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North Dallas Forty

A movie directed by Ted Kotcheff

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Sex rules the NFL...along with drugs and stupidity

  • May 27, 2000
Pros: Grudgingly a good performance by Nolte

Cons: ........

Some mornings when I get out of bed, after a particularly tough day the day before, I feel just like Nolte did in North Dallas Forty.

Based on a football team, North Dallas Bulls, you get a look into the locker room of professional football. Nolte plays the pass catcher (isn't that called a receiver?) to quarterback Mac Davis. Just a little too independent for the team owners, Nolte is always on the edge of getting kicked off the team for something. Davis plays the good guy on the team who is actually one of the baddest but since he is the golden child quarterback, these indiscretions are overlooked.

Always pushing the team owners and managers to the limit, Nolte is placed on suspension. Expecting Davis, supposedly his best friend, to stand up for him, he is surprised (?) when Davis elects instead to protect his cushy job and fat paycheck by tossing Nolte to the dogs.

Some incredibly brutal scenes on the field, although the NFL refused to honor this film or partake in its' production in any way - which after seeing it I can understand. Doubt if they wanted the information about the players getting shot up with drugs, so their injuries were numb and they could continue to play, released to the general public. Watching Nolte get out of bed in the morning, body twisted and joints stiffened, having to prop himself up against the wall to just get dressed, those creaks and groans - honey, I've been there and it ain't pretty!

Of course there is the gratuitous overt sex, heavy drug usage, drinking, fighting and general out of control boys will be boys. Ranking up there with The Longest Yard in my book, I actually found it both informative and entertaining and for once Nolte didn't tick me off so much I couldn't continue to watch the movie.

Davis, in his first role, is a great quarterback, a lousy friend and ornery as they come, and surprisingly, a good actor! Also starring Charles Durning as the coach that has a definite hard spot for Nolte, and Dabney Coleman.


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


NORTH DALLAS FORTY is a funny and insightful peek into the world of professional football, adapted from Peter Gent's novel. Phillip Elliott is an aging wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls who still delivers on the field--despite the many past injuries that keep him in almost constant pain. Almost as painful for him is the constant abuse heaped on the players by management. Now Phillip's determined to do something about it. The corporate bigwigs, however, are growing increasingly annoyed by Elliott's complaining. Will the athlete cave in to the pressure and keep his mouth shut or fight the executives at the risk of ending his career? Featuring a stellar cast that includes Charles Durning, Mac Davis, and Nick Notle, this film ranks with HORSE FEATHERS, SEMI-TOUGH, and THE LONGEST YARD as one of the greatest football films of all time.
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Cast: Mac Davis
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Release Date: 1979
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: Paramount Home Entertainment (January 31, 2001)
Runtime: 1hr 57min
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