Best Of Times

 (400)6.01 h 44 min1986PG-13
Small-town banker Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) has never been able to live down the fact that he dropped an important pass during a crucial high-school football game. Likewise tainted for life is the team's star quarterback Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell), now a garage owner. Fed up with living his life under a cloud, Jack hits upon a brilliant idea: he will stage a rematch-13 years after the fact--with the members of the rival team.
Roger Spottiswoode
Robin WilliamsKurt RussellPamela Reed
English [CC]
Audio languages
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4.6 out of 5 stars

400 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

TonyReviewed in the United States on September 6, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Just a couple of hours of fun
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Great plot, excellent comedic acting!

Kurt Russell just nails the part of Reno Hightower, "I was never great, I was pretty good...I was great for here".

Robin Williams is brilliant, as he was with anything he did.

Not an academy award winner, but a good way to spend a couple of hours watching a feel good movie.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good acting, slow plot, gratuitous language
Verified purchase
Being a fan of Kurt Russell and Robin Williams, I was excited to see this. The premise sounded like a lot of fun, and it is generally well reviewed. But when I watched it with a group of people, all of us were extremely disappointed. It's an example of a good idea and fantastic acting that lacks solid writing to turn it into a good movie. The plot moved slowly and several scenes dragged or were unnecessary. The set-up took 1/2-3/4 of the movie and could easily have been squeezed into the first 20 minutes. And while the comedic acting was (of course) good, it was hampered down by a gratuitous amount of language. It seemed like every third or fourth sentence had some level of swearing or sexual reference in it. It's not a terrible movie by any means, and there are certainly entertaining aspects to it, but I didn't find it to be something I would watch again or particularly recommend to anyone.
5 people found this helpful
CaptainCoolReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
small town feel good movie
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they don't make em like this anymore. for some reason i never considered Best of Times one of the best 80s/90s sports movies.....until now, decades later watching it on Prime.
Kurt Russell is the square-jawed leading man QB, and Robin Williams the nebbish down on his luck former loser seeking redemption during the Big Rematch between the big town well-funded boys from Bakersfield and the Williams/Russell hometown underdog Taft Rockets.
simple story well acted, directed, written and edited. the football game at the end is expertly choreographed. very underrated movie from the 80s that deserves...redemption.
HeliosReviewed in the United States on May 11, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie, but terrible dvd video quality
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Such a charming, forgotten little gem of the 80’s. It’s too bad the video transfer to dvd is so terribly poor. It’s a compressed image and literally a clearer picture watching it on regular cable television. It pains me giving it such a low rating but I have to for other potential buyers. What a shame.

Russel and Williams are great on screen together though.
“I can get open”
BeckyReviewed in the United States on September 16, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Dont waste your time.
Verified purchase
What a waste of time! Just a movie about people that can't move on from their high school lives. Pathetic. Watched because of good reviews and because we are from the Taft/Bakersfield area. I regret that I will never get those couple of hours of my life back.
One person found this helpful
Consumer KaizencraftReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
The first time ever I saw [Ambien's] face
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I love this movie too much. I moved to California and found out that the high school in the movie actually exists. One night I was experiencing some extreme insomnia so I took an Ambien. I'd never taken it because of its reputation but I ended up crashing the hell out. Unfortunately, though, I woke up in the actual town of Taft. I was surrounded by incredibly overweight and out of shape middle-aged men who were all chanting at me as I lay on a stage in a Tiger outfit. I ran off the stage and asked someone what the hell was going on and they explained I'd managed to gather the entire 1986 Taft HS football team together in a single night, but the guy couldn't explain how I'd done it. I look behind me and there's this Ambien mascot waving his hands down like "shhh, calm down". He kept doing it until I got sleepier and sleepier, and finally laid back down. I woke up in my room. I'm pretty sure none of it actually happened but even so, Ambien is AWESOME!
7 people found this helpful
WalterReviewed in the United States on January 14, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good football movie with lots of nostalgia
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It's not the greatest script and it's a bit slow at the beginning but I really like this movie. The casting and acting is great. I really like Williams and Russel's chemistry; I'm surprised they didn't do more films together. Great football movie with a terrific ending.
Tom BrodyReviewed in the United States on May 9, 2006
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent local color from Taft, California
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THE BEST OF TIMES is a typical football story, where the underdog wins the game. In THE BEST OF TIMES, the underdog is a collection of out-of-shape, out-of-practice middle-aged men who prepare for a re-match, a football game against their better-prepared counterparts from across the highway. In this film, the underdogs are from Taft, California, a real town that still has a functioning oil well industry. The better prepared team is from Bakersfield, a major city in California.

