Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1993. TriStar Pictures. Screenplay by Angelo Pizzo. Cinematography by Oliver Wood. Produced by Robert N. Fried, Cary Woods. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Production Design by Robb Wilson King. Costume Design by Jane Anderson. Film Editing by David Rosenbloom.
The higher the odds against someone succeeding, the more joy you feel for them when they actually make it, and that’s the power that Rudy has over you. Coming from a large, loud, working-class family, Rudy (Sean Astin) has to contend with poor grades in school and a lesser physical bearing in his struggle to make his dreams come true: he wants to play football for Notre Dame. To do it, he saves his money working in the same plant that employs his father, brother and best friend, and makes his way to the college of his desire, working hard day and night to make enough money and get the right grades to play for his beloved team. Watching him do it is an often painful experience that is so monumentally rewarding in its conclusion that you might have to suppress the urge to stand up and cheer. Astin is magnificently likable in the lead, never struggling too hard to stir up our affection but playing it nice and low in a very effective performance. Supporting work by Charles S. Dutton, Ned Beatty (as Rudy’s father) and Lili Taylor is also outstanding in the kind of movie that follows a formula but manages to add in just enough of that extra special something to make it really memorable.