Bull Durham

1988 film directed by Ron Shelton

Bull Durham is a 1988 comedy about a fan (who has an affair with one minor-league baseball player each season) that meets an up-and-coming pitcher and the experienced catcher assigned to him.

Directed and written by Ron Shelton.
It's all about sex and sport. What else is there? Taglines

Annie Savoy

  • [Opening narration] I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. [sigh] But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology.
You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never borin' [giggle] - which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Makin' love is like hitting a baseball, you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250, unless he had a lot of RBIs or was a great glove man up the middle.
You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him. And the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. Of course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe - and pretty. Of course, what I give them lasts a lifetime. What they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade, but bad trades are part of baseball. Now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake! It's a long season, and you gotta trust it. I've tried them all, I really have. And the only church that truly feeds the soul day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball.
  • This is the damndest season I've ever had; the Durham Bulls can't lose and I can't get laid!
  • [narrating] Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth, and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it's also a job.
  • [narrating] The world's made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness.
  • [narrating] "Full many a flower's born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air." - Thomas Gray...or William Cullen Bryant, I don't know. I get them mixed up.
  • [Closing narration] Walt Whitman once said, "I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us." You could look it up.

Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh

  • [Describing his first night with Annie] We didn't fuck. She just read poetry to me all night. It was more tiring than fucking.
  • "Limping jets of love"...Hey, Crash. Does that mean what I think it means, "limping jets of love"?
  • [Wearing Annie's garter belt under his uniform for the first time] This underwear feels kinda sexy...that don't make me queer, right? Right.
  • Why does he want me to throw the heat again, I just threw it. No, don't think, Meat, just give him the gas.
  • [Gives up a hit in a close game] Shit, piss, fuck!
  • A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.

Crash Davis

  • [To LaLoosh] Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the Show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the Show, however, it means you're a slob.
  • [Turns on the sprinklers on a ball field] Oh my goodness, we've got ourselves a natural disaster!
  • [Adjusts Nuke's garter belt] The rose goes on the front, big guy.
  • [To the batter after Nuke ignores his signs] This sonofabitch's pitching a 2-hit shutout and he's shaking me off, you believe that shit? Charlie, here comes the deuce, and when you speak of me, speak well.
  • Never fuck with a winning streak.
  • [Complaining to an umpire] That was a cocksucking call!
  • You know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at-bats is fifty points, okay? There's six months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week, just one; A gork, a groundball—you get a groundball with eyes—you get a dying quail...just one more dying quail a week, and you're in Yankee Stadium.
  • I've been known on occasion to howl at the moon.
  • [Repeated line] C'mon, Meat. Bring me that weak-ass shit.


[Skip catches LaLoosh and Millie together in the clubhouse]
Skip: Jesus, Ebby, this is your professional debut, tonight! A million guys would give their left nut to be in your shoes, and you're leaving your fastball in the locker room in some piece of ass!
Millie: Skip, it's me! I'm not some quote, "piece of ass", unquote.
Skip: Ah, Millie, sorry, didn't recognize you. And, don't take this personally, Millie, but if I catch you in here again, I'm banning you from the ballpark.
Millie: You can't ban me from the ballpark, 'cause my daddy donated that scoreboard, and if you ban me, he just might take that scoreboard away.
Skip: Well, what do we need a scoreboard for? We haven't scored any runs all year.

Annie: Millie, you've got to stay out of the clubhouse. It'll just get everybody in trouble.
Millie: I got lured.
Annie: You did not get "lured". Women never get lured. They're too strong and powerful for that. Now say it - "I didn't get lured and I will take responsibility for my actions".
Millie: I didn't get lured and I will take responsibility for my actions.
Annie: That's better.

[After LaLoosh throws a couple of wild pitches to start the game, Annie writes a note]
Millie: What's it say?
Annie: It says he's not bending his back enough on his follow-through. Donny? Baby, take this to Ebby Calvin. [Donny takes the note] Right, honey, let's get down to it. How was Ebby Calvin LaLoosh?
Millie: Well, he fucks like he pitches: Sorta all over the place.

