In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s only fitting to watch a film about a young man aspiring to play for the Fighting Irish.
Rudy [Columbia Pictures]
Release Date: 1993
Starring: Sean Astin, John Favreau and Charles S. Dutton
He stood five-foot-nothing and weighed a hundred-and-zip pounds. Nevertheless, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years. Rudy tells the true story of Ruettiger’s life, highlighting his struggle to fulfill his dream of playing for the University of Notre Dame.
As a child, Rudy (Astin) kept hearing the words “impossible,” “ridiculous” and “unattainable” from everyone around him, including his family. When his best friend dies, he decides to leave the naysayers behind and chase down his dream. But before he can strap on the golden helmet, he must first get accepted into Notre Dame. Rudy does not have the grades, so he enrolls in Holy Cross Junior College to improve them. After years of trying, he is finally accepted into Notre Dame. Next, he gets a chance to work with the football team’s practice squad—as a tackling dummy for the first-team starters.
The climax of the film comes when Rudy is allowed to dress for the final game of the year, against Georgia Tech. His dream fulfilled, he is carried off the field in triumph by his teammates, with the fans chanting his name—and Rudy becomes a Notre Dame football legend.
STACK’s Take: It’s often said about the University of Notre Dame that there are no neutral parties—you either love ’em or hate ’em—and the same goes for this film. Personally, being part of a family that sent three members to South Bend, I’m kind of biased about Rudy. I think everyone can agree that the underlying story—about fighting for what you believe in and chasing your dreams—is inspiring and important. Fighting passionately against all odds to achieve a goal is a mindset that athletes need to have if they want to make it to the next level. You have to have heart, and this film has miles and miles of it.