Rudy (1993)

PG | 112 mins | Drama, Biography | 13 October 1993

Director:

David Anspaugh

Writer:

Angelo Pizzo

Cinematographer:

Oliver Wood

Production Designer:

Robb Wilson King

Production Companies:

TriStar Pictures , Fried/Woods Films
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HISTORY

The film begins with a title card reading, “The following is based on a true story,” and concludes with: “Since 1975, no other Notre Dame player has been carried off the field”; “Daniel E. ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1976. Five of Rudy’s younger brothers went on to college. All received degrees.”
       According to a 27 Oct 1993 LAT article, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger first pitched a film project based on his life story to Hollywood executives in 1982, but failed to elicit interest. Sometime later, Ruettiger entered into a deal with a screenwriter who allegedly conned him out of his life savings, according to the 8 Oct 1993 LAT. Still living in South Bend, IN, where Notre Dame is located, Ruettiger was reinvigorated when he saw the 1986 film Hoosiers (see entry). Through a chance encounter with someone in South Bend, he was able to obtain contact information for Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo. Around 1989, Ruettiger began hounding Pizzo, who was not interested in writing another Indiana-based sports film, especially one set at Notre Dame, a school he disliked. Nevertheless, Pizzo eventually mentioned the project to Hoosiers director David Anspaugh, and producer Robert Fried. In 1991, Fried sold the project to Columbia Pictures, with Anspaugh attached to direct and Pizzo to write. When Columbia’s chairman Frank Price left the studio for Savoy Pictures, however, his successor, Mark Canton, put the film into turnaround in early 1992. As noted in a 15 Oct 1992 DV article, Savoy Pictures nearly bought the rights from Columbia, but passed when foreign deals did not come together ...