During the re-match of the football game, the underdogs begin by playing poorly. But the team's abilities improve after a sudden thunderstorm douses the field and changes it to mud. The change appears due to the fact that their star player, Reno Hightower, joins the team.

Most of the time spent in THE BEST OF TIMES is devoted to Robin Williams' efforts in convincing the people of Taft that a high school football game, from some 15 years back, should be re-played with the original players, most of them tubby in their middle age. In order to convince the townsfolk to agree for a re-match of the football game, Robin Williams secretly paints inflammatory graffiti in an effort to stir up the emotions of the townsfolk of Taft.

This film contains excellent images from Taft, California. The film begins with an excellent narrative of the early history of Taft. Recently (April 2006), I discovered Taft, and visited the Oil Museum, and generally enjoyed the intriguing aesthetics of the hundreds of bobbing oil wells found in the area. The Oil Museum has a tiny gift shop, with mugs, featuring a black drawing of a wooden oil well structure. The film lovingly features the bobbing oil wells as a backdrop for much of the acting.

LOCAL COLOR. THE BEST OF TIMES dwells lovingly on the local color of the town, for example, on employees in an auto repair shop, members of a men's club (Caribou Club) busy with one of their meetings, amateur female singers in a lounge, and a high school dance. All of these local color scenes are convincing and are a genuine representation of activities that occur occur thousands of times each day, in the United States of America.

COMEDY. A fair number of clever sight gags enliven the plot. For example, Robin Williams plays a bank worker. But the bank president teases him for making his high school team lose an important game, years earlier. The bank president teases him by taking off his cowboy hat, tossing it around and fumbling with it, as though it was the football that Robin Williams had dropped. Another sight gag consists of Robin Williams driving a broken-down loaner automobile. While coming to a halt, he crashes it into a low brick wall, making the bricks scatter about. (Nothing else is made of this accident. It is just a quick sight gag that comes and goes.) Another amusing part occurs during the football game, where a member of the opposing team is a former convict who calls himself, "DOCTOR DEATH."

CRITIQUE. The film suffers from its periodic bad language. Once might be enough. But the bad language in this film continues, again and again and again and again and again. Isn't there a bowdlerized version of this movie that can be shown to kids? Also, I really didn't like the bedroom scene with Robin Williams and his wife getting undressed together. These scenes make the movie inappropriate for kids. Also, Robin Williams is too hairy. The film did very poorly at the box office, despite having two of the highest profile A-list male actors in America, and despite being a sports movie. While I am not much of a movie-goer, here is my layperson's opinion. The dinner scene was not very good. The script for this particular part of the movie was terrible. The script for the dinner scene, where two couples are attempting to reconcile, should have been tossed out and re-written. The script was intended to show two married couples, who are not comfortable with each other. Woody Allen has done better writing for this type of situation. Another problem was the bedroom scene with Holly Palance. The bedroom scene was not convincing. One problem here was that Holly Palance is completely lacking in ta-tas. To repeat, if a movie is going to include a bedroom scene where the female love interest is wearing a thin negligee, the director should take care to avoid using an actress totally lacking in you-know-what. The fact that Holly Palance totally lacks any you-know-what caused this particular love scene to be a bit weird. A better tactic might have been to leave out this particular love scene. This scene did not click.

CONCLUSION. This film is a must for fans of California history. Taft played an important role in California's oil industry. The film is yet another great example of a sports movie where the underdogs prevail at the end. But for those interested in sports movies about underdogs, there are some better choices, for example, RUDY (football), MIRACLE (ice hockey also featuring Kurt Russell), THE ROOKIE (baseball), and HOOSIERS (basketball). If you find yourself traveling along the vast wasteland of a journey, along Route 5, from Los Angeles,CA to Sacramento, CA, I would emphatically recommend stopping to see the oil well museum in Taft, CA, and then picking up a copy of THE BEST OF TIMES, in order to view your vacation spot.
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