[Crash walks into Skip's office]
Larry: Who are you? [To Skip] Who's he?
Crash: I'm the player to be named later.
Skip: Crash Davis? I'm Joe Riggins. [Shakes Crash's hand]
Crash: And you, Larry Hockett, should recognize me, cause five years ago in the Texas League, you were pitching for El Paso, I was batting clean-up for Shreveport. You hung a curveball on a 0-2 pitch in a 3-2 game in the bottom of the 8th, and I tattooed it over the Michelin Tire sign and beat you 4-3.
Larry: [grins] Yeah, I remember, I should've thrown a slider. Damn, Crash, how you doing?
Crash: I'm too old for this shit. Why the hell am I back in A–Ball?
Skip: 'Cause of Ebby Calvin LaLoosh. Big club's got a hundred grand in him.
Larry: He's got a million dollar arm, and a five cent head.
Skip: Had a gun on him tonight. The last five pitches he threw were faster that the first five, He has the best young arm I've seen in 30 years. You've been around. You're smart, professional. We want you to mature the kid. We want you to room with him on the road, stay on his case all year. He could go all the way.
Crash: Where can I go?
Skip: You can keep going to the ballpark, and keep getting paid to do it. Beats the hell out of working at Sears.
Larry: Sears sucks, Crash. I worked there once, sold an old lady Kenmores. Nasty. Nasty business.
Skip: And even if it is the Carolina League, it's a chance to play every day.
Crash: You don't want a ballplayer; you want a stable pony.
Skip: Nah.
Crash: Well, my Triple-A contract gets bought out so I can hold some flavor-of-the-month's dick in the bus leagues, is that it? Well, fuck this fucking game! [pause] I quit, all right? I fucking quit.
[Crash exits the office and stands in the clubhouse for a minute before sticking his head back through the door]
Crash: Who we play tomorrow?
Skip: Winston-Salem. Batting practice at 11:30.

Nuke: [After he has challenged Crash to a fight] I don't hit no man first.
Crash: All right, then, [throws him a baseball] hit me in the chest with that.
Nuke: I'd kill you!
Crash: Yeah?! From what I hear, you couldn't hit water if you fell out of a fucking boat! [the crowd that has gathered laughs] Come on; right here, right in the chest!
Nuke: No way!
Crash: C'mon, Meat! Throw it! You know you're not gonna hit me, cause you've already started to think about it, eh?! Thinkin' about how embarrassing it would be to miss in front of all these people, how somebody might laugh?! Come on, Meat, show us that million-dollar arm, 'Cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours!
[Nuke throws the ball and misses Crash by several feet, breaking a window]
Crash: Ball four.
Nuke: Who the fuck are you, man?!
[Nuke charges at Crash, who drops him with one punch to the face]
Nuke: Good punch...
Crash: I'm Crash Davis; I'm your new catcher, and you just got lesson number one: Don't think. You can only hurt the ball club.

Annie: These are the ground rules. I hook up with one guy a season. Usually takes me a couple weeks to pick the guy - kinda my own spring training. And, well, you two are the most promising prospects of the season so far, so I just thought we should kinda get to know each other.
Crash: Time out. Why do you get to choose?
Annie: What?
Crash: Why do you get to choose? I mean, why don't I get to choose, why doesn't he get to choose?
Annie: Well, actually, nobody on this planet ever really chooses each other. I mean, it's all a question of quantum physics, molecular attraction, and timing. Why, there are laws we don't understand that bring us together and tear us apart. Uh, it's like pheromones. You get three ants together, they can't do dick. You get 300 million of them, they can build a cathedral.
[Crash laughs]
Nuke: So is somebody going to go to bed with somebody or what?
Annie: Honey, you are a regular nuclear meltdown. You better cool off. Ha ha, ha ha!
[Crash gets up to leave]
Annie: Oh, where are you going?
Crash: After 12 years in the minor leagues, I don't try out. Besides, uh, I don't believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart.
Annie: What do you believe in, then?
Crash: Well, I believe in the soul. The cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing AstroTurf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. [pause] Goodnight.
Annie: Oh my. Crash...
Nuke: Hey, Annie, what's all this molecule stuff?

