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Rudy (Special Edition) (1993)

1 rating: 4.0
Sports movie directed by David Anspaugh

This 1993 film by David Anspaugh (Hoosiers) is slowly building a reputation as a minor highlight of '90s movies. Based on a true story,Rudystars Sean Astin as Rudy Ruettiger, a blue-collar kid whose father (Ned Beatty) worships Notre Dame football but … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: David Anspaugh
Genre: Sport
1 review about Rudy (Special Edition) (1993)

Generally Irresistible But Occasionally Manipulative

  • Jun 23, 2004
My Four Star rating reflects both overall enjoyment while seeing the film (Five Stars) and occasional irritation with director Anspaugh's manipulative strategies insofar as emotions are concerned (Three Stars). The dramatic impact of Rudy Ruettiger's struggles to suit up for, if not play in a Notre Dame football game is diminished by such manipulation. That said, Sean Astin is wholly credible as Rudy. Other noteworthy performances are provided by Ned Beatty (Rudy's father, Daniel), Charles S. Dutton (Fortune), Robert Prosky (Father Cavenaugh), Jon Favreau (D-Bob), Lili Taylor (Sherry), and Scott Benjaminson (Frank). Both the "Real Rudy" and the "Reel Rudy" faced two significant barriers to being admitted to Notre Dame and then playing in a varsity football game: weak grades and diminutive size. Eventually, through tenacious study while enrolled at nearby Holy Cross College, both Rudys are finally admitted to Notre Dame; through rigorous training, both then became fit enough to be selected to play on the practice (i.e. fodder) squad. And finally, both play (the "Real Rudy" for 27 seconds) in the last home game against Georgia Tech in 1975.

Others have their own reasons for liking this film so much. Here are three of mine. First, the casting of Astin in the lead role. His performance is endearing, to be sure, but also convincing. Hence my discomfort with Anspaugh's use of gimmicks when none is necessary. Second, the exteriors shot on the Notre Dame campus which is especially lovely during each of the four seasons. I really did feel as if I were tagging along with Rudy as he attends classes, works for Fortune as a member of the stadium's groundskeeping crew, and then participates in especially brutal team practices. Third and finally, I enjoyed observing what seems to be a totally authentic respect for Rudy among the team's starters both on offense and defense. That respect was earned day in and day out, brutal practice after brutal practice, as Rudy and his battered companions helped to prepare the team for its next game. It is worth noting that Rudy Ruettiger was the only player ever to be carried off the field at Notre Dame stadium. The filmmakers recreated the scene with real fans during a break in the 1992 Boston College game. Some 60,000 fans stood and cheered as actor Sean Astin was carried off the field.

Those who enjoyed this film should also check out The Natural (1984), Hoosiers (1986), Babe (1995), Remember the Titans (2000), and Miracle (2004).

Those who are curious about the "real" and "reel" Rudy Ruettiger are encouraged to visit http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/rudy.php. Here are brief excerpts:

Q: Was the groundskeeper played by Charles S. Dutton a real character?

A: Rudy answered no to this question himself during an interview with the Pigskin Post by saying the following, "He was a composite, but that was reality. And that's what happened in my life...all through my life. I would encounter people like that and they would help me get through the tough times through their wisdom and their encouragement."

Q: Was there actually a priest who helped Rudy get into Holy Cross Junior College?

A: In the same Pigskin Post interview as above, Rudy replied to this question by saying, "There were several who played important roles, but, again, you can't develop them all in one two-hour movie."

Q: Did Rudy really sleep in the maintenance room of the football stadium?

A: Rudy actually slept in a room in the basketball arena. The school had the room there for someone to stay during off-hours for insurance reasons.

Q: Was coach Dan Devine really that cold-hearted against dressing Rudy for the last home game of Rudy's college career?

A: In Devine's autobiography, Simply Devine, he writes that it was his idea to dress Rudy for the final game of his college career and also to play him. Devine says that the screenwriter, Angelo Pizzo, told him that the plot would only work if Devine became the heavy. He agreed in order to help out Rudy, someone whom he calls a friend. "I didn't realize I would be such a heavy," he writes.

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