson ([Joe] "Skip" [Riggins])  
    Robert Wuhl (Larry)  
    William O`Leary (Jimmy)  
    David Neidorf (Bobby)  
    Danny Gans (Deke)  
    Tom Silardi (Tony)  
    Jenny Robertson (Millie)  
    Rick Marzan (Jose)  
    George Buck (Nuke's father)  
    Lloyd Williams (Mickey)  
  and Max Patkin (Himself) "The Clown Prince of Baseball" as
    Greg Avelone (Doc)  
    Carey "Garland" Bunting (Teddy, Radio announcer)  
    Robert Dickman (Whitey)  
    Timothy Kirk (Ed)  
    Don Davis (Scared batter)  
    Stephen Ware (Umpire)  
    Tobi Eshelman (Bat boy)  
    C. K. Bibby (Mayor)  
    Henry G. Sanders (Sandy)  
    Antoinette Forsyth (Ballpark announcer)  
    Shirley Anne Ritter (Cocktail waitress)  
    Pete Bock (Minister)  
    Alan Mejia (Chu Chu)  
  Core baseball players: Sid Aikens    
    Craig Brown    
    Wes Currin    
    Butch Davis    
    Paul Devlin    
    Jeff Greene    
    Kelly Heath    
    Mo Johnson    
    Tim Kirk    
    Todd Kopeznski    
    John Lovingood    
    Eddie Matthews    
    Alan Paternoster    
    Bill Robinson    
    Dean Robinson    
    Tom Schultz    
    Sam Veraldi    
    ElChico Williams    

Summary: Annie Savoy attends a minor league baseball game in her hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Annie, who sleeps with a different player on the Durham Bulls team every year, swears by her ability to improve a player’s performance by making love to him for the duration of the season. As the game is about to start, head coach Joe “Skip” Riggins finds new pitcher Ebby Calvin LaLoosh having sex with a local girl named Millie in the locker room. Skip berates Ebby, reminding him that he is about to make his professional debut. In the stands, Millie informs Annie that Ebby’s lovemaking is like his pitching, “sort of all over the place.” After the game, veteran player Crash Davis arrives and Skip offers to hire him as the new catcher, hoping Crash will mentor Ebby. Although Crash feels he is too old for the sport, he accepts. Later, the team unwinds at a local bar where Crash flirts with Annie but says he does not dance. Ebby interrupts to thank Annie for a note she sent him during the game, and the two men fight over her. Taking their quarrel outside, Crash challenges Ebby to throw a baseball at his body, but Ebby misses. Humiliated, Ebby charges at him, but Crash punches Ebby, then introduces himself as the new catcher. Annie invites both men to accompany her back home, where she informs them of her habit of sleeping with a new player each season. Although she announces that Crash and Ebby are her top contenders, Crash turns her down, offended. Puzzled by his rejection, Annie returns to Ebby, who allows her to tie him to the bed but becomes disappointed when she remains clothed and reads aloud from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Although they do not sleep together that night, Annie and Ebby become a couple and she nicknames him “Nuke,” a name the other players embrace. Crash continues to clash with Nuke and warns him that his slovenly ways will never get him into the major leagues, which Crash refers to as “the show.” During his first game for the Bulls, Crash strikes out, distracted by thoughts of Annie. She sends him a note with a suggestion about his form and offers to work with him. The two go to a batting cage, where Annie admits she looked up Crash’s record and discovered he is twenty homeruns away from setting a minor league record. Ignoring her encouragement, Crash suggests they make love, but Annie says she is monogamous during the baseball season. Later, Annie accidentally calls Nuke “Crash” during sex. At the next game, Nuke rejects Crash’s signals for pitches, and Crash retaliates by alerting a hitter he is about to throw a fastball. The player hits a homerun off the pitch, and Nuke learns his lesson, following Crash’s signals for the rest of the game. Under Crash’s direction, Nuke’s pitching improves but remains inconsistent. As the team leaves town for a series of away games, Annie gives Nuke a garter belt as a parting gift and urges him to wear it under his uniform, promising