Crash: Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.
Nuke: [to himself] What's this guy know about pitching? If he's so good how come he's been in the minors for the last ten years? If he's so good how come Annie wants me instead of him?
Crash: [turns back] Oh, hey, and another thing, Meat. You don't know shit, all right? If you wanna make it to the bigs, you'll listen to me. Annie only wants you so she can boss you around, got it? So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit. And don't hold the ball so hard, OK? It's an egg. Hold it like an egg.
Nuke: [to himself again] What's he know about fun? I'm young. I know about fun. An old man. He don't know nothin' about fun.
Crash: [behind the plate again] All right. Nobody's goin' out there. [Crash calls for a curve ball]
Nuke: [to himself] Why's he calling for a curve ball? I want to bring heat. Shake him off. Throw what you want.
[Crash gives Nuke the sign for the pitch, Nuke shakes his head again.]
Crash: Timeout. [Walks to the mound] Hey! Why are you shaking me off? Huh?
Nuke: I want to bring the heater. Announce my presence with authority.
Crash: To announce your what!?
Nuke: Announce my presence with authority!
Crash: To announce your fucking presence with authority?! This guy's a first-ball, fastball hitter, he's looking for the heat.
Nuke: So what? He ain't seen my heat.
Crash: All right, Meat. Give him your heat. [He walks back to his place behind the plate.]
Nuke: Why's he always calling me Meat? I'm the guy driving a Porsche.
Crash: [to the batter at the plate] Fastball.
[Nuke throws it and the batter hits a home run. The batter stands there, watching.]
Crash: What are you doin'? Huh? What are you doing standing here? I gave you a gift. You stand here showing up my pitcher? Run, dummy! [to the umpire] Gimme a ball. [the umpire tosses a new baseball to Crash and he walks over to Nuke with it on the pitching mound] Well, he really hit the shit outta that one, didn't he? [laughs]
Nuke: [softly, infuriated] I held it like an egg.
Crash: Yeah, and he scrambled the son of a bitch. Look at that, he hit the fucking bull! Guy gets a free steak! [laughs] You having fun yet?
Nuke: Oh, yeah. Havin' a blast.
Crash: Good.
Nuke: God, that sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball!
Crash: He did know.
Nuke: How?
Crash: I told him.

Reporter: So, how does it feel to get your first professional win?
Nuke: It feels "out there", I mean it's a major rush. [Grabs the reporter's recorder and continues talking into it] I mean, it doesn't just feel "out there", I mean it feels out there, you know? Um, kind of radical in a kind of tubular way, you know? But, most of all, it's out there...
Crash: [Watching nearby] This is hopeless. This is utterly fucking hopeless.

Skip: You guys...you lollygag the ball around the infield! You lollygag your way down to first! You lollygag in and out of the dugout! Do you know what that makes you? Larry?!
Larry: Lollygaggers!
Skip: Lollygaggers! What's our record, Larry?
Larry: 8-16.
Skip: 8-16...How did we ever win eight?
Larry: It's a miracle.
Skip: It's a miracle. This is a simple game: You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You got it?!

Nuke: How come you don't like me?
Crash: Because you don't respect yourself, which is your problem. But you don't respect the game, and that's my problem. You got a gift.
Nuke: I got a what?
Crash: You got a gift. When you were a baby, the Gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You got a Hall-of-Fame arm, but you're pissing it away.
Nuke: I ain't pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already; a 911 with a quadrophonic Blaupunkt.
Crash: Christ, you don't need a quadrophonic Blaupunkt, what you need is a curveball! In the Show, everyone can hit a fastball.
Nuke: Well, how would you know? YOU been in the majors? Pft!
Crash: ...Yeah, I've been in the majors. [Players mutter in surprise]
Player: You were in the Show, man?
Crash: Yeah, I was in the Show. I was in the Show for 21 days once. The twenty-one greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the Show? Somebody else carries your bags, it's great. You hit white balls for batting practice. Ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains.
Player: They're really hot, huh?
Crash: And so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the Show. Exploding sliders. [To LaLoosh] You could be one of those guys. Nuke could be one of those guys, but you don't give a fuck, Meat.
Nuke: Listen I am sick and fucking tired of you calling me "Meat". Do you wanna step outside?
Crash: Yeah, I'll step outside!
[Nuke and Crash start fighting, Larry runs to the back of the bus to break it up]
Larry: Hey, hey, hey, hey! Crash! What's up?
Nuke: I was- I was just gonna ask Crash to show me how to throw a breaking ball
Larry: Good idea. Good idea. Here, here, here, anybody got a ball? Who's got a ball?

