Grant Mitchell

Biographical films are almost always a big hit with movie goers. Whether it’s a story about the life of famed singers like the Elton John centric “Rocketman” or the genius and psychosis of Howard Hughes in “The Aviator,” biopics always draw in people in droves. 

For 1993’s cult classic sports biopic “Rudy,” the devotion and love shown to this film came not from huge totals at the box office, but rather from a continued love and passion shown for this film in the two-plus decades since its original theatrical run. 

The film, “Rudy,” is one based on the inspirational and unlikely story of Rudy Ruettiger and his aspiration to someday play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. 

An incredibly tall task and nearly unattainable dream because of the Notre Dame football team’s fame and prestige. 

However, “Rudy,” wouldn’t be a classic heartwarming true story if it didn’t eventually see Rudy Ruettiger triumph against the unlikely odds and eventually make it onto the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. All of this after first pushing himself to make it into Notre Dame from a completely different collegiate starting point. 

While there have been many feel-good true story biopics, few films have had the same kind of genuine heart and identifiable characters such as those that are seen in “Rudy.”

Rudy comes from a big working-class family living in the snow belt of the United States. 

Rudy is an undersized football player and not the best student when the film finds him at the start of his last practice of high school football. 

With poor academics and no real trajectory in life, Rudy loses his aspirations and trades hopefulness for a job begrudgingly working at the steel plant his family works at. 

After a tragedy, Rudy gains a new perspective and decides he must pursue his dream of making it into Notre Dame and onto the football team no matter what. 

The story that follows is one we can all identify with and feel a real connection to if for no other reason than the fact that we all have or have had goals we thought were unattainable, but we still fought for no matter the odds.  

I remember watching this movie over and over and over again with my dad and cheering “Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!” with the crowd when there were moments of hope for Rudy. I also remember rolling with the punches whenever there would be a hitch in Rudy’s plan or a doubt in his mind. 

That same identifiable nature of “Rudy,” and the characters in the film still holds true to me and countless other people. It’s why “Rudy” is viewed as the definitive football movie by many people and one of the all-time most inspirational true-story films. The hope the film instills is infectious and really leaves you feeling like you can do whatever you set your mind to. 

Truth be told, you can. No matter what it is.  

“Rudy,” is by no means an Oscar-worthy film. It has clichés and some unrealistic moments from characters, but what it lacks in refinement it more than makes up for with an extra helping of heart and substance. 

“Rudy,” has excellent cinematography from Oliver Wood that truly captures the fall season and its importance in the sport of football. Additionally, “Rudy,” sports an amazing score composed by famed Hollywood composer Jerry Goldsmith. 

All in all, “Rudy,” may not wow you as the film of the century, but it will warm your heart and never lose its re-watch potential.

Grant Mitchell is a junior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

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