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The film begins with a title card reading, “The following is based on a true story,” and concludes with: “Since 1975, no other Notre Dame player has been carried off the field”; “Daniel E. ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1976. Five of Rudy’s younger brothers went on to college. All received degrees.”
       According to a 27 Oct 1993 LAT article, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger first pitched a film project based on his life story to Hollywood executives in 1982, but failed to elicit interest. Sometime later, Ruettiger entered into a deal with a screenwriter who allegedly conned him out of his life savings, according to the 8 Oct 1993 LAT. Still living in South Bend, IN, where Notre Dame is located, Ruettiger was reinvigorated when he saw the 1986 film Hoosiers (see entry). Through a chance encounter with someone in South Bend, he was able to obtain contact information for Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo. Around 1989, Ruettiger began hounding Pizzo, who was not interested in writing another Indiana-based sports film, especially one set at Notre Dame, a school he disliked. Nevertheless, Pizzo eventually mentioned the project to Hoosiers director David Anspaugh, and producer Robert Fried. In 1991, Fried sold the project to Columbia Pictures, with Anspaugh attached to direct and Pizzo to write. When Columbia’s chairman Frank Price left the studio for Savoy Pictures, however, his successor, Mark Canton, put the film into turnaround in early 1992. As noted in a 15 Oct 1992 DV article, Savoy Pictures nearly bought the rights from Columbia, but passed when foreign deals did not come together in time for an Oct 1992 production start.
       TriStar Pictures came on board in Sep 1992, and gave the $13-million film a green light after clearing up “last-minute rights claims against the property.” Filmmakers were given two weeks to revise the script, and only two days to obtain permission to film at Notre Dame. The school had not agreed to be portrayed in a film since 1940’s Knute Rockne--All American (see entry). As stated in the 10 Oct 1993 NYT, the Notre Dame administration, including executive vice president Reverend William Beauchamp, was not interested in another film about Notre Dame football, but after reading Pizzo’s script, determined it was a “heartwarming, enlivening story” about hard work that represented the school’s values.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, the fifty-day shoot began 26 Oct 1992 in South Bend, where six weeks of filming took place at Notre Dame, Holy Cross Junior College, and a local bar called Cap N’ Cork. Notre Dame locations included the twin lakes, Knute Rockne Stadium, Church of the Sacred Heart, and the Golden Dome. Crowd scenes were filmed at halftime during Notre Dame football games against Boston College and Penn State. The climactic scene in which players carry “Rudy” off the field was filmed during the Notre Dame v. Boston College game, and the 59,000 fans in attendance were enlisted to chant Rudy’s name. Football action scenes were shot by the National Football League’s “cinematic arm,” N.F.L. Films. After six weeks in South Bend, production moved to Chicago, IL, where Thompson Steel Mill (just south of the city) was filmed, and the nearby town of Whiting, IN, stood in for Joliet, IL.
       The 15-21 Oct 1993 Entertainment Today news brief reported that actor Sean Astin endured “head-to-toe bruises” during filming. Astin’s stuntman was injured and required knee surgery by the end of the shoot.
       In mid-Sep 1993, Rudy was screened as the closing night attraction at the Toronto Film Festival. The picture was set to open the Chicago Film Festival on 9 Oct 1993. According to a 31 Aug 1993 DV item, the world premiere took place 6 Oct 1993 at the Morris Civic Auditorium in South Bend. A limited opening took place 13 Oct 1993, one week before the 22 Oct 1993 national release.
       Rudy was ranked #54 on AFI’s 2006 100 Years…100 Cheers list of the most inspiring films of all time. Critical reception was largely positive, with consistent praise going to Sean Astin’s performance. As noted in the 17 Sep 1993 NYT, Rudy Ruettiger’s real-life coach, Dan Devine, was unhappy with his portrayal in the film, and particularly disliked the scene in which players protest a game dress list that excludes Rudy’s name by throwing their jerseys on the coach’s desk, threatening to boycott the game unless Rudy is added. In real life, players encouraged some assistant coaches to mention the idea to Devine, who included Rudy on the dress list when it was first posted. Filmmakers admitted to taking dramatic license with several scenes, including the players’ protest. Devine was told ahead of time that his character would be portrayed as a “heavy” and allegedly went along with it to help “get the film off the ground.” He also signed legal documents allowing filmmakers to portray him as they wished, but later regretted not having read the papers before signing. Devine wrote a letter of complaint to Ruettiger, and to Notre Dame’s former executive vice president, Reverend Edmund Joyce, insisting that he would always feel the university had let him down until the jersey scene was removed. Filmmakers did not comply with Devine’s wishes.
       The 10 Oct 1993 NYT noted other ways in which the film strays from Ruettiger’s true story: in real life, Ruettiger worked at a power plant, not a steel mill; in the film, his “angry, dyspeptic older brother” was written as a composite character; Ruettiger himself was portrayed as more of a “loner” in the film, and his father was portrayed as having a more negative outlook.
       End credits include “Special Thanks” to: Revs. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., and E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., and the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Holy Cross; city of South Bend, Indiana; NFL Films; ABC Sports; Mary Jean Kockendorfer.” End credits also include the statement: “This film would not have been possible without the support of: Richard W. Conklin; Roger O. Valdiserri; Dennis K. Moore; Charles F. Lennon, Jr.; Richard A. Rosenthal; Lou Holtz; Luther Snavely and the Notre Dame Marching Band and the administration, faculty, staff and students of the University of Notre Dame du Lac.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Oct 1992
p. 1, 8.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1993.
---
Daily Variety
20 Sep 1993.
---
Entertainment Today
15-21 Oct 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1993
p. 10, 39.
Los Angeles Times
8 Oct 1993
Calendar, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
13 Oct 1993
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
27 Oct 1993
Sports, p. 1.
New York Times
17 Sep 1993
Section B, p. 11.
New York Times
10 Oct 1993
Section A, p. 22.
New York Times
13 Oct 1993
p. 21.
Variety
27 Sep 1993
p. 39.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
TriStar Pictures Presents
A Fried/Woods Films Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Film loader
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Addl cam op
Video assist
Video assist
Chief lighting tech
Elec best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Head painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Set costumer
Football costumer
Asst to cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Supv foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post prod facilities
Culver City, California
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cable
Cable
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Key make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Addl casting
Consultant
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Football coord
Football tech asst
Football tech asst
Unit pub
Casting asst
Casting asst (Chicago)
Casting asst (Chicago)
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Extras casting asst
Extras promotion
Event coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Fried/Woods
Asst to Fried/Woods
Asst to Fried/Woods
Asst to Mr. Anspaugh
Post prod asst
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
"Notre Dame Victory March," written by John F. Shea and Rev. Michael J. Shea, performed by University of Notre Dame Glee Club, courtesy of University of Notre Dame; "Ring Of Fire," written by Merle Kilgore and June Carter, performed by Johnny Cash, courtesy of Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; "Walking Dream," written by Ginger Willis and Hal Willis, performed by Patsy Cline, courtesy of Masters International, Inc.; "Hike, Notre Dame!," written by Vincent Fagan and Joseph J. Casasanta, performed by University of Notre Dame Glee Club, courtesy of University of Notre Dame; "Run Through The Jungle," written by John Fogerty, performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, courtesy of Fantasy Records; "The Victory Clog," written by Robert F. O'Brien; "When The Irish Backs Go Marching By," written by Eugene Burke and Joseph J. Casasanta; "Rakes Of Mallow," performed by University of Notre Dame Marching Band, courtesy of FSR; "Down The Line," written by Vincent Fagan and Joseph J. Casasanta; "Nittany Lion," written by James A. Leyden; "Notre Dame Victory March," written by John F. Shea and Rev. Michael J. Shea, performed by University of Notre Dame Marching Band, courtesy of FSR; "The Spirited West," courtesy of OGM/Capitol Production Music.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 October 1993
Premiere Information:
South Bend, IN, premiere: 6 Oct 1993; Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 Oct 1993
Production Date:
26 Oct--mid or late Dec 1992
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
12 November 1993
PA678255
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32500
SYNOPSIS