[After Nuke finally pitches a scoreless inning, he and Crash sit next to each other in the dugout]
Nuke: That was great, huh?
Crash: Your fastball's up, your curveball's hanging; in the Show, they would've ripped you.
Nuke: Can't you even let me enjoy the moment?
Crash: The moment's over.

Nuke: I love winning, I fucking love winning! You know what I'm saying? It's, like, better than losing? Teach me something new, man, I need to learn. Teach me something.
Crash: Well, you got something to write with? Good, it's time to work on your interviews.
Nuke: My interviews? What do I gotta do?
Crash: You're gonna have to learn your cliches. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to learn them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play 'em one day at a time."
Nuke: [writing] "Got to play..." Pretty boring.
Crash: Of course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.
Nuke: "One...day...at a time."
Crash: Alright, "I'm just happy to be here, hope I can help the ball club." [Nuke looks at him] I know, WRITE IT DOWN. "I just want to give it my best shot and--the Good Lord willing--things will work out."
Nuke: [writing] “Good... Lord... willing...”
Nuke and Crash: “Things will work out”
Crash: How’s Annie?
Nuke: She’s getting pretty steamed, actually, because I’m still re-channeling my sexual energy. Think I’m just gonna cave-in and sleep with her, you know? Calm her down.
Crash: Are you out of your mind?
Nuke: What-
Crash: Are you out of your mind!?
Nuke: I’m not gonna-
Crash: You give in now you might start losing. Huh? Never fuck with a winning streak.

Nuke: You're playing with my mind.
Annie: I'm trying to play with your body.
Nuke: I knew it, you're trying to seduce me!
Annie: Well of course I'm trying to seduce you, for God's sake, and I'm doing a damn poor job of it... Aren't I pretty?
Nuke: God, I think you're real cute.
Annie: Cute? Baby ducks are cute, I HATE cute! I want to be exotic, and mysterious!
Nuke: You are, you're exotic, and mysterious, and... cute... and... That's why I'd better leave.

Crash: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
Annie: You most certainly did.
Crash: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
Annie: Yes you did.
Crash: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
Annie: Oh fine.
Crash: You know why? Because they don't–they don't happen very often.
Annie: Right.
Crash: If you believe you're playing well because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you wear women's underwear, then you are! And you should know that!
[long pause]
Crash: Come on, Annie, think of something clever to say, huh? Something full of magic, religion, bullshit. Come on, dazzle me.
Annie: I want you.

[Larry jogs out to the mound to break up a players' conference]
Larry: Excuse me, but what the hell's going on out here?
Crash: Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster?
[Jose nods]
Crash: We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present. [to the players] Is that about right?
[the players nod]
Crash: We're dealing with a lot of shit.
Larry: Okay, well, uh... candlesticks always make a nice gift, and uh, maybe you could find out where she's registered and maybe a place-setting or maybe a silverware pattern. Okay, let's get two! Go get 'em.

Radio announcer: I've never seen Crash so angry, and frankly, sports fans, he used a certain word that's a no-no with umpires.
[Annie turns off the radio]
Millie: Crash must've called the guy a "cocksucker".
Annie: God, he's so romantic.

Annie: I think probably with my love of four-legged creatures and hooves and everything, that in another lifetime I was probably Catherine the Great, or Francis of Assisi. I'm not sure which one. What do you think?
Crash: How come in former lifetimes, everybody is someone famous?
[Annie and Crash pause, then both laugh]
Crash: [still laughing] I mean, how come nobody ever says they were Joe Schmo?
Annie: Because it doesn't work that way, you fool!


  • A Major League love story in a Minor League town.
  • It's all about sex and sport. What else is there?
  • Romance is a lot like baseball. It's not whether you win or lose. It's how you play the game.
  • A movie about America's other favorite pastime.


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