the lingerie will put him in a different state of mind. On the team bus, Crash reveals he played in the major leagues for twenty-one days and suggests Nuke lacks the passion required to succeed in “the show.” The Bulls begin a losing streak on the road, but Crash hits well. When they return to Durham, Crash watches jealously as Annie greets Nuke at the bus. Suiting up for another game, Crash catches Nuke putting on Annie’s garter belt in the locker room. Embarrassed, Nuke explains Annie’s theory that the garter belt will keep his brain off-center, and also reveals that she ordered him to follow Crash’s signals. Although the first inning is rocky, Nuke’s pitching improves, and Crash hits a homerun. Later in the game, Crash instructs Nuke to throw a pitch at the mascot, and the wild ball successfully confuses the hitter, who strikes out afterward. The Bulls begin a winning streak, and Nuke frustrates Annie by swearing off sex as long as they continue to win. With Annie suffering from lack of sex, the team reaches a tie for first in the minor leagues. Nuke reveals to Crash that he is rechanneling his sexual energy, and Crash encourages him to remain celibate. Nuke relays Crash’s advice to Annie, who goes to Crash’s apartment and berates him for interrupting her sex life. While arguing, Annie is overcome with passion and declares that she wants Crash. He rejects her playfully and she announces this is the strangest baseball season of her life. When the team finally loses a game, Nuke brings his father to meet Annie at her house. They are interrupted by a phone call from Skip Riggins, who reports that a major league team wants Nuke, and he must leave the next morning. Elated, Nuke shares a heartfelt goodbye with Annie and returns her garter belt. Later that night, Nuke finds Crash drunk at a pool hall and tells him the good news. Complaining that Nuke is not worthy of his talent, Crash provokes a fight, but Nuke punches him cold. The next day, Crash enters the locker room with a black eye to reconcile with Nuke before he leaves, encouraging the pitcher to remain cocky despite the difficult hitters he will be up against. After the next Bulls game, Skip tells Crash that the manager wants to replace him with a young catcher now that Nuke is gone. Dejected, Crash goes to Annie’s house and she offers him a drink, knowing that he has been let go. The two share a passionate night of lovemaking, but Crash leaves early in the morning and Annie finds a note that he has left town to play for another team. Soon after, Crash breaks the minor league record for homeruns; although Annie takes notice, the accomplishment does not make sports news. One day, Annie comes home from a rained out game to find Crash, who quit his team after setting the record. Annie informs him that she has decided to quit “boys,” and Crash tells her he might take a manager position next season. When Annie excitedly rambles about Crash’s abilities, he begs her not to intellectualize and leads her inside to dance.  

Production Company: Mount Company  
Production Text: A Mount Company Production
Distribution Company: Orion Pictures Corporation  
Director: Ron Shelton (Dir)
  David V. Lester (Unit prod mgr)
  Richard J. Kidney (1st asst dir)
  Nina Kostroff (2d asst dir)
  Donald J. Lee, Jr. (2d 2d asst dir)
  Michael Samson (DGA trainee)
  Gene Corr (2d unit dir)
  Ken Goch (1st asst dir, 2d unit)
Producer: Thom Mount (Prod)
  Mark Burg (Prod)
  David V. Lester (Exec prod)
  Charles Hirschhorn (Assoc prod)
Writer: Ron Shelton (Wrt)
Photography: Bobby Byrne (Dir of photog)
  William Eric Engler (Cam op)
  Robert Allan Guernsey (1st cam asst)
  Perry Adleman (2d cam asst)
  John C. Ferguson (Gaffer)
  James R. Tomaro (Best boy)
  William B. Hendricks (Lamp op)
  Tommy Ray Sullivan (Lamp op)
  Marg Chiaventone (Lamp op)
  Monica Sweet (Lamp op)
  Jim Whitson (Musco light op)
  Robert James (Key grip)
  Scott Lieu (Best boy)
  Paul Henry (Dolly grip)
  Robert Hoelen (Grip)
  Charles Eric Jones (Grip)
  York Phelps (Grip)
  Joel Warren (Still photog)
  Van Scarboro (Video playback op)
  Charles Minsky (Addl photog)