In 1960s Joliet, Illinois, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger dreams of attending the University of Notre Dame, and playing football for the Fighting Irish. Despite his dedication and perseverance in high school football, Rudy is too small in stature and lacks the natural talent to play on a major college football team. Furthermore, his grades are too poor to gain admittance to Notre Dame. Instead of going to college, he takes a job at the local steel mill, where his father, Daniel, Sr., and older brothers, Frank and John, work. Still hoping to attend Notre Dame, Rudy saves money for tuition. His best friend, Pete, is the only person to take his ambitions seriously, while his father discourages him from chasing unrealistic dreams, and his embittered brother Frank laughs him off as pathetic. After Rudy’s twenty-second birthday, Pete is killed in an explosion at the steel mill. Rudy is devastated. Although his longtime girl friend, Sherry, wants to get married, Pete’s death inspires Rudy to make a drastic change. At the funeral, he tells Sherry he is moving to South Bend, Indiana, to attend Notre Dame. Daniel, Sr. tries to stop him from leaving, but Rudy remains steadfast. Arriving in South Bend, he goes to the Notre Dame admissions office, which is not yet open. A priest named Father Cavanaugh agrees to see him, and hears Rudy’s plight. Cavanaugh recommends Rudy enroll at nearby Holy Cross Junior College. If he earns good grades there, he can apply to Notre Dame as a transfer student. Rudy follows Cavanaugh’s advice, and throws himself into his studies at Holy Cross. He also introduces himself to Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame’s head football coach, and declares ...

