Angels in the Outfield (known simply as Angels in some countries) is a 1994 remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The film stars Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd (the two latter actors have previously worked together on Taxi), and features appearances from future stars, including Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Neal McDonough.

Unlike the original, which focused on the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team in heavenly need, the 1994 remake focuses on the California Angels (now known as the Los Angeles Angels), who started play ten years after the original film was released in 1951. The film does, however, make a connection to the Pittsburgh team by having its world premiere at the Pirates home at the time, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.[1] [1] The film spawned two direct-to-video sequels, Angels in the Endzone and Angels in the Infield, neither as successful as the original.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Young foster children Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his friend J.P. (Milton Davis, Jr.) love to sneak into baseball games of the hopelessly dreadful California Angels.

Still in limited contact with his widower father, Roger asks when they will be a family again. His father replies sarcastically, "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant." Taking his father's words literally, Roger prays for God to help the Angels win. After he prays, a star, unseen by Roger, twinkles in the sky.

Then, in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays which Roger and J.P. attend, he sees a group of angels led by Al (Christopher Lloyd) helping the team. Although Roger can see the angels quite clearly, everyone else can only explain the seemingly impossible acts as freak occurrences.

Roger's unique ability to see which players are receiving help from angels leads the Angel's skeptical manager, George Knox (Danny Glover) to keep Roger around as a good luck charm/consultant. Due to the much needed help, the Angels start to win games and make a surprising second-half surge to the top of their division. Unfortunately, Roger's father permanently gives up custody of his son instead.

As Roger laments his loss, J.P. accidentally reveals to antagonistic sports broadcaster Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders) that Roger has the ability to see angels, and that Knox has been winning through the advice Roger's given him. Ranch, hoping to destroy Knox informs the press of this and their manager Hank Murphy (Ben Johnson) threatens to terminate Knox for this seemingly absurd notion that angels are helping the team. Roger comes clean to his caretaker Maggie Nelson (Brenda Fricker) about his special ability and at a press conference they and the entire Angels team defend Knox in front of the press. Moved by their faith, Murphy allows Knox to remain as coach of the California Angels.

On the championship game none of the Angels show up to help the team. Later on Al explains that championships must be played without help from the Angels and that he was just checking pitcher Mel Clark (Tony Danza) who will be one of them soon (he has been a smoker for years and only has six months left to live). Throughout the game Clark has been in, but is getting tired after 159 pitches. When Coach Knox goes in, everyone thinks he is going in to take him out, but instead, Knox gives Clark some motivation, with help from Roger, the Angels team, and finally, the entire stadium audience as well as Murphy and the broadcasters (minus Ranch).

The Angels ultimately win the final game of the regular season without the help of the angels and clinch the division pennant over the rival Chicago White Sox. Murphy fires Wilder due to his snide remarks over the Angels. The movie ends with George adopting both Roger and J.P. J.P. sees Al at the window and knew it could happen. Al circles around the house and says "We're always watching" and flying off into the stars, which re-enact a baseball game.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Reception[edit | edit source]

The film earned mixed reviews from critics, maintaing a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Box office[edit | edit source]

The film opened at #4 at the North American box office making $8,916,463 USD in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $50.2 million at the box office domestically.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Vancheri, Barbara. "Multi Media: Adrien Brody going darker and deeper", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 24, 2003. Retrieved on August 21, 2009. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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