Any Given Sunday

Movie review by
Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media
Any Given Sunday Movie Poster Image
Hard-hitting football drama has strong language, sex, drugs.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 162 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Teamwork, overcoming adversity, and working hard to achieve your goals are all prominent themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players are shown working hard to compete at an elite sporting level. However, they are also shown behaving unprofessionally -- disobeying Coach D'Amato and boasting about their wealth. Willie Beamen uses his platform to discuss racism in professional sports. Christina Pagniacci is ambitious and determined to succeed in a male-dominated world. However, other female characters are often two-dimensional, putting pressure on male characters to endanger their health for financial gain and to maintain social status.

Violence

Football players are injured and are shown spitting blood and requiring hospital treatment. Ongoing medical conditions such as concussions are portrayed. A player's eyeball becomes detached and is shown in a bloody pool on the football pitch. The player is shown with blood dripping down their face. A classic movie is playing on a TV, which shows a character run over by horses and the horse being flogged. Warring teammates fight in the locker room. Coach shoves and injures a journalist.

Sex

Joke about giving a player a "hand job" to help their recovery. An escort propositions a character and then sleeps with them. Brief reference to group sex. Players shown stripped to waist. Full frontal and rear nudity. Cheerleaders dance in revealing outfits. Sex worker shown topless. Kissing and groping in public at a party. Players cheat on their spouses. Character described as "thinking with his d--k." Characters play touch football on the beach in swimwear.

Language

Language includes "goddammit," "f--k," "motherf---r," "s--t," "f--king," "p---y," "bulls--t," "Jesus," "hell," "kick your ass," "a--holes," "bitches," "dyke," and "f-g." Some racist language and phrases are used -- including the "N" word. Sexist language used, such as "win or lose like a man."

Consumerism

Brand names and logos shown on footballs and uniforms, in the background and as props. Advertising for products during games. Owners discuss moving the team's franchise to a new city to make more money and threaten politicians to try to get funding. Player wants "stats" to get more commercial endorsements. Characters complain about TV money taking over the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players request painkilling drugs to play better. Character gets drunk to deal with stress at a bar and later references a hangover. Cigars smoked throughout. Characters drink and get drunk at social gatherings. Cocaine use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Any Given Sunday is a powerful football drama that explores teamwork, dedication, and professionalism, but also contains strong language, drugs, sex, and gory injuries. The overall messages are positive ones, as characters overcome their differences to work together. Most characters act with good intentions, but the movie shows them making some poor choices. Head coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) is reluctant to change and listen, while rising star Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) insists on doing things his way. General manager Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) battles with being taken seriously in a world run by men, but can be ruthless and uncaring. The violence is mostly limited to the field of play. Some injuries are graphic but always in context. Some minor scuffles off the field, a couple of which draw blood. Sex features occasionally, with characters using both it and alcohol to alleviate the stress of their jobs. One character has a relationship with a sex worker. Drugs -- including cocaine -- are used recreationally at a party. Consumerism features throughout, with some product placement. Some characters are motivated by money, but this tends to be mainly to help achieve financial security for either them or the franchise.

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What's the story?

In ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), head coach of an American football team, must deal with both the team's demanding owners alongside his high-maintenance players.

Is it any good?

This sports movie boasts a strong cast delivering committed performances. Any Given Sunday feels like a love letter to professional football by director and co-writer Oliver Stone. In addition to celebrating football, it attempts to show how its male-dominated world often marginalizes women and how African American players are kept from positions of power. Predating football's "Rooney Rule" by four years, the last point is particularly poignant.

After a strong start, it does however start to slow. The last 30 minutes resembles a more conventional sports movie telling a more crowd-pleasing story. At two hours and 42 minutes, it's runtime is perhaps too long. But it's hard to begrudge a movie whose makers clearly love the sport and Pacino's final locker room speech is a worthy climax. Its frenetic, on-field sequences broke new ground at the time and today still connect like a crunching tackle from a linebacker.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Any Given Sunday. Does the fact that a lot of the blood and gore take place on the football field make it less or more shocking? Does the movie change how you feel about football? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Discuss the strong language used in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • Discuss the racism in the movie and how race is still a major topic in the world of sport today. Did what the players in the movie say about race resonate with you? Talk about some of the protest movements that have taken place in sport. How effective have they been? What more could be done?

  • How are drinking and drug use portrayed? Are there consequences? Why is that important?

  • How is sex depicted in the movie? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

Movie details

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