Eight Men Out Movie Poster Image

Eight Men Out

A treat for baseball fans but might bore others.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1988
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Nearly everyone gambles and the players throw the Series for a payoff. The movie reflects the racial segregation of its day.

Not applicable
Not applicable

The f-word and other milder curses are used. One player uses a rude hand gesture.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Players idolized by the kids smoke.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will see some idolized baseball players smoke, gamble, and ultimately purposefully lose a game to line their own pockets. This historical piece is a treat for baseball aficionados, but others may lack the stamina for the plodding examination of responsibility and betrayal.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Set in 1919, EIGHT MEN OUT follows the scandal surrounding the heavily-favored Chicago White Sox. Despite the team's talent, Sox-owner Charles Commisky abuses and underpays his players. Frustrated, a number of Sox players agree to throw the World Series for $10,000 each. Even the team's star, Shoeless Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeny), seems party to the deal. Actually, the team is split, and as the losses mount, the players feud openly. Rumors of the rigging spread, and the sports writers try to figure out who is involved. Some players have second thoughts, but the gamblers get nasty and the Sox tank the series. The trial is a whitewash and the players are found innocent, but the judge is appointed baseball commissioner and expels them all from the game.

Is it any good?


Baseball fans may not mind this slow-paced period-piece, which takes an unexpected stance on the "Black Sox" scandal, one of the darkest moments in baseball history. Instead of blaming the players who took the payoff, writer/director John Sayles suggests that the owner's greed was ultimately responsible for the incident and that profiteering employers have too much power and tend to abuse their workers. This agenda places Eight Men Out in the cinematic tradition of baseball movies as social commentary. An emblem of the nation, baseball movies depict both America's faults and virtues.

Sayles's film, however, is not merely political. He recognizes that at least a few of the White Sox players are motivated by greed, and he showcases the public pain that their betrayal causes. "Say it ain't so, Joe" is the famous refrain of one disbelieving youngster. Buck Weaver (John Cusack) is the movie's most sympathetic character not only because he shuns the gamblers, but because he understands how the scandal affects the kids on the street. Eight Men Out is provocative if overly focused on details.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the limitations of historical dramas. Do the characters act like and say the exact words that the real people they portray did? How can films slant a story? Were the players who threw the game portrayed sympathetically? What about the owner?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 2, 1988
DVD/Streaming release date:February 22, 1990
Cast:Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, John Cusack
Director:John Sayles
Topics:Sports and martial arts, History
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Parental Guidance Suggested

This review of Eight Men Out was written by

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Kid, 10 years old November 24, 2012


Review by rsm2. I attempted and failed in trying to watch the whole movie. I am a big baseball fan, but in this movie there is hardly any baseball actually being played. It's just a bunch of guys talking and smoking cigars.Even if you are a baseball fan like me and a kid, there is nothing in this movie for you though grownups might appreciate this movie a bit more than I did. So overall, bad for kids and okay for grownups.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old January 19, 2014

8 men out

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old August 17, 2015

Great Depiction of The Black Sox Scandal

There are a couple other notable baseball flicks, but this one is one of the best. The acting is completely solid, reaching above expectations. I am a baseball fan but this movie was able to capture my attention, and it really should do so with the other baseball audiences. See this movie.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking