Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Hardball Movie Poster Image
This umpire calls Hardball out at first base.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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


Child shot and killed, another child badly beaten, gang violence.


Very strong language, most of it used by children.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug use, scenes in bar, drinking, smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie includes very strong language, including many four-letter words used by children. The boys are surrounded by drug use and gang violence. They can identify the weapon by the sound of the shooting and take it for granted that they must sit on the floor to be out of the way of gunfire that might come in the window. One child is badly beaten and another is killed. Also, this film was originally intended to be released as an R, due to the language used by the children. The producers argued that it was an authentic portrayal of the urban setting. Protests during the filming, and, more significantly, marketing concerns about whether the audience really wanted an R-rated movie about a little league team, led them to cut some of the worst language to obtain a PG-13 rating. Yet the movie still has some material, including the gang shooting of a child, that is far more likely to be upsetting to younger audiences than a few four-letter words.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAngelina Torres Azar January 27, 2020


Considero que las generaciones actuales viven en una burbuja y muy aislados de lo que es la realidad, me gustó lo que un niño que a pesar de su entorno tiene il... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written by22benjacobp7 December 15, 2018


Just beacuse the kids do bad things that dosent mean there bad pepole
Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2020

Good Movie

The movie was very enjoyable and emotional at some points. I believe it had a great life lesson. There is drinking, drugs, gang activity and swearing but they a... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTheresaL July 4, 2009

Heartfelt, if cliche

I actually really enjoyed this movie. The entire concept (a reluctant, down on his luck man coaches inner-city kids and makes a profound impact on their lives)... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HARDBALL, compulsive gambler Conor O'Neill (Keanu Reeves) owes a lot of money to various thugs. A childhood friend offers to pay him $500 a week if he will take over the friend's responsibility to coach a baseball team in Chicago's Cabrini Green, one of the nation's most dangerous housing projects. You know where it goes from there because you've seen it in The Bad News Bears, The Mighty Ducks and dozens of clones.

Is it any good?

There's always room for another story of underdogs and redemption, but Hardball never delivers on any of the opportunities that formula creates. We barely get to know any of the kids on the team except for two inevitable cliches -- the fat kid and the cute little kid who talks a lot. Reeves can be terrific in a part that suits his range, but he can't pull off the character's struggle with his gambling compulsion or anger at himself. And he gets no help from the script, which makes him behave in an arbitrary and inconsistent manner and does not have a single memorable line of dialogue. We don't want to be told that he and the kids come to care for each other in a movie like this – we want to be shown. And there is not one moment of practice, teaching skills, or conversation to make us believe it.

The movie makes the most of the audience's inherent commitment to the storyline. We want those kids to make it, and we want Conor to make it, too. The other reason to watch is yet another quietly arresting performance by Diane Lane, and there is a timely plot twist concerning a player with a forged birth certificate. One of the movie's most wrenching scenes shows him after he is kicked off the team, wearing gang colors and warning his former teammates with a meaningful glance to get away quickly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the children helped Conor realize that he needed to make some changes. Why was it important that Conor made a rule that the players could not insult each other? What did Conor learn from G-Baby? What do you think will happen to the members of the team when they get too old to play in the league?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love baseball

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