Rudy (film)

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Rudy (1993 movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Anspaugh
Produced byRobert N. Fried
Cary Woods
Written byAngelo Pizzo
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyOliver Wood
Edited byDavid Rosenbloom
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
Release date
  • October 15, 1993 (1993-10-15)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$22.8 million

Rudy is a 1993 American biographical sports film directed by David Anspaugh. It is an account of the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite significant obstacles. It was the first film that the Notre Dame administration allowed to be shot on campus since Knute Rockne, All American in 1940.

In 2005, Rudy was named one of the best 25 sports movies of the previous 25 years in two polls by ESPN (#24 by a panel of sports experts, and #4 by users).[1] It was ranked the 54th-most inspiring film of all time in the "AFI 100 Years" series.[2]

The film was released on October 15, 1993, by TriStar Pictures. It stars Sean Astin as the title character, along with Ned Beatty, Jason Miller and Charles S. Dutton. The script was written by Angelo Pizzo, who created Hoosiers (1986), which was also directed by Anspaugh. The film was shot in Illinois and Indiana.


In the late 1960s, Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger grows up in Joliet, Illinois, dreaming of playing college football at Notre Dame. Though he achieves some success with his high school team at Joliet Catholic, he lacks the grades and money necessary to attend Notre Dame, as well as the talent and physical stature to play football for a major intercollegiate program.

After high school, Rudy takes a job at a local steel mill like his father, Daniel Sr., a Notre Dame fan, and his two older brothers, Frank and John. When his best friend Pete, who supports his dream of playing football for Notre Dame, is killed in an explosion at the mill, Rudy decides to follow his dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish.

In 1972, Rudy travels to South Bend, Indiana to the Notre Dame campus but is not academically eligible for Notre Dame. With the help and sponsorship of a Notre Dame priest, Father Cavanaugh, Rudy enrolls at Holy Cross College, a nearby junior college, hoping to get good enough grades to qualify for a transfer. He then approaches a Notre Dame stadium head groundskeeper named Fortune and volunteers to work on the field for free. Fortune offers a job at minimum wage. Currently homeless, Rudy sneaks in and out of Fortune's office at night through a window and sleeps on a cot. At first, Fortune is indifferent towards Rudy but later provides him with blankets for the cot and a key of his own to the office, even though Fortune later denies it. Rudy learns that Fortune has never seen a Notre Dame football game, despite having worked at the stadium for years.

Rudy befriends D-Bob, a graduate student at Notre Dame and a teaching assistant at Rudy's junior college. D-Bob offers to tutor Rudy in exchange for help in meeting girls around the Holy Cross campus. After some time, suspecting an underlying cause to Rudy's previous academic problems, D-Bob has him tested, and Rudy finds out that he has dyslexia. Rudy learns how to overcome his disability and becomes a better student. During Christmas vacation, Rudy returns home to his family's appreciation of his college attendance and report card but is still mocked for his attempts at playing college football and loses his fiancée to his older brother John.

After two years at Holy Cross and three rejections from Notre Dame, Rudy is finally admitted to Notre Dame during his final semester of transfer eligibility. He goes home to tell his family, with his father announcing the Notre Dame admission news to his steel mill workers over the loudspeaker. Rudy decides to return to Notre Dame immediately and attempt to make the football team as a walk-on. Rudy soon persuades Fortune to promise to come see his first game if Rudy is permitted to suit up for one game. After "walking on" as a non-scholarship player for the football team and competing well, a strong-willed Rudy convinces head coach Ara Parseghian to give him a spot on the daily practice squad. Assistant coach Yonto warns the walk on players that thirty five scholarship players will not even make the "dress roster" of players who take the field during the games but at practices notices that Rudy exhibits more drive than many of his scholarship teammates at Notre Dame.

At season's end, Coach Parseghian agrees to Rudy's request to suit up for one home game in his senior year so his family and friends can see him as a member of the Notre Dame team. However, Parseghian retires as coach following the 1974 season and is replaced by a former NFL coach, Dan Devine. Coach Devine keeps Rudy on the practice team but refuses to place him on the active playing game day roster. When Rudy sees that he is not on the dress list for the team's next-to-last home game, he becomes distraught and quits the team.

Fortune sees Rudy at the stadium instead of at practice and chastises him for quitting the team. As they talk, Rudy learns that Fortune has seen his share of Notre Dame games because he was once on the team but has never seen one from the stands. Years earlier, Fortune had angrily left the team because he felt that he was not playing in games due to his color. Fortune reminds Rudy that he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself, and that not a day will go by when he will not regret quitting. With that advice, Rudy returns to the team.

In an attempt to get Devine to list Rudy on the game-day roster, led by team captain and All-American Roland Steele, the other Notre Dame seniors rise to Rudy's defense and lay their jerseys on Devine's desk, each requesting that Rudy should be allowed to dress in his place for the season's final game. In response, a reluctant Devine lets Rudy suit up for the next game against Georgia Tech.

