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The Best of Times

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Produced by Gordon Carroll
Written by Ron Shelton
Starring Robin Williams
Kurt Russell
Pamela Reed
Holly Palance
Donald Moffat
M. Emmet Walsh
R.G. Armstrong
Music by Arthur B. Rubinstein
Cinematography Charles F. Wheeler
Editing by Garth Craven
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) January 31, 1986 (USA)
Running time 104 min.
Country  United States
Language English
Budget Unknown
Gross revenue $7,790,931 (USA)

The Best of Times is a 1986 American film. It starred Robin Williams and Kurt Russell.



Robin Williams plays Jack Dundee, a banker obsessed with what he considers the most shameful moment in his life: The moment that he dropped a perfectly thrown pass in the final seconds of the 1972 high school football game between Taft and their arch-nemesis, Bakersfield.

Since that game, Jack has found it impossible to forget his drop. He works in a bank for his father-in-law, a.k.a. The Colonel, Bakersfield's biggest supporter, and is reminded by him almost daily, that it was his clumsiness and inability to catch a football that lost Taft its one chance for glory by finally beating Bakersfield, and how Taft would never do it again.

Thirteen years later, Jack coerces Reno (Kurt Russell), star quarterback of the fateful game and now a financially struggling garage owner in debt to Jack's bank, into helping him replay the game. He convinces supporters in both towns to re-stage the game and in the process revitalizes Taft, as well as his and Reno's marriages. The game is replayed and at the critical moment Reno throws another perfect pass to Jack. He catches it, and Taft defeats Bakersfield.

Much of the film was shot in and around Taft. The football scenes took place at Pierce Junior College in the San Fernando Valley. The night game was filmed at Moorpark Memorial High School, in Moorpark, CA.

Music in the film - "Pomp and Circumstance Marches", by Edward Elgar; and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"' by Roberta Flack.

A silent character who watches the game (and who seems to appreciate the rain strategically) reveals his name in the closing scene.

In so far as the film is 'a small town comedy where the whole population is caught up in some glorious foolishness'[1] it can trace its lineage to such films as Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, both Preston Sturges, and Jonathan Demme's Handle with Care.



  1. ^ Pauline Kael 'Hooked' p.110 ISBN0-7145-2903-6

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