Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Anspaugh
Produced byRobert N. Fried
Cary Woods
Written byAngelo Pizzo
StarringSean Astin
Jon Favreau
Ned Beatty
Charles S. Dutton
Lili Taylor
Jason Miller
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyOliver Wood
Editing byDavid Rosenbloom
Distributed byTriStar Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 13, 1993 (1993-10-13)
Running time116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$22,750,363

Rudy is a 1993 American sports film directed by David Anspaugh. It is an account of the life of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite significant obstacles. It was the first movie that the Notre Dame administration allowed to be shot on campus since Knute Rockne, All American in 1940.

In 2005, Rudy was named one of the best 25 sports movies of the previous 25 years in two polls by ESPN (#24 by a panel of sports experts, and #4 by users).[1] It was ranked the 54th-most inspiring film of all time in the "AFI 100 Years" series.[2]

The film was released on October 13, 1993, by TriStar Pictures. It stars Sean Astin as the title character, along with Ned Beatty, Jason Miller and Charles S. Dutton. The script was written by Angelo Pizzo, who created Hoosiers (1986). The film was shot in Illinois and Indiana.


Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger grows up in Joliet, Illinois dreaming of playing college football at the University of Notre Dame. Though he is achieving some success with his local high school team (Joliet Catholic), he lacks the grades and money necessary to attend Notre Dame, as well as the talent and physical stature to play football for a major intercollegiate program. Ruettiger takes a job at a local steel mill like his father Daniel Sr., who is also a Notre Dame fan. He prepares to settle down, but when his best friend Pete is killed in an explosion at the mill, Rudy decides to follow his dream of attending Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish. He resolves to do everything he can to get into the football powerhouse.

He leaves for the campus but fails to get admitted to Notre Dame. With the help and sponsorship of a local priest, Rudy starts at Holy Cross College, a nearby small junior college, hoping to get good enough grades to qualify for a transfer. In keeping with his football dream, he goes to the Notre Dame stadium groundskeeper named Fortune and volunteers to work for free. Simultaneously, he sneaks in and out of Fortune's office at night through a window and sleeps on a cot, having no place to live of his own. At first, Fortune is indifferent toward Rudy but gradually sees his sincerity and later provides Rudy with a key of his own to his office. The next day, Rudy thanks Fortune for the key, but Fortune responds that he knows nothing about it, tacitly exhorting Rudy to keep it a secret. Rudy learns that Fortune has never seen a Notre Dame football game, despite having worked at the stadium for years.

At Holy Cross, Rudy befriends D-Bob, a graduate student at Notre Dame and a teaching assistant at Rudy's junior college. The socially-awkward D-Bob offers to tutor Rudy in exchange for help in meeting girls. Suspecting an underlying cause to Ruettiger's previous academic problems, D-Bob has Rudy tested, and Rudy finds out that he has dyslexia. Rudy learns how to overcome his disability and becomes a better student. Meanwhile, Rudy's efforts at setting D-Bob up with attractive girls at Holy Cross prove fruitless, until one girl offers to set D-Bob up with Elsa, a shy and homely co-ed. At Christmas vacation, Rudy returns home to his family's appreciation of his report card but is still mocked for his attempts at playing football and loses his fiancée to one of his brothers.

After numerous rejections, Rudy is finally admitted to Notre Dame during his final semester of transfer eligibility. He rushes home to tell his family, with his father announcing the news to his steel mill workers over the loudspeaker. Rudy goes to the stadium, thanks Fortune for his help, and returns the office key. Rudy persuades Fortune to promise to come see his first game if Rudy dresses. After "walking on" as a non-scholarship player for the football team, Ruettiger convinces coach Ara Parseghian to give him a spot on the practice squad. An assistant coach warns the players that 35 "scholarship" players won't even make the "dress roster" of players who take the field during the games but notices that Ruettiger exhibits more drive than many of his scholarship teammates.

Coach Parseghian agrees to Rudy's request to suit up for one home game in his senior year so his family and friends can see him as a member of the team. However, Parseghian steps down as coach following the 1974 season and is replaced by former NFL coach Dan Devine. Just before Rudy's final year, D-Bob visits and announces he is leaving for law school in Miami with Elsa, now his fiance. Rudy thanks D-Bob for all his help. Coach Devine keeps Rudy on the team, but refuses to list him on the active playing roster before games. When Rudy sees that he is not on the dress list for the team's next-to-last game, he becomes angry and quits the team.

Fortune sees Rudy at the stadium and asks why he is not at practice. Rudy tells him he has quit, and Fortune chastises Rudy for giving up. Rudy learns for the first time that Fortune has seen his share of Notre Dame games because he was once on the team but has never seen a game from the stands. Fortune had quit the team because he felt he was not playing due to his skin color. Fortune reminds Rudy of all he has accomplished, that he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself, and that not a day will go by when he will not regret quitting. With that, Rudy is persuaded to return to the team.

