Rudy Movie Poster Image


Inspiring sports film about a real-life underdog.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1993
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
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.

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:October 13, 1993
DVD/Streaming release date:September 26, 2000
Cast:Charles S. Dutton, Jon Favreau, Sean Astin
Director:David Anspaugh
Studio:Columbia Tristar
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

This review of Rudy was written by

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Parent of a 6, 10, and 10 year old Written byRedthreadmom February 17, 2010

Not for 9 year-olds or 10-year-olds and even 11-year-olds.

I rented this from netflix based on the general review and recommendation that the movie was on for 9 and up. However, right before we sat down to watch the movie, I came to this site and read the parents' reviews and realized there was far more swearing in the movie than indicated. We ended up watching the olympics instead, and I sent the movie back unwatched. This is the second time that Common Sense has rated a movie OK for ages 9-10, but that had a lot of swearing in it (The Right Stuff was FILLED with swearing and I can't believe it was rated OK for 10 and up.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written byforce23 April 9, 2008

For any person who wants/wanted to be a star

I have watched this movie at least a dozen times and every time it keeps me enthralled to the very end. I know how the movie is going to end, but Sean Astin so vividly protrays Rudy you not only see his disappointments, you feel them. While he might be better known for the "Lord of the Rings", Astin absolutely shines in this movie. The supporting cast take to their parts like few movies I have seen. This is an absolute not miss for anyone. You don't have to be a sports fan as the sports aspect is secondary to Rudy's quest to be a part of the team. The movie will make you feel part of Rudy's life and celebrate his success.
Teen, 14 years old Written byskoot February 22, 2010


we watched this in school
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models