  Bob Hillman (Dir of photog, 2d unit)
  Dick Meinardus (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Chris Burton (1st asst cam, 2d unit)
Art Direction: Armin Ganz (Prod des)
  David Lubin (Art dir)
  Frances R. Brogden (Art dept asst)
  Brick Mason (Prod illustrator)
Film Editor: Robert Leighton (Film ed)
  Adam Weiss (Film ed)
  Steve Nevius (Asst ed)
  Margaret Goodspeed (Asst ed)
  Celeste Beard (Asst ed)
  Kona Cutting (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Kris Boxell (Set dec)
  David Brace (Assoc set dec)
  John Kelly (Key scenic artist)
  Jay Fisher (Set painter)
  Dwain F. Wilson (Key dresser)
  Polar Bear (Set dresser)
  Kim T. McClees (Set dresser)
  Robert M. Beck (Set dresser)
  Ron Servicky (Set dresser)
  Nino Candido (Prop master)
  Bruce Kasson (Asst prop master)
  James C. Brookshire (Prop asst)
  Jim Hill (Const coord)
  Thomas Michael Ryan (Const foreman)
  Theo Van Den Huevel (Carpenter)
  Mark Geiger (Carpenter)
  Jeffrey L. McKay (Carpenter)
  Breon Dunigan (Carpenter)
Costumes: Louise Frogley (Cost des)
  Deborah Latham (Cost supv)
  Alonzo Wilson (Costumer)
  Robin Hill (Costumer)
  Selma F. Hill (Seamstress)
Music: Michael Convertino (Mus)
  Danny Bramson (Mus supv)
  Ellen Segal (Mus ed)
  Paul Brown (Mus scoring mixer)
  Wayne Peet (Ballpark organist)
Sound: Kirk Francis (Sd mixer)
  Mychal Smith (Boom op)
  Tim Ballou (Cableman)
  Robert W. Glass, Jr. (Re-rec mixer)
  Robert M. Thirlwell (Re-rec mixer)
  Robert Minkler (Re-rec mixer)
  Michael Boudry (Rec)
  Larry Kemp (Supv sd ed)
  Lon E. Bender (Supv sd ed)
  Neal R. Burger (Sd ed)
  Kevin Hearst (Sd ed)
  Lou Kleinman (Sd ed)
  Dan M. Rich (Sd ed)
  Jeff Watts (Sd ed)
  Lorna Anderson (Sd ed)
  Wylie Stateman (Sd ed)
  Devon Heffley Curry (ADR supv)
  Stan Gilbert (ADR ed)
  Frank Smathers (ADR ed)
  William D. Dotson (Asst sd ed)
  Scott Warner (Asst sd ed)
  Dave Alstadter (ADR/Foley rec)
  Steve Cohen (ADR/Foley rec)
  Alan Holly (ADR mixer)
  Richard L. Morrison (Foley mixer)
  Jeff Courtie (Foley mixer)
  Paul Holzborn (Foley artist)
  Jim Moriana (Foley artist)
  Compact Sound Services (Re-rec at)
  David Terry (Sd mixer, 2d unit)
Special Effects: Vern Hyde (Spec eff tech)
  Jeff Hyde (Spec eff tech)
  Cinema Research Corporation (Titles & opt eff)
  Dan Perri (Title des)
Make Up: Leslie Anne Anderson (Hairstylist)
  Cynthia Barr (Makeup artist)
  Doreen Van Tyne (Asst makeup artist)
Production Misc: Bonnie Timmermann (Casting)
  Karen Golden (Scr supv)
  Janice F. Sperling (Prod coord)
  Sabine French (Prod secy)
  Ricki L. Stein (Prod auditor)
  Anne K. Moosman (Asst prod auditor)
  Barbara Lucey (Financial representative)
  Sam Goldrich (Prod consultant)
  Carrie Morrow (Post prod auditor)
  Allen Custard (Loc mgr)
  Beth Semans (Asst loc mgr)
  David Linck (Unit pub)
  Steven Crandell (Prod asst)
  David Cook (Prod asst)
  Deborah Parker (Prod asst)
  Steve Edwards (Prod asst)
  Stewart Dixon (Prod asst)
  Lawrence J. Banks (Asst to Mr. Mount)
  Kippi Bell (Asst to Mr. Burg)
  Leonard A. Oakland (Asst to Mr. Shelton)
  Cynthia Greenhill (Asst to Mr. Costner)
  Karen Standard (Loc casting)
  Susan Brogden (Loc casting asst)
  Suzanne Ryan (Asst to Bonnie Timmermann)
  Jeffrey Block (Asst to Bonnie Timmermann)
  Carmen Giordano (Caterer)
  Anita L. Giordano (Caterer)
  Anita V. Giordano (Caterer)
  Michael E. Hernandez (Caterer)
  Peter Bock (Baseball consultant)
  Grady Little (Baseball trainer)
  Laura Brown (Craft service)
  William Ted Fowler (Craft service)
  John Teitloff (Craft service)
  David Siegel (Transportation coord)
  Jonathan A. Rosenfeld (Transportation capt)
  Wes Adams (Driver)
  Karen Chalk (Driver)
  C.M. Daniell, Jr. (Driver)
  Allan D. Hamilton (Driver)
  Wayne Jones (Driver)
  Sonny Knight (Driver)
  James J. Mulvaney (Driver)
  Peyton T. Reed (Driver)
  John Schultz (Driver)
  Brian Steagall (Driver)
  O`Brian Tomalin (Driver)
  Jon Shapiro (Photo researcher)
Stand In: Webster Whinery (Stunt coord)
Color Personnel: Phil Downey (Col timer)
