Variety - 09/27/1993
"...A film that hits all the right buttons, it's an intelligent, sentimental drama that lifts an audience to its feet cheering..."
One of the most heartwarming tales ever committed to film, the true story of Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettinger (Sean Astin, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) is an underdog drama that escapes--for the most part--the pitfalls of sentimentality. Set in 1960s Joliet, Illinois, Rudy lives in a staunchly blue-collar steelworkers' community. Despite his obsession with Notre Dame and college football, Rudy goes to work in the mill alongside his father and brothers directly after his high school graduation. It takes the accidental death of his best friend to inspire Rudy to pursue his dream of playing for Notre Dame. As everyone in his life is quick to point out, Rudy lacks the brains, brawn, and financial means to ever achieve his goal, but he sets out for South Bend just the same, enrolling in a junior college and trying out for the team as a walk-on. Eventually Rudy becomes a member of the practice team, where he displays such a strength of heart and fierceness of will that he touches and inspires all those around him, including the groundskeeper, Fortune (Charles Dutton), the tough-talking coach (Jason Miller), and even his nay saying father (Ned Beatty). Director David Anspaugh, who scored a previous hit with 1986's HOOSIERS, delivers an earnest sports film that concentrates on character and detail, with Sean Astin turning in a remarkably understated, subtle performance.
High School student Rudy Ruettinger dreamed of one day playing football for Notre Dame's Fighting Irish champions. But Rudy's got two obstacles to overcome: his runty build and mediocre academic record make him an unlikely candidate for a school with Notre Dame's athletic and scholastic reputation. When college chaplain Father Cavanaugh -- won over by Rudy's commitment and perseverance -- helps him get into an affiliated community college, the young man makes good on his promise to work hard. After pulling up his grades and transferring to Notre Dame, Rudy gets the chance of a lifetime, the golden opportunity to realize his life-long dream.
Campus Life |
Family (General) |
Football Players |
Personal Triumph |
Theatrical Release |
"Rudy," the true story of Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger, was written by the screenwriters of "Hoosiers" -- Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh.
The real Rudy Ruettiger attended Holy Cross before gaining acceptance to Notre Dame. He applied to Notre Dame three times before he was accepted. After being admitted to Notre Dame, Rudy promised football coach Ara Parseghian, he'd make the team. Rudy's tenacity eventually earned him a spot on the team's scout squad. After Rudy Ruettiger accomplished his goal of playing for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, he realized a second goal: seeing his story on the big screen. At first it wasn't easy. "Hollywood is one crazy damned place," Reuttiger told the Boston Globe's Michael Blowen. "It was a mess... I just barged right into it, and trusted people in Hollywood.
Additional credits: Sam Hoffman, Richard Muessel III (assistant directors); Phil Tuckett, Hank McElwee (assistant directors); Angela Nogaro (key make-up artist); Tammy Kusian (key hairstylist); Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger (consultant); Al Cowlings (football co-ordinator).
Color by Technicolor.
Rated BBFC PG by the British Board of Film Classification.