A movie directed by Ron Shelton
Bull Durham is a 1988 American romantic comedy about baseball. It is based upon the minor league experiences of writer/director Ron Shelton and depicts the players and fans of the Durham Bulls, a minor league baseball team in Durham, North Carolina. Kevin Costner stars as "Crash" Davis, a veteran catcher brought in to teach rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) about the game in preparation for reaching the Major Leagues. Baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) romances Nuke but finds herself increasingly attracted to Crash. Also featured are Robert Wuhl and Max Patkin.
Baseball movies were not considered a viable commercial prospect at the time of this film's production, and every studio passed except for Orion Pictures, who gave Shelton a USD $9 million budget, an eight-week shooting schedule, and creative freedom. Even so, many cast members accepted salaries lower than their usual due to their enthusiasm for the material. He cast Kevin Costner because of the actor's natural athletic ability. During filming, Costner was able to hit two home runs while the cameras were rolling.
Bull Durham was a commercial success, grossing over $50 million in North America, well above its estimated budget, and was a critical success as well. Sports Illustrated ranked it the #1 Greatest Sports Movie of all time. The Moving Arts Film Journal ranked it #3 on its list of the 25 Greatest Sports Movies of All-Time. In addition, the film is ranked #55 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies." It is also ranked #97 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Laughs" list, and #1 on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 53 best reviewed sports movies of all time.