Directed by David Anspaugh
Written by Angelo Pizzo
Starring: Sean Astin, Ned Beatty, Jon Favreau, Charles S. Dutton, Robert Prosky
Rudy (Astin) doesn’t have the size or the skill to play college football. Luckily he has the heart to try to make it onto Notre Dame’s team to fulfill his biggest dream.
Every once in a while a sports film comes along that reaches deep into the emotions of a story. This is one of those movies. The film is based on the life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. The story was written for the film by Angelo Pizzo (Hoosiers). David Anspaugh (Little Red Wagon) directed the movie. The cast features Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), Jon Favreau (The Wolf of Wall Street), Charles S. Dutton (Gothika), and Robert Prosky (Mrs. Doubtfire).
This story is a mix of fact and fiction, taking its premise from the life of Daniel Ruettiger. Despite the departures from the true events, it works nicely from the very beginning. The characters are written with a depth that helps to get the audience involved right away. Rudy is especially well-written, built with enough flaws to keep the movie believable. The story really pays off with everything coming together without being overly predictable. The secondary story lines all come together and pay off as well. There is a bit of sentimentality that borders on cheesy, but nothing that takes much away from the success of this one. Overall, this is a pretty great story.
The acting in this movie features a number of really nice performances. Sean Astin does a great job adjusting his role to fit the growth of his character. His performance also helps to keep the film from being sappy since he doesn’t overplay the emotional aspects of the role. Ned Beatty also does a good job in this one. The small town mentality of his character comes out nicely throughout the movie. Jon Favreau, Charles S. Dutton, and Robert Prosky all do nice work with smaller parts in this one. (If you get a chance to see this one there’s even a Vince Vaughn sighting in there.) The acting handles the emotional aspects of this movie wonderfully, and it helps to make this movie great.
This movie was the first to be filmed on location at Notre Dame since Knute Rockne, All American in 1940. The movie helps to give an almost spiritual quality to the locations on campus, and especially the football stadium. Currently this film resides in the top 25 of ESPN’s Best Sports Movies, as well as 54th on the AFI list of most inspiring films. Both honors are well-deserved for this film. The critics have been generous in their praise of this one as well. Also, check out the score in this movie. It’s easily on of my favorite scores of all-time. Jerry Goldsmith (The Boys from Brazil) really composed something special for this movie.
If you’re a fan of sports films, this is one to see. I would also suggest this to anyone looking for great drama with a nice payoff. Fans of the stars should also take the time to see this one. It has excellent repeat value as well. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.