Rudy: A Gridiron Great

RudyheaderAs the new NFL season gets under way, thoughts of touchbacks and touchdowns begin to dominate the minds of sports fans everywhere. So in honor of last night’s Kickoff 2013 in Denver, I’ve decided to write this article about an inspirational football film. And in honor of its upcoming 20th anniversary this November, I chose the 1993 heart-warmer―Rudy.

Although I’d be quicker to recommend films such as the original Brian’s Song, The Blind Side, and Remember the Titans, Rudy possesses the most realistic “dream come true” scenario for the average person; regardless of the fact that all of the previously mentioned are based on actual events.

Director David Anspaugh, of Hoosiers fame, tells the tale of an undersized linebacker named Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. All his life Rudy dreamt of running out of the tunnel on game day for his favorite college football team, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The obstacles that prevent him from doing so are clearly represented throughout the film. Physical attributes aside, he also lacked talent, academics, and the funding to attend the university. But throughout the journey we learn the power of perseverance, to never quit, that hard work pays off, and that anything is possible if you want it bad enough.

If you’re not a football fan, the film will be considered mediocre at best. It didn’t receive any Academy Award nominations and you won’t find it shown on television all that often. At times the Rudy character, played by Sean Astin, seems stalker-ish and madly obsessive but we like him because he represents everyone who ever played a sport and wanted to become something more than they should. The emotional ending more than makes up for any flaws the film possesses making it a favorite amongst sports fans.

An aspect of the film that greatly enhances the mood would be the excellent score composed by Jerry Goldsmith (also of Hoosiers fame). I love the way the music coincides with the shot selection and the actions taking place. An anonymous author from the website, which reviews all film scores, said “Goldsmith’s ability to merge the heart of a personal journey with the adversity of a sports environment is masterful, resulting in music that has been used for everything from the Academy Awards and John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign to the National Football League itself.”

Although it’s become somewhat iconic, this score was surprisingly not nominated for an Academy Award (The only aspect of the film that would have been deserving). That year’s nominees were Thomas Newman for Little Women AND The Shawshank Redemption, Alan Silvestri for Forrest Gump, Elliot Goldenthal for Interview with the Vampire, and winner Hans Zimmer for The Lion King. If you haven’t heard it, take a listen and then leave a comment debating whether it belonged in the category or not.

Craig Pisani is an avid moviegoer and aspiring screenwriter with Bachelor’s degrees in both Cinema and English.