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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rudy is a moving sports drama based on the true story of Daniel "RUDY" Ruettiger who overcame various obstacles -- dyslexia, lack of money -- to play football for Notre Dame. The movie 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 (Sean Astin) 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.
- Parents say
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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 -- it emerges he has dyslexia -- 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?
- In theaters: October 13, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: September 26, 2000
- Cast: Charles S. Dutton, Jon Favreau, Sean Astin
- Director: David Anspaugh
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Humility, Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 112 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language
- Last updated: August 26, 2020
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