Entertainment Weekly - 10/15/2004
"[A] stringent, stirring real-life drama....Directed with smart, documentary-style briskness..."
USA Today - 10/08/2004
"One of the best football movies ever, NIGHTS in the end celebrates the game."
New York Times - 10/08/2004
"FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is uplifting and troubling, partly because it is more honest than most sports movies about the high cost and short life span of high school football glory."
USA Today - 10/08/2004
"The FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS team has invested a lot of energy in the authenticity of the on-field action that dominates the film."
Rolling Stone - 10/28/2004
"Thornton gets inside the coach's skin. It's a subtle, soulful performance..."
Premiere - 03/01/2005
"The movie's football scenes are both realistic and exciting, with genuine moments of suspense
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2005
"Imbued with the aching sadness of an end-of-summer's evening, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS has more in common with Peter Bogdanovich's THE LAST PICTURE SHOW...than other American football films..."
Uncut - 10/01/2005
"[With] hard-tackling action, this is a solid effort from actor-turned-director Peter Berg."
Based on the best-selling book by H.G. Bissinger, Peter Berg's gritty, powerful drama tells the true story of a small Texas town in which high school football is the only thing that matters. Set in 1988, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS opens on the first day of practice for the Odessa Permian Panthers. Under intense pressure and scrutiny from the town's residents, head coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) nonetheless maintains a calm façade. His star player, Boobie Miles (Derek Luke), is a running back with unlimited potential, but the rest of the team is undersized and lacking killer instinct--especially quarterback Mike Winchell (Lucas Black), who's shy and short of confidence, and Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), who is tormented by his father (Tim McGraw) for being too soft. When Boobie goes down on opening day with a career threatening knee injury, the season appears to be over. But Gaines won't give up, and neither will the rest of his feisty players.
Billy Bob Thornton delivers another outstanding performance in Berg's impassioned drama, as do the film's young actors (most notably Luke, Black, and Hedlund). Tobias Schliessler's fuel-injected photography and Explosion in the Sky's electrifying score make FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS an even more spectacular movie-going experience.
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