Raw and somewhat controversial in terms of its language and violence, the hockey comedy-drama Slap Shot was a departure for director George Roy Hill, whose previous 1970s output included the period adventures The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) and The Sting (1973). Writer Nancy Dowd carefully balances hilarious rowdiness -- both on and off the ice -- with surprisingly effective emotional tension. Despite the change of pace, Hill revisits some of his favorite pet themes, most notably that of a man becoming painfully aware of the end of an era. To this end, the director re-teams with Paul Newman, who perfectly captures the grizzled, nothing-to-lose attitude of Slap Shot's aging hockey-coach hero. Newman would continue to explore this type of character shading in films such as 1986's The Color of Money.