Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Rudy Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Inspiring sports film about a real-life underdog.
  • PG
  • 1993
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 22 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Perseverance, sacrifice, and hard work pay off: Rudy overcomes dyslexia and spends two years at junior college to gain acceptance into Notre Dame and onto the "prep" squad of the football team, guys who help the actual players in practice. Themes include humility, integrity, and teamwork.


Positive Role Models & Representations

Rudy is hardworking, relentless, single-minded, and willing to sacrifice to achieve his goal. The groundskeeper reminds Rudy that even if he never dresses for an actual game, he has managed to get himself through college on sheer grit, and that is worth applauding.


A fiery plant explosion kills Rudy's best friend. When Rudy wins a place on the Notre Dame prep team, all his practice time is spent hitting other teammates as hard as he can. The harder he plays, the more his teammates and coaches respect him. The players are covered with bleeding wounds and bruises from their exertions.


In exchange for free tutoring, the outgoing Rudy approaches pretty college girls to introduce to his shy tutor.


"Bullsh--t," "ass," "crap," "goddamn," and "pissed off." A coach promises to "beat the s--t out of" guys trying out for the team. A character is called a "pussy."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

At a bar, Rudy gets drunk enough to reveal information that gets him kicked off the booster squad. Other scenes in bars.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rudy includes some scenes of bitter disappointment and brutality on the football field (including bloody wounds and bruises) that might be inappropriate for younger or more sensitive kids. Expect some rough language ("s--t" and "ass" mostly), plus some drinking (Rudy gets drunk enough to reveal information that gets him kicked off the booster squad). A fiery plant explosion kills Rudy's best friend. The movie extols the virtues of perseverance and hard work; Rudy overcomes seemingly impossible odds to achieve his goal. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byETAttorneyMom September 13, 2013

Warning-Very Strong and Offensive Language-Not for Children Under 13

I made the mistake of letting my 8 and 10 year old children watch this film. While the story is inspiring, there was a lot of very bad language, including blas... Continue reading
Adult Written byProctor March 9, 2009

Great Movie but plenty of profanity as well

I was surprised that Common Sense had this rated for 9 year olds. It's a great movie, but unfortunately, like so many movies, it is unnecessarily filled w... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byskoot February 22, 2010


we watched this in school
Teen, 17 years old Written by123 456 April 21, 2020

Wonderful film

You've got to watch this, so inspiring!! Rudy is who we named my dog after! LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH!

What's the story?

Daniel "RUDY" Ruettiger (Sean Astin) doesn't want to follow his father and brother to the local steel mill when he graduates. He wants what he's wanted since he was a little boy: to play football for Notre Dame. Nothing -- not weak grades, not his small size or lack of athletic ability, not even his relatives' and teachers' conviction that he'll never make it -- is going to deter him. The path to realizing his dream is littered with seemingly endless obstacles and naysayers. But a kindly priest at Notre Dame gets him into a neighboring junior college, a Notre Dame student named D-Bob helps him improve his grades, and a hard-edged groundskeeper (Charles Dutton) gives him a job (and a bed) in the football stadium. With their help, and his own uncrushable will, Rudy gets closer to achieving his dream.

Is it any good?

This film's endless climaxes and disappointments, subtle humor, strong characters, and excellent pacing keep it focused and engaging. Rudy is a movie about perseverance and grueling hard work. Rudy is an unimpressive daydreamer, a working-class kid for whom education is a stumbling block and a hurdle that must be cleared to realize his dream to play football for Notre Dame.

For all of Rudy's rage and frustration and doubt, he has no sticky self-pity, and Jon Favreau adds the necessary humorous touch as the friend who tutors Rudy in exchange for assistance with meeting girls. The strong supporting cast also includes Ned Beatty as Rudy's emotionally distant but proud father. There's much for kids to gain from this movie, not only in Rudy's unyielding determination but in the personal sacrifices his teammates are willing to make for him. More than the wildest science-fiction or fantasy story, Rudy will make you believe that anything is possible.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Rudy achieved his goal. How did he overcome the many obstacles that stood in his way? What can we learn from Rudy?

  • Rudy was lucky to have many people supporting him as he went after his dream. Who helps you reach your goals?

  • What goals do you have? What strategies can you use to attain them? 

  • Families can talk about other sports movies. What is appealing about them? Do you ever doubt the outcome? What kinds of feelings do they stir up? How does this sports film compare to others you've seen?

  • How do the characters in Rudy demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? What about humility and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love football

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