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In 1960s Joliet, Illinois, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger dreams of attending the University of Notre Dame, and playing football for the Fighting Irish. Despite his dedication and perseverance in high school football, Rudy is too small in stature and lacks the natural talent to play on a major college football team. Furthermore, his grades are too poor to gain admittance to Notre Dame. Instead of going to college, he takes a job at the local steel mill, where his father, Daniel, Sr., and older brothers, Frank and John, work. Still hoping to attend Notre Dame, Rudy saves money for tuition. His best friend, Pete, is the only person to take his ambitions seriously, while his father discourages him from chasing unrealistic dreams, and his embittered brother Frank laughs him off as pathetic. After Rudy’s twenty-second birthday, Pete is killed in an explosion at the steel mill. Rudy is devastated. Although his longtime girl friend, Sherry, wants to get married, Pete’s death inspires Rudy to make a drastic change. At the funeral, he tells Sherry he is moving to South Bend, Indiana, to attend Notre Dame. Daniel, Sr. tries to stop him from leaving, but Rudy remains steadfast. Arriving in South Bend, he goes to the Notre Dame admissions office, which is not yet open. A priest named Father Cavanaugh agrees to see him, and hears Rudy’s plight. Cavanaugh recommends Rudy enroll at nearby Holy Cross Junior College. If he earns good grades there, he can apply to Notre Dame as a transfer student. Rudy follows Cavanaugh’s advice, and throws himself into his studies at Holy Cross. He also introduces himself to Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame’s head football coach, and declares his intentions to one day play for the Fighting Irish. In the meantime, Rudy wants to help the team in any way possible, but Parseghian cannot hire a non-student. In turn, Rudy offers his services to “Fortune,” a groundskeeper at the Notre Dame football stadium. Even though Rudy is willing to work for free, Fortune insists on paying him minimum wage, and turns a blind eye when Rudy, who cannot afford student housing, begins sneaking into his office at night and sleeping on a cot. Rudy meets “D-Bob,” a Notre Dame student who works as a teaching assistant at Holy Cross. Impressed by Rudy’s ease with girls, D-Bob offers to tutor him in exchange for help with getting a date. When they begin working together, D-Bob suspects Rudy is dyslexic and a test reveals that he is. Rudy learns tools to deal with his dyslexia, and earns better grades, but his application to attend Notre Dame in the spring is rejected. He returns home for Christmas, and shows his father his report card. He admits Notre Dame rejected him, but urges his father, a Notre Dame fanatic, to come see a game when he finally makes the team. Certain that his son will never achieve such a lofty goal, Daniel, Sr. claims he prefers to watch the games from his living room, while brother Frank ridicules Rudy for being delusional. Johnny arrives with Sherry, and Rudy realizes they are now a couple. He leaves in anger. Back in South Bend, he continues to study hard and trains for the football team in his spare time. In the spring of his freshman year, he receives another rejection letter and loses his patience. Fortune tells Rudy he is too obsessed with the football team and is ignoring the great education he is getting at Holy Cross. As a sophomore, Rudy is rejected by Notre Dame a third time. He goes to church to pray. Father Cavanaugh reminds him that God works in his own time. With only one more chance for a junior-year transfer, Rudy is finally accepted into Notre Dame. Overjoyed, he goes to the steel mill to tell his father, who proudly announces the news over a loudspeaker. Rudy returns to South Bend for football tryouts. His dogged determination impresses an assistant coach, and he is brought on as a “scout team” member, whose sole purpose is to play defense against first-string players in practice. On a daily basis, Rudy takes hit after hit from much larger players. He is constantly injured, but works through the pain, and sets an example for the rest of the team. Parseghian credits him with playing with heart, and agrees to put Rudy on the dress list for one game during his senior year. Rudy shares the news with his family, but later learns that Parseghian has quit, and will be replaced by former National Football League (NFL) coach Dan Devine. D-Bob, who is on his way to law school in Miami, Florida, assures Rudy that Devine will honor Parseghian’s promise. As a senior, Rudy continues to work hard on the scout team, but week after week, he is not added to the dress list. Days before the final game of the season against Georgia Tech, the dress list is posted. Rudy searches for his name to no avail. His dreams dashed, he quits the team and skips the final practice session. Fortune finds him brooding and reveals that he was a Notre Dame football player who “rode the bench” for two years. He developed suspicions that he wasn’t being played because he was African American, and quit the team. He regrets the decision now, and urges Rudy not to quit. Rudy returns to practice, where he is welcomed by applause from other players. Afterward, team captain Roland Steele leaves his jersey on Dan Devine’s desk, insisting that Rudy be added to the dress list in his place. When other members of the team follow suit, Devine changes his mind and adds Rudy to the list. Rudy arranges for his parents and brothers to attend the game. D-Bob comes up from Miami, and Fortune attends his first game since he was on the team. In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame gains a sizable lead over Georgia Tech. Players beg Devine to put Rudy on the field, and when the coach ignores them, they begin chanting Rudy’s name. The crowd joins in. With less than a minute left, Devine tells his offense to “kill the clock.” However, in order to give Rudy one last chance to play defense, they run a different play and score another touchdown. Rudy is sent onto the field with twenty-seven seconds left in the game. In the final play, he sacks Georgia Tech’s quarterback. The crowd cheers. Rudy’s teammates hoist him on their shoulders and carry him off the field. He marvels at the packed stadium as his friends and family celebrate his victory.

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

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