Led by senior team captain and All-American Roland Steele, the other seniors rise to Rudy's defense and lay their jerseys on Devine's desk, each requesting that Rudy be allowed to dress in his place for the final game of the season. In response, Devine lets Ruettiger suit up for the final home game, against Georgia Tech.

At the final home game, Steele invites Ruettiger to lead the team out of the tunnel onto the playing field. Before the team runs out, Rudy sees Fortune (who is at his first Notre Dame game as promised) and smiles. As the game nears its end with Notre Dame up 17-3, Devine sends all the seniors to the field but refuses to let Rudy play, despite the pleas from Steele and the assistant coaches. As a "Rudy!" chant spreads from the Notre Dame bench into the stadium, the offensive team, led by tailback Jamie O'Hare, overrules Devine's call for victory formation and scores another touchdown instead, providing defensive player Ruettiger with one more chance to get into the game and thus be entered onto the official roster of Notre Dame football players. Devine finally lets Rudy enter the field with the defensive team on the final kickoff. He stays in for the final play of the game, sacks the Georgia Tech quarterback, and to cheers from the stadium, is carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders.



Rudy (film)

The soundtrack to Rudy was composed and conducted by veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith had previously worked with filmmakers Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh on their successful 1986 film Hoosiers, garnering the film an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score[3] and thus making Goldsmith their first choice to compose a soundtrack for Rudy.

  1. "Main Title" (3:35)
  2. "A Start" (2:27)
  3. "Waiting" (2:35)
  4. "Back on the Field" (2:07)
  5. "To Notre Dame" (6:55)
  6. "Tryouts" (4:27)
  7. "The Key" (3:55)
  8. "Take Us Out" (1:51)
  9. "The Plaque" (2:36)
  10. "The Final Game" (6:16)

According to, the music from Rudy has been used in 12 trailers, including those for Angels in the Outfield, The Deep End of the Ocean, Good Will Hunting and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.[4]

In 2008, Senator John McCain used "Take Us Out" as an official anthem during his presidential run. The piece of music was played at major events such as after Senator McCain's acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention and after John McCain announced Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate in Dayton, Ohio.

Notes and backgroundEdit

In reality, Coach Devine had announced that Rudy would dress for the Georgia Tech game during practice a few days before. The dramatic scene where his teammates each lay their jerseys on Coach Devine's desk in protest never happened, though according to Ruettiger, Devine was persuaded to allow him to dress only after a number of senior players requested that he do so.[5] Also, Coach Devine had agreed to be depicted as the "heavy" in the film for dramatic effect but was chagrined to find out the extent to which he was vilified,[6] saying: "The jersey scene is unforgivable. It's a lie and untrue."[7] As a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on September 8, 2010, Joe Montana, who was an active member of the team when Ruettiger played in the Georgia Tech game, also confirmed that the jersey scene never happened, stating: “It’s a movie remember. Not all that’s true. The crowd wasn’t chanting, nobody threw in their jerseys. He did get in the game. He got carried off the game."[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Rudy received primarily positive reviews from critics. Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that "It has a freshness and an earnestness that gets us involved, and by the end of the film we accept Rudy's dream as more than simply sports sentiment. It's a small but powerful illustration of the human spirit."[9] Stephen Holden of The New York Times observed that "For all its patness, the movie also has a gritty realism that is not found in many higher-priced versions of the same thing, and its happy ending is not the typical Hollywood leap into fantasy."[10] In The Washington Post, Richard Harrington called Rudy "a sweet-natured family drama in which years of effort are rewarded by a brief moment of glory."[11] Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times called the film "Sweet-natured and unsurprising...this is one of those Never Say Die, I Gotta Be Me, Somebody Up There Likes Me sports movies that no amount of cynicism can make much of a dent in."[12]

American Film Institute recognition:


  1. "ESPN25: The 25 Best Sports Movies". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  2. [1] AFI 100 years... 100 cheers
  3. Hoosiers soundtrack review at
  4. "SoundtrackNet Trailers : Rudy (1993)". Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  5. "Insider". Cold, Hard Football Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  6. "Rudy Ruettiger - Rudy". Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  7. "Ten Questions with Rudy Ruettiger". Sports Hollywood. 1975-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  8. "Joe Montana says the Rudy movie didn’t happen that way…".
  9. Ebert, Roger (1993). "Rudy". The Chicago Sun-Times (October 10, 1993).
  10. Holden, Stephen (1993). "A Walter Mitty Dreams Of Fame On Football Field". The New York Times (October 13, 1993).
  11. Harrington, Richard (1993). "Rudy". The Washington Post (October 13, 1993).
  12. Turan, Kenneth (1993). "A Tribute To The Power Of Stubbornness". The Los Angeles Times (October 13, 1993).
  13. AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees

External linksEdit

Template:David Anspaugh

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