The Program (1993)

R | 114 mins | Drama | 24 September 1993

Producer:

Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

Cinematographer:

Victor Hammer

Production Designer:

Albert Brenner

Production Companies:

Touchstone Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Company
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HISTORY

According to the 15 Aug 1990 DV, which referred to the film as Saturday’s Heroes, Angelo Pizzo had been hired to write the screenplay. However, Pizzo, who wrote and co-produced Hoosiers (1986, see entry), was later replaced for unknown reasons.
       The 2 Mar 1992 Var announced that the Samuel Goldwyn Company production would begin filming in the second half of the year. According to the 16 Oct 1992 HR, Disney/Touchstone Pictures would co-produce the film as part of a three-picture deal with Samuel Goldwyn Co. HR noted that the idea for The Program was conceived by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Nov 1992, with locations at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and Duke University in Durham, NC.
       The 2 Nov 1992 Var reported a $15 to $20 million budget, and a 16 Nov 1992 start date in SC.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. sent journalist Aaron Latham to observe several college football programs throughout their season. Latham used his experience with the players to create a 250-page treatment, and later collaborated with director David S. Ward to write the screenplay.
       Filmmakers chose fifty-two former college and professional players to star as background actors, from a group of 900 try-outs. The players and principal actors endured an intense three-week football camp before filming began. For authenticity, footage was captured during real-life games at the University of South Carolina.
       The film premiered on 24 Sep 1993 and earned $6.8 million in box-office receipts, ... More Less

According to the 15 Aug 1990 DV, which referred to the film as Saturday’s Heroes, Angelo Pizzo had been hired to write the screenplay. However, Pizzo, who wrote and co-produced Hoosiers (1986, see entry), was later replaced for unknown reasons.
       The 2 Mar 1992 Var announced that the Samuel Goldwyn Company production would begin filming in the second half of the year. According to the 16 Oct 1992 HR, Disney/Touchstone Pictures would co-produce the film as part of a three-picture deal with Samuel Goldwyn Co. HR noted that the idea for The Program was conceived by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Nov 1992, with locations at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, and Duke University in Durham, NC.
       The 2 Nov 1992 Var reported a $15 to $20 million budget, and a 16 Nov 1992 start date in SC.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. sent journalist Aaron Latham to observe several college football programs throughout their season. Latham used his experience with the players to create a 250-page treatment, and later collaborated with director David S. Ward to write the screenplay.
       Filmmakers chose fifty-two former college and professional players to star as background actors, from a group of 900 try-outs. The players and principal actors endured an intense three-week football camp before filming began. For authenticity, footage was captured during real-life games at the University of South Carolina.
       The film premiered on 24 Sep 1993 and earned $6.8 million in box-office receipts, according to the 11 Oct 1993 HR.
       The 19 Oct 1993 LAT reported that one teenager was killed and another injured after imitating a scene in The Program, which depicted football players laying in the middle of the road as vehicles sped past. The 20 Oct 1993 HR announced another young man’s death, and a fourth boy’s injury after imitating the sequence. The 20 Oct 1993 DV announced Disney and Goldwyn’s decision to cut the scene from the picture, which was still playing in around 1,222 theaters. Touchstone pictures promised to have the edited versions in theaters within two-days, and released the following statement: “While the scene in the movie in no way advocates this irresponsible activity, it is impossible for us to ignore that someone may have recklessly chosen to imitate it. In light of the incidents reported, we are deleting the scene from the movie.” DV noted that costs for the re-edit would run filmmakers $350,000-$400,000. The coming-attraction trailer was also pulled from theaters, as it included a clip of the controversial scene, according to the 20 Oct 1993 LAT. Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, declared Disney’s decision to remove the scene “a statesmanlike thing to do.” The deaths prompted several news articles debating the responsibility of Hollywood filmmakers.
       According to the 6 Dec 1993 HR, which reported domestic theatrical grosses totaling $22 million, the home video release of The Program, set for 16 Feb 1994, would not include the contentious scene.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The Producers wish to thank: Mayor Bob Coble and the residents of Columbia, South Carolina; South Carolina Film Commission; the students and faculty of Duke University; the students and faculty of the University of South Carolina; the coaches and staff of the Athletic Department of the University of South Carolina; University of Michigan; Georgia Tech; Mississippi State University; University of Iowa; Boston College; The World Gym of Columbia, South Carolina”; and, “Filmed partially on location at Duke University and the University of South Carolina.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1990.
---
Daily Variety
20 Oct 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 1992
p. 1, 56.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1993
p. 6, 29.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 1993.
p. 1, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Sep 1993
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Oct 1993.
Section A, p. 1, 28.
New York Times
24 Sep 1993
p. 16.
Variety
2 Mar 1992.
---
Variety
2 Nov 1992.
---
Variety
4 Oct 1993
p. 38.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures and
The Samuel Goldwyn Company present
A David S. Ward film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Illustrator
Illustrator
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Asst const coord
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Head painter
Standby painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Set costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
MUSIC
Orig score by
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
Mus contractor
Featured musician
Featured musician
Featured musician
SOUND
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR asst
Supv foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Sd ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Supv rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff foreman
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Loc asst
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Asst to Mr. Henderson
Asst to Mr. Ward
Asst to James Caan
Prod secy
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Key prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Key asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Unit pub
Casting, South Carolina
Casting, South Carolina
Extras casting
Head football coach, Football unit
Asst football coach, Football unit
Football coord, Football unit
Strength coach, Football unit
Trainer (football players), Football unit
Asst trainer, Football unit
University of South Caroline football liaison, Foo
Equipment mgr, Football unit
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Prod and distributed on
SOURCES
SONGS
“Good Things,” written by Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas, performed by The BoDeans, courtesy of Slash Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, performed by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, courtesy of Sony Music, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Break My Back,” written by Alan Mirikitani, performed by BB & The Screaming Buddah Heads, courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
+
SONGS
“Good Things,” written by Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas, performed by The BoDeans, courtesy of Slash Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, performed by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, courtesy of Sony Music, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Break My Back,” written by Alan Mirikitani, performed by BB & The Screaming Buddah Heads, courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
“House Of Shame,” written by Alan Mirikitani, performed by BB & The Screaming Buddah Heads, courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
“Pretty Little Funky Thang,” written by Jamey Jaz and Ren Toppard, performed by Jamey Jaz, courtesy of Windswept Pacific Entertainment Co.
“Independent,” written by Phil Rind, performed by Sacred Reich, courtesy of Hollywood Records
“Angles,” written and performed by Wally Brown
“Lay Down Your Love,” written by Mark Mueller and Andy Goldmark, performed by Mark Nelson, courtesy of Andy Goldmark Productions
“Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 In F Major,” written by Johann Sebastian Bach, arranged by Louis Knatchbull, courtesy of Breton/APM Music
“Welcome To The Jungle,” written by Slash, W. Axl Rose, Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin’, and Duff McKagan, performed by Guns N’ Roses, courtesy of Geffen Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Saturday's Heroes
Release Date:
24 September 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 September 1993
New York opening: week of 24 September 1993
Production Date:
began 16 November 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures an accepted alternative of the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
12 October 1993
Copyright Number:
PA644592
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32648
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At Eastern State University (ESU), the Timberwolves football team fail their second season in a row, and the players vow to do better next year. With his job on the line, Coach Sam Winters scouts high schools for new players, and recruits tailback Darnell Jefferson. Darnell arrives to see the campus, and is given a tour by Autumn Haley. Afterward, he kisses her goodbye and hopes to see her in the fall. Four months later, when Darnell returns to ESU, he is welcomed by quarterback Joe Kane, and introduced to the other Timberwolves. Darnell sees Autumn and asks her out. However, she has a boyfriend named Ray Griffen, who is the starting tailback on the football team. Darnell worries about his academics, but his teammates tell him his grades do not matter. Joe Kane is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a “Heisman trophy” hopeful, and he feels pressured by expectations for his playing. He meets a classmate named Camille Schaeffer, and tries to convince her to go on a date with him. Sometime later, Darnell learns he failed several of his college placement exams, and is assigned to remedial courses and a tutor to improve his scores. He asks Autumn Haley to instruct him, and she reluctantly agrees. Joe finally convinces Camille to go out with him, and picks her up on his motorcycle. When he drives recklessly, she is furious at his antics. Afterward, he takes her to a dive bar, and learns that she, too, is at ESU on a scholarship. Joe is relieved that, ... +


At Eastern State University (ESU), the Timberwolves football team fail their second season in a row, and the players vow to do better next year. With his job on the line, Coach Sam Winters scouts high schools for new players, and recruits tailback Darnell Jefferson. Darnell arrives to see the campus, and is given a tour by Autumn Haley. Afterward, he kisses her goodbye and hopes to see her in the fall. Four months later, when Darnell returns to ESU, he is welcomed by quarterback Joe Kane, and introduced to the other Timberwolves. Darnell sees Autumn and asks her out. However, she has a boyfriend named Ray Griffen, who is the starting tailback on the football team. Darnell worries about his academics, but his teammates tell him his grades do not matter. Joe Kane is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a “Heisman trophy” hopeful, and he feels pressured by expectations for his playing. He meets a classmate named Camille Schaeffer, and tries to convince her to go on a date with him. Sometime later, Darnell learns he failed several of his college placement exams, and is assigned to remedial courses and a tutor to improve his scores. He asks Autumn Haley to instruct him, and she reluctantly agrees. Joe finally convinces Camille to go out with him, and picks her up on his motorcycle. When he drives recklessly, she is furious at his antics. Afterward, he takes her to a dive bar, and learns that she, too, is at ESU on a scholarship. Joe is relieved that, like him, she does not come from a wealthy family. However, Camille tries to keep Joe at a distance. The Timberwolves win their first game, and the players celebrate. At a house party, Darnell makes a move on Autumn, angering her boyfriend, Ray Griffen. After an argument with Ray, Autumn agrees to go out with Darnell, and he takes her ice skating. She kisses him afterward, and he warns her not to toy with him. Sometime later, Autumn is angry that Darnell got a “D” on his first math test. Camille is angry at Joe when he refuses to open up to her about his family. He stands on the tracks in front of an oncoming train, and dodges it at the last moment. Joe reveals to Camille that his father and brothers are alcoholics, and he fears becoming like them. Later, Joe plays a strong game against his Heisman trophy rival, but loses the game in the final moments. After the game, Darnell meets Autumn’s father, but becomes upset when he learns that Autumn is still dating Ray Griffen. Darnell accuses Autumn of being ashamed of his ghetto background. Joe and Darnell drown their sorrows at a bar, and Joe gets into a fistfight with a man after flirting with his girl friend. The young men flee, but police stop Joe for driving erratically. The media covers Joe’s incident, and Coach Winters is forced to send him to rehab for a month. When Camille telephones Joe at the rehab facility, he refuses to speak to her. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves struggle to win, and are plagued by injuries and academic suspensions. In time, Autumn ends her relationship with Ray, and tells her father about Darnell. Joe finishes his stint at rehab, and returns to ESU. He visits Camille and apologizes for not speaking to her during his time away. However, she leaves angry. Joe struggles at practice, and Coach Winters assigns Darnell to be the starting tailback. Later, Joe visits his alcoholic father and asks him why he has never attended any of his football games. Joe invites his father to the final game of the season, and warns that if he fails to show, he will never receive another invitation. The first half of the game goes poorly, and Joe Kane is called into the game after halftime. He looks into the stands, and is discouraged to see that his father has failed to attend. The coach gives Joe a pep talk before sending him out to the field. Joe, Darnell, and Ray work together to win the game. Elsewhere, Camille listens to the game on radio, and smiles at Joe’s performance. After the game, Autumn embraces Darnell. When he meets her father again, he shares his high placement test scores with him, and Mr. Haley shakes his hand. Coach Winters tells Joe how proud he is of him. Later, Joe reconciles with Camille, and they embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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