On game day, with Rudy's family and D-Bob in attendance, Captain Steele invites Rudy to lead the team out of the tunnel onto the playing field. Fortune is there to see the Notre Dame–Georgia Tech game as promised. As the game nears its end with Notre Dame winning 17–3, Devine sends all the seniors into the game but not Rudy, despite urging from Steele and other assistant coaches. That week at Notre Dame there had been a story about Rudy and his walk-on football career in the student newspaper, so the fans are aware of what Rudy is trying to accomplish. Suddenly, a fan-led "Rudy!" chant begins in the stadium. Hearing the chants, the Notre Dame offensive team, led by tailback Jamie O'Hara, overrules Devine's call for victory formation and scores another quick touchdown instead, providing defensive player Rudy with one more chance to get into a game and thus be entered onto the official roster of Notre Dame football players.

Devine finally lets Rudy play on the kickoff by Notre Dame to Georgia Tech. Rudy then stays in for the final play of the game and sacks the Georgia Tech quarterback. Rudy is carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders to cheers from the stadium.

An epilogue to the 1993 film stated that after 1975, no other player for Notre Dame had been carried off the field to the time of the film's release. (In 1995, two years after the film's release, fullback Marc Edwards became the second Notre Dame player to be carried off the field by his teammates following their upset win over the USC Trojans). Rudy graduated from the university in 1976, and all his younger brothers later went on to college to earn degrees.



Rudy soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 28, 1993 (1993-09-28)

The soundtrack to Rudy was composed and conducted by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith had previously worked with filmmakers Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh on their successful 1986 film Hoosiers, garnering the film an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score[3] and thus making Goldsmith their first choice to compose a soundtrack for Rudy.

  1. "Main Title" (3:35)
  2. "A Start"(2:27)
  3. "Waiting" (2:35)
  4. "Back on the Field" (2:07)
  5. "To Notre Dame" (6:55)
  6. "Tryouts" (4:27)
  7. "The Key" (3:55)
  8. "Take Us Out" (1:51)
  9. "The Plaque" (2:36)
  10. "The Final Game" (6:16)

According to, "Tryouts" has been used in 12 trailers, including those for Angels in the Outfield, The Deep End of the Ocean, Good Will Hunting, Seabiscuit and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.[4]

In 2008, Senator John McCain used "Take Us Out" as an official anthem during his presidential run. The piece of music was played at major events such as after Senator McCain's acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention and after John McCain announced Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in Dayton, Ohio.

"Take Us Out" was played in the pilot episode of About a Boy, based on the 2002 film of the same name.

Also recorded in the film are performances of various Notre Dame fight songs by the Notre Dame Glee Club.[citation needed]

Jersey scene[edit]

In reality, Coach Devine had announced that Rudy would dress for the Georgia Tech game during practice a few days before. The dramatic scene where his senior teammates each lay their jerseys on Coach Devine's desk in protest never happened; according to Ruettiger, Devine was persuaded to allow him to dress only after a number of senior players requested that he do so.[5] Devine had agreed to be depicted as the "heavy" in the film for dramatic effect but was chagrined to find out the extent to which he was vilified,[6] saying: "The jersey scene is unforgivable. It's a lie and untrue."[7] As a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on September 8, 2010, Joe Montana, who was an active member of the team when Ruettiger played in the Georgia Tech game, confirmed that the jersey scene never happened, stating: “It's a movie, remember. Not all of that is true...The crowd wasn’t chanting, nobody threw in their jerseys. He did get in the ball game. He got carried off after the game."[8]


Rudy received primarily positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the film "has a freshness and an earnestness that gets us involved, and by the end of the film we accept Rudy's dream as more than simply sports sentiment. It's a small but powerful illustration of the human spirit."[9] Stephen Holden of The New York Times observed that "For all its patness, the movie also has a gritty realism that is not found in many higher-priced versions of the same thing, and its happy ending is not the typical Hollywood leap into fantasy."[10] In The Washington Post, Richard Harrington called Rudy "a sweet-natured family drama in which years of effort are rewarded by a brief moment of glory."[11] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called the film "Sweet-natured and unsurprising...this is one of those Never Say Die, I Gotta Be Me, Somebody Up There Likes Me sports movies that no amount of cynicism can make much of a dent in."[12] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 78%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's consensus reads, "Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination."[13]

In 2006, AFI placed the film on its 100 Years...100 Cheers list, where it was ranked #54.[14]


  1. ^ "ESPN25: The 25 Best Sports Movies". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  2. ^ "AFI 100 years... 100 cheers". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  3. ^ Hoosiers soundtrack review at
  4. ^ "SoundtrackNet Trailers : Rudy (1993)". Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  5. ^ "Insider". Cold, Hard Football Archived from the original on 2011-10-15. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  6. ^ Cohen, Ed (Summer 2001). "Devine not the devil "Rudy" suggests". Notre Dame Magazine Online. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Ten Questions with Rudy Ruettiger". Sports Hollywood. 1975-11-08. Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  8. ^ "Joe Montana Sean Astin's whole life has been a lie".
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (1993). "Rudy". The Chicago Sun-Times (October 10, 1993).
  10. ^ Holden, Stephen (1993). "A Walter Mitty Dreams Of Fame On Football Field". The New York Times (October 13, 1993).
  11. ^ Harrington, Richard (1993). "Rudy". The Washington Post (October 13, 1993).
  12. ^ Turan, Kenneth (1993). "A Tribute To The Power Of Stubbornness". The Los Angeles Times (October 13, 1993).
  13. ^
  14. ^ "100 Years...100 Cheers: Most Inspiring Films". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

External links[edit]