Brian's Song Movie Poster Image

Brian's Song



Weepy story of interracial pro football teammates.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1971
  • Running Time: 74 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sensitive treatment of racial issues, especially for the time.


Sad death.

Not applicable

Use of the "N" word.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie deals with plenty of racial issues and there's an upsetting death of a main character.

What's the story?

This is the true -- and heartbreaking -- story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, players for the Chicago Bears and the first interracial roommates in pro sports. Piccolo (James Caan) isn't as talented as Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) but his dedication is immense and he excels when competing against Sayers. When When Sayers is injured, Piccolo devotes himself to his friend's recovery. Sayers comes back, Piccolo is added to the starting lineup, and all seems fine until Piccolo becomes ill. It turns out that he has terminal cancer. The shy and reserved Sayers must learn to handle a devastating loss by keeping the best of Piccolo inside him.

Is it any good?


This is a touching and inspiring made-for-TV film with an outstanding musical score by Michael Legrand. The friendship and devotion between the two friends (and their wives) is very moving, as is the treatment of racial issues.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about friendship and competition. Do you have friends you compete with? Is it hard on your friendship sometimes? What are more recent movies that deal with racial issues? How do they compare with this movie from the '70s?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 30, 1971
DVD/Streaming release date:August 8, 2000
Cast:Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden, James Caan
Director:Buzz Kulik
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Friendship
Run time:74 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written byMissy003 October 11, 2010

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.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old April 8, 2011

Great movie for 7 up!

Great movie! Brian Picollo is my brother`s friend`s grandfather.
Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2011

I Guess It Was OK, But....

This movie was not bad. There was nothing wrong with it. But the thing is, it was so BORING! I don't know, it could be just the comedy/action lover I am, but it didn't really break that shell. I didn't cry. But this is such a sad movie! And I cry so easily in movies! For example, in Tangled, I've seen the movie three times, and I've cried every one of them! And that movie wasn't that sad! But I will say one more thing for all of you guys and gals who love this movie: I'M NOT SAYING THIS MOVIE IS BAD.The only point I'm putting across is that this movie will not appeal to kids my age. Thats all. But, if you think that this will be something that you will enjoy, I think that you should definantly watch it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models