  De Luxe® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Centerfield," written and performed by John Fogerty, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products; "Rock Around The Clock," written by Jimmy DeKnight and Max Friedman, performed by Bill Haley & The Comets, courtesy of MCA Records; "Try A Little Tenderness," written by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell & Reg Connelly, performed by Dr. John and Bennie Wallace; "Sixty Minute Man," written by William E. Ward and Rose Marks, performed by The Dominoes, courtesy of G.M.L., Inc.; "Baseball Boogie," written and performed by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter; "Only A Memory," written by Pat DiNinzio, performed by The Smithereens; "Born To Be Bad," written by George Thorogood, performed by George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers; "You Done Me Wrong," written and performed by Pat McLaughlin; "When Will I Be Loved," written by Phil Everly, performed by The Everly Brothers; "Middle of Nowhere," written by Gina Schock and Vance DeGeneres, performed by House of Schock; "All Night Dance," written by Bennie Wallace, performed by Bennie Wallace, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Mac "Dr. John" Rabennack; "Woman Loves A Man," written by Hanighen, Jenkins, Mercer, performed by Joe Cocker; "I Idolize You," written by Ike Turner, performed by Ike & Tina Turner; "La Vie En Rose," written by Louiguy, Piaf, David, performed by Edith Piaf, courtesy of EMI-Pathe Marconi; "So Long Baby, Goodbye," written by Dave Alvin, performed by The Blasters, courtesy of Slash Records/Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products; "Love Ain't No Triple Play," written and performed by Bennie Wallace/Mac "Dr. John" Rabennack; "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," written by C. Dumont, M. Vaucaire, performed by Edith Piaf, courtesy of EMI-Pathe Marconi; "I Got Loaded," written by Camille Bob, performed by Los Lobos, courtesy of Slash Records/Warner Bros. Records, Inc. by arrangement with Warner Special Products; "Can't Tear It Up Enuff," written by Kim Wilson, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, courtesy of Bruco Music.
Composer: Jimmy Campbell
  Bernie Hanighen
  Dave Alvin
  Jeff "Skunk" Baxter
  Camille Bob
  Reg Connelly
  Mack David
  Vance DeGeneres
  Jimmy DeKnight
  Pat DiNinzio
  Charles Dumont
  Phil Everly
  John Fogerty
  Max Friedman
  Gordon Jenkins
  Rose Marks
  Pat McLaughlin
  Johnny Mercer
  Edith Piaf
  Gina Schock
  George Thorogood
  Ike Turner
  Michel Vaucaire
  Bennie Wallace
  William E. Ward
  Kim Wilson
  Harry Woods
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Orion Pictures Corporation 7/11/1988 dd/mm/yyyy PA392721

PCA NO: 29162
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
  Lenses/Prints: Camera and lenses by Panavision®

Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: Baseball
Subjects (Major): Baseball
  Baseball players
  North Carolina
  Sports fans
Subjects (Minor): Aging
  Walt Whitman

Note: The following photo acknowledgements appear in end credits: Babe Ruth, courtesy of Nat Fein; Fernando Valenzuela, courtesy of UPI/Bettman Newsphotos; Willie Mays, Ed Gaedel, Jackie Robinson, courtesy of AP/Wide World Photos; “Playground in a Tenement Alley,” courtesy of George Eastman House; Pete Rose, courtesy of The Sporting News. End credits also include thanks to the following individuals and organizations: Paula Abdul; Adidas; Alaia; Aurora Allain; American Airlines; The Asheville Tourists; David Berman; The Burlington Indians; The City of Durham, NC; The D.C. May Company; Tim Devine; The Durham Bulls; Durham Police & Fire Depts.; Leigh French; Greg Gorman; The Greensboro Hornets; Holly Farms Chicken; Bruce Lundvall; Mitch’s Tavern; North Carolina Highway Patrol; North Carolina Film Commission; Larry O’Brian; Rock Mount Parks and Recreation; Ducky Shaw; David Slade; Paul Smith, Ltd.; Randy Smith (Umpire); Sharon Swab; The Texas Rangers; Keith Underwood; Carlton White (Bull Mascot); Wilson Parks & Recreation; Wilson Sporting Goods; WMAG-FM; Miles Wolff; WRDU-FM; Yohji Yamamoto.
       Working titles included National Pastime and A Player To Be Named Later.
       Writer-director Ron Shelton played minor league baseball for five years, as noted in a 5 Apr 2002 NYT article. In 1979, he penned a screenplay titled A Player To Be Named Later that caught the attention of Universal Pictures’ president, Thom Mount. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Mount, who went on to become co-owner of the Durham Bulls and four other minor league baseball teams, encouraged Shelton to overhaul the script, keeping only the two main characters, “the journeyman catcher and the screwy young pitcher.” After leaving Universal to become an independent producer, Mount secured financing for the $9 million film from Orion Pictures, as noted in a 10 Jan 1988 LAT article. Lead actor Kevin Costner, who played “Crash Davis,” reportedly received a salary of $3 million.
       Shelton selected the name of the character, Crash Davis, from a minor league baseball encyclopedia, and the real-life Davis called him after hearing about the film to promise he would not sue, as noted in a 1 Dec 1994 LAT news item. The men became friends and Shelton later cast Davis in his 1994 film Cobb (see entry). According to a 13 Nov 1988 LAHExam news item, actor Kurt Russell, who played minor league baseball until the age of twenty-two, was eager to play Crash and agreed to do the movie before Kevin Costner was cast.
       During pre-production, Costner practiced at a batting cage near his home in Pasadena, CA. Also prior to filming, a two-week baseball camp took place in Durham, NC, led by baseball consultant and ex-umpire Pete Bock; there, fifty actors and local baseball players tried out for roles that Bock helped cast.
       Principal photography was slated to begin 8 Oct 1987 in Durham, NC, as stated in a 25 Sep 1987 HR brief; however, a DV item of the same date named 7 Oct 1987 as the start date, while 27 Oct 1987 HR production charts reported that filming began 5 Oct 1987. Crew members painted the stands of Durham’s El Toro Stadium green and yellow, and a new sign was erected at the entrance that read: “Welcome to El Toro Stadium, Home of the Durham Bills – the Greatest Show on Dirt.” Instead of using the stadium’s locker room, a set was built at a factory warehouse in downtown Durham. The 10 Jan 1988 LAT noted that production was still underway, and below-freezing temperatures made for uncomfortable filming conditions for cast members dressed in late-summer attire and shooting mostly outdoors.
       A 3 Jun 1988 HR item reported that Bull Durham was set to open 15 Jun 1988 on 1,200 screens. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $5 million on 1,238 screens, according to the 23 Jun 1988 HR, while the 21 Jun 1988 LAT noted that it took in $6.4 million in box-office receipts in the first five days.
       Critical reception was mixed. Consistent praise went to Shelton’s depiction of the minor league baseball world and the game itself, with the 1 Aug 1988 New Republic review deeming the baseball sequences “very good indeed” but the rest of the story bland, and sometimes offensive. Calling it a “fanciful and funny bush league sports story,” the 10 Jun 1988 DV review praised Shelton’s writing and Costner’s performance, but criticized Susan Sarandon’s character “Annie Savoy” as unbelievable and old-fashioned; similarly, the HR review of the same date described the film as “ambitious” and well-crafted but complained that Annie came across as a “dingbat...way out in left field.”
       Ron Shelton won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Screenplay, Written Directly for the Screen, as well as Best Screenplay honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Society of Film Critics. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, and received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, and Best Original Song (“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Bernard Hanighen, Gordon Jenkins, Johnny Mercer).
       Actor Tim Robbins, who played “Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh,” donated his Durham Bulls uniform to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, according to a 25 Jun 1999 LAT brief. Although the Baseball Hall of Fame later organized a fifteenth-anniversary screening of Bull Durham, the event was cancelled by Dale Petroskey, the president of the organization, who refused to condone Robbins’s vocal opposition to the Iraq War, as noted in a 25 Apr 2003 NYT article. The anniversary screening was moved to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY, with Robbins, Sarandon, and Shelton in attendance.
       The film marked Ron Shelton’s feature film directorial debut.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   14 Dec 1987.   
Daily Variety   3 Jun 1988.   
Daily Variety   10 Jun 1988   p. 3, 18.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Sep 1987.   
Hollywood Reporter   27 Oct 1987.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jun 1988.   
Hollywood Reporter   10 Jun 1988   p. 3, 10.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jun 1988.   
LAHExam   13 Nov 1988   Section A, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times   10 Jan 1988   Section K, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times   15 Jun 1988   Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   21 Jun 1988   Section H, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   1 Dec 1994   Section C, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times   25 Jun 1999.   
New Republic   1 Aug 1988.   
New York Times   15 Jun 1988   Section C, p. 20.
New York Times   3 Jul 1988   Section A, p. 1.
New York Times   25 Apr 2003   Section B, p. 2.
Variety   15 Jun 1988   p. 12.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.