Brian's Song

Movie review by Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Brian's Song Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 10+

Weepy story of interracial pro football teammates.

G 1971 74 minutes

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+

Based on 4 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Tearjerker with soul

My folks told me all about this telefilm in the 70s before I watched it. My mom said she cried so hard at the end that her eyes were puffy for her senior pictures the next day! I didn't cry that much (though I certainly filled up, I'm not a robot) but I really dug the story that just didn't shove the fact that Pic was white and Sayers was black. They certainly didn't care...actually most of the film really focuses on Pic never quite being as good as his best friend, and Sayers' injury. There's no preachy sermon about whites and blacks holding hands, it just presents a friendship based on what all friendships should be based on: respect for each other and enjoying the other's company. Of the 2, Williams had the more interesting character; a winning introvert with a big heart to Caan's never serious extrovert. Though it's totally dated, kids will love this film and the messages it conveys.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

3 Reasons Why Brian's Song is the Greatest Football Movie of All Time

#1. A Family Orientated Movie: Even though this sports movie dealt with how full back Brian Piccolo courageously wrestled with several forms of cancer that would ultimately take his life in June 1970. The overall theme of the movie deals with family unity, tragedy, and death, but the main focus of the movie dealt with interracial issues. Gale Sayers would form a special bond with Brian Piccolo, and during this time both player's would become the very first interracial roommates in the NFL. Even though Brian's Song Dealt with many social issues in the early seventies, the movie broke down how people dealt with death, tragedy, and color barriers, which taught children and families how to deal with their many innate human frailties. #2. Motivational Movie for Young Athletes: There are only a handful of movies that deal with how to motivate young athletes in today's world, the identity of the movie has many key elements that offer scores of positive solutions for every young person that wants to be the very best they can be. The Brian's Song movie can also be used as an ideal educational tool, as it teaches young people to be the best you can be despite your circumstance or national heritage. The Brian's Song movie is also a prolific teaching moment - where as coaches, parents, and mentors can use this movie to point out specific particulars that deal by means of learning how to cope with adversity. This may be one of the most important things that young athletes will have to gain knowledge of - in conjunction with becoming a team player in sports activities that also unclothe a reflection in their personal life. #3. The Best TV Sports Movie of All Time: There may be many more reasons why Brian's Song is a moving portrayal of real life events, but if it were not for the extraordinary acting talents of lead actors Billy Dee Williams and James Caan, there would have been no way that Brian's Song would have touched the hearts of so many American football fans. The two actors completely immersed their self in the roles portraying Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, their character acting was a moving document and testament relating to Brian Piccolo's battle with an incurable cancer. One of the more interesting and engaging facts about the other actors that were involved in the Brian's Song TV movie, Butkus, Jack Concannon, Abe Gibson, and the Chicago Bears were represented as true Chicago Bears players and staff that gave the movie an even more realistic appeal.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of basketball, football, and medal
    Sports and Martial Arts
    See all
  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    Friendship
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate