The Bad News Bears Go to Japan

The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (also known as The Bad News Bears 3) is a sport comedy film 1978 film release by Paramount Pictures and was the third and last of a series, following The Bad News Bears and The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. It stars Tony Curtis and Jackie Earle Haley, also featuring Regis Philbin in a small role and Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in a role.

The Bad News Bears
Go to Japan
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Berry
Produced byMichael Ritchie
Fred T. Gallo (associate producer)
Written byBill Lancaster
StarringTony Curtis
Jackie Earle Haley
Regis Philbin
Music byPaul Chihara
CinematographyGene Polito
Edited byRichard A. Harris
Dennis Virkler
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 23, 1978 (1978-06-23) (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

This film was followed by a 1979 CBS-TV series, and by a 2005 remake of the 1976 film.


Small-time promoter/hustler Marvin Lazar (Curtis) sees a potential money-making venture in the Bears that will help him to pay off his debts. After seeing a TV spot about the Bears, he decides to chaperone the baseball team for a trip to Japan in their game against the country's best little league baseball team.

As implied in Breaking Training, the Bears had to defeat the Houston Toros for a shot at the Japanese champs. In the process, the trip sparks off a series of adventures and mishaps for the boys. A subplot involves the interest of Kelly Leak (Haley) in a local Japanese girl, and the cultural divide that comes to bear in that relationship.

About half of the original or "classic" lineup of Bears players return (many like Jose Agilar, Alfred Ogilvie, Timmy Lupus and Tanner Boyle are not featured). Three new players are featured: E.R.W. Tillyard III, Abe Bernstein and Ahmad's younger brother, Mustapha Rahim.


* Recurring character from previous Bad News Bears films
** Recurring actor from previous Bad News Bears films
*** Recurring actor from second Bad News Bears film only


The film has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews.[2] Jackie Earle Haley considered it the worst movie ever made.[3]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "The film is a demonstration of the kind of desperation experienced by people trying to make something out of a voyage to nowhere."[4] Variety noted, "Latest version is more successful than the middle outing, but the situation and characters are getting tired."[5] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four and wrote, "The story this time is much more confused, with plenty of subplots ... what we should be seeing is play-by-play with the kids and some baseball. There is very little of either."[6] Linda Gross of the Los Angeles Times called it "a very good second sequel" and "a wry and entertaining movie."[7] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote, "Every aspect of the premise that might supply a source of comic and melodramatic renewal—the conflicts that arise between kids and parents, the conflicts between kids and other kids, the culture shock of American Little League Baseball confronting its Japanese counterpart—is neglected or shortchanged in favor of lazy self-imitation."[8]

Home media

The Bad News Bears Go to Japan was released on DVD February 12, 2002 by Paramount, in widescreen only.

See also


  1. "The Bad News Bears Go To Japan - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  2. "The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (1978)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  3. "The Worst Movie Ever Made, According To Jackie Earle Haley". cinemablend. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  4. Canby, Vincent (July 14, 1978). "Film: More 'Bad News Bears'". The New York Times. C15.
  5. "Film Reviews: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan". Variety. June 14, 1978. 21.
  6. Siskel, Gene (July 12, 1978). "Little pitchers have big mouths in 'Bears' No. 3". Chicago Tribune. Section 3, p. 6.
  7. Gross, Linda (June 23, 1978). "Bad News Bears Go to Bat in Japan". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 20.
  8. Arnold, Gary (June 21, 1978). "Unbearable 'Bears'". The Washington Post. B13.
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