Eight Men Out

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Eight Men Out Movie Poster Image
A treat for baseball fans but might bore others.
  • PG
  • 1988
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players idolized by the kids smoke.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybigmoviefan2020 November 26, 2020

Boring film

PG-13: some language/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byLukeCon June 22, 2020

Disappointing baseball drama will only appeal to fans

This film could have chosen to appeal to a wider audience, but instead, it chose to target baseball fans. I, personally, am not a big fan of baseball, and I was... Continue reading
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 basebal... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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