Best Football Movies of All Time – Gridiron Action

NFL-logo-with-football-blueFootball isn’t just a matter of life and death for some people. Oh no — It’s far beyond that! For those diehard fans that eat, sleep, think and breathe football and are totally consumed by it like a zombie between the first kick-off of the season in September all the way to the last minute of the Super Bowl in February, you just can’t get enough action in between game times. You’ll probably get outside for a while with the kids or football buds and toss the pigskin around or even enjoy a little competitive street football action, but then darkness falls and supper is calling you back inside the house. Afterwards it’s time to hit the big screen TV or (in case you didn’t plan ahead), quickly head out to the video store to find just the right movie to fill your need for even more gridiron action.friday_night_lights

If you can’t get out to an actual game at the stadium, the next best thing to watching football on TV is watching a decent football movie on TV. A really good football movie has a way of filling the void and easing the pain of Tuesday and Wednesday nights during football season. Those are considered the ‘dark days’ after “Monday Night Football,” and before “Thursday Night Football.” After all, a good football-actionfootball movie just seems to fit perfectly along side fantasy leagues, football betting pools and tailgate parties so you can remain in pigskin heaven.

So I offer you a pretty decent selection of the best gridiron action that videos have to offer covering a wide range of years and tastes. These are not rated in any manner other than in alphabetical order. So, do a little research here and then get out there and enjoy a couple hours of hard-hitting football action or side-splitting football comedy or ???  Enjoy!


All The Right Moves (1983)

Starring Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson

all-the-right-moves-dvdIn this absorbing drama, Tom Cruise stars as a young cornerback prospect who dreams of being an engineer. Despite his love for pretty Lea Thompson and the respect with which he treats his millworker father, Cruise is desperate to get out of his decaying hometown, and knows that a football scholarship is his only ticket. Complications arise when he runs afoul of the team’s coach, Craig T. Nelson, in a well-played turn, and must face his own pride. All the Right Moves is a thoughtful and involving story of holding on to a dream in the bleakest of surroundings.


Angels In The End Zone (1997)

Starring Christopher Lloyd, Paul Dooley, Matthew Lawrence, David Gallagher

Angels_in_the_EndzoneJesse Harper is the only talented player on his high school football team, but he quits the team after his father dies in an accident. His younger brother Kevin, who realizes that football is the most important thing in Jesse’s life, sends a nighttime prayer which is heard by some sports-loving angels who come to the rescue. Now, with the help of the angels, the team wins all the matches, but how can Kevin make people, and especially Jesse, believe in their existence?


Any Given Sunday (1999)

Starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx

AnyGivenSundayGridiron drama from director Oliver Stone looks at the on- and off-the-field struggles of the Miami Sharks, a once-mighty team struggling to get a playoff berth. Veteran quarterback Dennis Quaid finds his spot threatened by flashy backup Jamie Foxx, while fiery coach Al Pacino’s style is at odds with assistant Aaron Eckhart’s tactics. Cameron Diaz, LL Cool J, Lauren Holly, James Woods, Ann-Margret, and Charlton Heston also star.


The Best of Times (1986)

Starring Robin Williams, Kurt Russell, Pamela Reed

best-of-times-dvdSmall-town banker Robin Williams has never been able to live down the fact that he dropped an important pass during a crucial high-school football game. Likewise tainted for life is the team’s star quarterback Kurt Russell, now a garage owner. Fed up with living his life under a cloud, Williams hits upon a brilliant idea… he will stage a rematch-13 years after the fact — with the members of the rival team. Trouble beckons when Williams’ father-in-law announces that he’s rooting for the opposition. Williams is determined to win, and in pursuit of that goal he pushes his former teammates to hitherto untapped brilliance


Brian’s Song (1971)

Starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden

Brians-Song-dvdA classic made-for-TV favorite… Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears as a running back and meets the competitive Brian Piccolo. While at first the two are rivals, they soon form a strong friendship. Things take a turn for the worse when Sayers is injured and when Piccolo begins to suffer from cancer. A poignant and well-acted movie originally made for television. Legendary actors James Caan and Billy Dee Williams give amazing performances inspired by real-life athletes in Brian’s Song. When cancer strikes an unlikely friendship, a bond is formed that surpasses football, race, and adversity. This unforgettable classic makes a positive impact on almost everyone who watches it.


Everybody’s All-American (1988)

Starring Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton, John Goodman

Everybodys_All-American_dvdThis movie follows the life of campus sweethearts, Gavin Grey and Babs Rogers, as they marry and pursue life as a professional athlete and happily wedded couple. Struggling to raise a family proves especially difficult when Gavin’s career keeps him away from the family, and Babs becomes a lonely wife.


The Express (2008)

Starring Rob Brown, Dennis Quaid, Darrin Dewitt Henson

The-Express-dvdBased on the incredible true story, this biopic focuses on the relationship of Ernie Davis (1939-1963), a gifted African-American athlete, and his coach from 1958 to 1962 at Syracuse University, Ben Schwartzwalder (1909-1993). Schwartzwalder recruits Davis with the help of All-American running back, Jim Brown. The civil rights movement is gaining steam; Davis experiences prejudice on campus, in town, and on the field, sometimes from teammates. How he handles it and how he challenges Schwartzwalder to stand up for his players provide a counterpoint to several great seasons that lead first to a national championship and then to the Heisman Trophy.


Facing The Giants (2006)

Starring Shannen Fields, Bailey Cave, Jason McLeod, James Blackwell, Tracy Goode


In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure. However, an unexpected challenge finds a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field–and off. With God, all things are possible.


Fighting Back (1980)

Starring Robert Urich, Art Carney, Bubba Smith, Bonnie Bedelia, Richard Herd

fighting-back-rocky-bleierFootball jock Rocky Bleier (Urich) makes it all the way to the pros with the Pittsburgh Steelers, only to be drafted in the Vietnam war. Wounded by a hand grenade overseas, Bleier returns to the States told he will never walk again. However, after a lengthy, grueling rehabilitation (and several slow motion sequences to thumping soundtrack music) Bleier ultimately walks again. Soon, he trains with his old team for inspiration. Boss Art Rooney’s (Art Carney) sympathy and regard for Bleier pays off when Bleier improbably comes all the way back, ultimately playing for a Superbowl Championship with the Steelers. But are all the good feelings and inspiration Bleier engenders enough to carry him to an NFL championship?


Friday Night Lights (2004)

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Tim McGraw

friday_night_lights_dvdOdessa, Texas, is a small, town in Texas. Racially divided and economically dying, there is one night that gives the town something to live for – Friday Night. The Permian Panthers have a big winning tradition in Texas high school football, led by QB Mike Winchell and superstar tailback Boobie Miles, but all is not well, as Boobie suffers a career-ending injury in the first game of the season. Hope is lost among citizens in Odessa, and for the team, but Coach Gary Gaines, who believes that “Perfection is being able to look your friends in the eye and know you did everything you could not to let them down”, is somehow able to help the team rise up from the ashes and make a huge season comeback. Now on their way to state, the Panthers must go out and be perfect, because they may never matter this much for the rest of their lives.


The Freshman (1925)

Starring Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston, Brooks Benedict

the-freshman-harold-lloyd-dvdOne of Harold Lloyd’s best feature-length comedies, The Freshman, features the bespectacled regular guy as Harold Lamb, a naïve young man who heads off to college believing campus life will be just as it is in the movies; he even learns a little dance he saw one of his favorite actors do in a film. However, Harold soon discovers that real life isn’t all that much like the pictures, and he quickly becomes the laughing stock of the university. Determined to prove himself, Harold tries out for the football team, but he serves as water boy and rides the pine until he finally gets a chance to redeem himself at the big game.


The Game Plan (2007)

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Madison Pettis, Kyra Sedgwick


In this hilarious and heartwarming family comedy, one of sports’ toughest players ever takes on his biggest challenge yet — fatherhood! A superstar with an ego bigger than a football field, Joe Kingman (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) is getting ready for a run at the big championship game when the 8-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up at his not-so-family-friendly bachelor pad. As the big game gets closer, he begins to realize the most meaningful win he can achieve is the heart of the one little fan who counts the most.


Gridiron Gang (2006)

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell

gridiron-gang-dvdThe uplifting story of detention camp probation officer Sean Porter, who creates a high-school-level football team from a ragtag group of dangerous teenage inmates as a means to teach them self-respect and social responsibility. He is joined in this experiment by co-worker, Malcolm Moore. But Porter must first overcome almost universal resistance from the powers that be — his skeptical bosses and coaches at rival high schools who don’t want their players mixing it up with convicted criminals on the football field.


Gus (1976)

Starring Edward Asner, Don Knotts, Gary Grimes, Tim Conway, Liberty Williams, Harold Gould, Bob Crane, Dick Van Patten, plus a few former NFL stars

gus-dvdWholesome family fun abounds in this Disney comedy about an inept, last-place football team, the California Atoms, which is turned around with the help of their new star player (and former mascot) …a football-kicking mule! The villainous competition then attempts kidnapping of “Gus” leading to slapstick results.


Heaven Can Wait (1978)

Starring Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia

heaven_can_wait_dvdJoe Pendleton is a quarterback preparing to lead his team to the Super Bowl when he is almost killed in an accident. An overanxious angel plucks him to heaven only to discover that he wasn’t ready to die, and that his body has been cremated. A new body must be found, and that of a recently murdered millionaire is chosen. His wife and accountant, the murderers, are confused by this development, as he buys the L.A. Rams in order to once again quarterback them into the Super Bowl.


Hometown Legend (2002)

Starring Terry O’Quinn, Lacey Chabert, Nick Cornish, Mary Pat Gleason

hometown-legend-dvdHometown Legend tells the story of a small Alabama town where football and faith come together. The downtrodden town has seen better days, and the community’s high school is scheduled to close at the end of the year. In honor of the school’s final year, the legendary coach of the once intimidating football program returns to give the kids another shot at glory. The no-nonsense coach (Terry O’Quinn) not only brings pride back to the team, but gives the town as a whole a glimmer of hope. The same tactics used in football–sacrificing individual goals and rather working for the sake of the team–becomes a metaphor for what the town needs to get back on its feet.


Horse Feathers (1932)

Starring the 4 Marx Brothers, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo, Thelma Todd, David Landau

horse-feathers-dvdThe Marx Brothers parody college life in this gag-filled, fast-paced comedy. The fast-talking new president of Huxley College needs to scrounge up some top-flight ringers for his football team, but ends up with a bootlegger and a mute dog catcher instead. It all leads up to an anarchic football finale! More laughs than most comedies (and smart laughs, at that), this script, co-scripted by satirist SJ Perelman, is humor at its most clever.


Invincible (2006)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks

Invincible-dvdIn the summer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He’s been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he’ll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Amazingly, against all odds, Papale made the team and soon found himself living every fan’s fantasy — moving from his cheap seats in the upper deck to standing on the field as a professional football player. Based on a true story.


Jerry Maguire (1996)

Starring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jerry O’Connell

jerry-maguire-dvdJerry Maguire used to be a typical sports agent: willing to do just about anything he could to get the biggest possible contracts for his clients, plus a nice commission for himself. Then, one day, he suddenly has second thoughts about what he’s really doing. When he voices these doubts, he ends up losing his job and all of his clients, save Rod Tidwell, an egomaniacal football player. Can Jerry resurrect his career while still staying true to himself?

“Show me the money” “You complete me” “You had me at hello” So many lines from this film have made it into our pop jargon and catchphrases of the 90’s.


Jim Thorpe All-American (1951)

Starring Burt Lancaster, Charles Bickford, Steve Cochran, Phyllis Thaxter, Dick Wesson

Jim-Thorpe-Alll-American-dvdThe true story of Native American Jim Thorpe, who rose from an Oklahoma reservation to become a collegiate, Olympic, and professional star. Many consider him the greatest athlete of the 20th Century. After his medals are stripped on a technicality and his dream of coaching is shattered, Thorpe’s life begins to unravel as things go from bad to worse… His son dies, his marriage to his college sweetheart disintegrates, and he crawls into a bottle. Thorpe has hit rock bottom when he is reunited with his old coach Bickford, who offers Jim a ticket to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. It is the first small step on the road to regeneration for Jim Thorpe.


Johnny Be Good (1988)

Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Uma Thurman, Steve James

Johnny_Be_Good_dvdIt’s recruiting time and despite being short and scrawny, Johnny Walker is America’s hottest young football prospect. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local state college with his girlfriend and give up his football career?


The Junction Boys (2002)

Starring Tom Berenger, Fletcher Humphrys, Ryan Kwanten

The-Junction-Boys-dvdTom Berenger stars in this ESPN movie as Paul “Bear” Bryant, the legendary Texas A&M football coach. Hired in 1954 to turn around the university’s struggling football team, Bryant subjected the 100 hopefuls who showed up for training camp to a grueling regimen in the Texas heat. An intense physical test that not many believe they’ll survive, players are soon dropping left and right. However, through this test Bryant determines which players have the drive to win, and by the end of summer he has put together a close-knit team of 35 football players who believe they can conquer anything.


Knute Rockne All American (1940)

Starring Pat O’Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, Donald Crisp

Knute-Rockne-All-American-dvdLife story of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, following him from his Norwegian immigrant beginnings through his playing days at Notre Dame and on to his glory days as head coach at his alma mater. Pat O’Brien, starring as legendary coach Knute Rockne, revolutionizes college football with strategies that establish Notre Dame’s team as a powerhouse in this classic sports biopic. But beyond leading the team to victory, Rockne considers it his responsibility to mold the players into honorable adults. Ronald Reagan co-stars as George Gipp, and utters one of his most famous quotes when he makes a deathbed request to “win just one for the Gipper.”


Leatherheads (2008)

Starring John Krasinski, David de Vries, Rick Forrester, George Clooney, Renee Zellweger

Leatherheads-dvdOscar® winners George Clooney and Renée Zellweger match wits in Leatherheads, a quick-witted romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America’s nascent pro-football league in 1925. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, a charming, brash football hero who is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country’s attention. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski), America’s favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field. This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton (Zellweger) aims to prove that’s the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter’s war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections.


Little Giants (1994)

Starring Rick Moranis, Ed O’Neill, Shawna Waldron

Little-Giants-dvdA successful retired jock and his geeky younger brother play out their sibling rivalry by coaching rival little league football teams in this family comedy. Ed O’Neill plays the older brother, Kevin O’Shea, a former Heisman Trophy winner whose gridiron exploits have made him a local hero in his small Illinois hometown. Kevin is the almost unanimous choice to head up the town’s Pop Warner football team, and he happily builds an imposing team from the best local players. One of the few objectors is Kevin’s young brother Danny (Rick Moranis), an awkward, bespectacled gas station owner who empathizes with the kids rejected from the team, including his own athletic daughter Becky (Shawna Waldron). As revenge, Danny starts his own competing team of misfits, taking on the coaching duties himself. Naturally, despite the total ineptitude of Danny and his players, they eventually find themselves major underdogs in a climactic battle against Kevin’s well-trained juggernaut.


The Longest Yard (1974)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, Bernadette Peters

the-longest-yard-1974-dvdIn this rough-and tumble movie, actually filmed on-location at the Georgia State Prison, the cons are the heroes and the guards are the heavies. Eddie Albert is the sadistic Warden Hazen who’ll gladly make any sacrifice to push his guards’ semi-pro football team to the national championship. Burt Reynolds plays one-time pro quarterback-turned-convict, Paul Crewe. Strong-armed into forming an inmate football team, Crewe manages to instill an esprit de corps previously lacking in the prisoners’ lives. They now have the chance to go head-to-head with the guards’ football team, headed by the much-despised Capt. Knauer (Ed Lauter). The warden intercedes and orders Crewe to throw the match (if he expects to get that pardon he’s been promised) to assure that his goon squad will meet only passive resistance from Crewe’s “Mean Machine.” But the license to pound on their hated guards is a big incentive for murderers and thieves to learn strategy. The suspenseful big game that follows consumes nearly a third of the picture.


The Longest Yard (2005)

Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Michael Irvin, Nelly

the-longest-yard-2005-dvdWhen former NFL player Paul Crewe is sent to prison, the warden forces him to transform a diverse group of inmates into a football team. Unlikely teammates, the convicts unite when they find out who they are playing: the guards. With the help of fellow inmates Nate Scarborough and Caretaker, Crewe promises the cons a chance to exact revenge in a bone-crushing showdown where anything goes.


Lucas (1986)

Starring Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Winona Ryder, Jeremy Piven

Lucas-dvdThis refreshing movie captures the gritty, painful, often pathetic social side of adolescense and the high school scene, when belonging to the in-crowd carries more weight than anything else in the world. It follows a young and nerdy, 14 year old Lucas in his uphill pursuit of success on the football field and even more desperate plight for the respect of his peers and teammates. When even the love of his life looks beyond him, Lucas teaches everyone about the real meaning of character. Several young stars of the day are featured in this film, some going on to bigger roles while others bottomed out due to substance abuse.


Necessary Roughness (1991)

Starring Scott Bakula, Hector Elizondo, Robert Loggia, Kathy Ireland, Rob Schneider, Jason Bateman, Sinbad

necessary-roughness-dvdDue to NCAA sanctions after a recruitment scandal, a struggling college football team is forced to turn to a rag-tag group of misfits in this sports comedy. It seems that Texas State University’s football team has relied on some rather unorthodox — and illegal — methods to gain players, resulting in the disqualification of most of the team’s stars. The desperate coach must rely on the school’s actual students (with no scholarships to assist them), a motley crew of unlikely characters that includes a female place kicker and a 34 year old quarterback. Unexpectedly, however, the coach discovers that the passer still has a heck of an arm, and suddenly the team again has a chance as they seek to advance, taking aim at the top seeded Texas Colts. How far will they get?


North Dallas Forty (1979)

Starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman

North-Dallas-Forty-dvdA funny and insightful peek into the world of professional football, adapted from Peter Gent’s novel. Phillip Elliott is an aging wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls who still delivers on the field… despite the many past injuries that keep him in almost constant pain. Almost as painful for him is the constant abuse heaped on the players by management. Now Phillip’s determined to do something about it. The corporate bigwigs, however, are growing increasingly annoyed by Elliott’s complaining. Will the athlete cave in to the pressure and keep his mouth shut or fight the executives at the risk of ending his career?.


Number One (1969)

Starring Charlton Heston, Jessica Walter, Bruce Dern, John Randolph, Diana Muldaur

Ron Catlin (Heston) is a pro-football player who realizes his playing skills have eroded. His actions on the field have slowed to the point where retirement looms. His wife Julie (Walter) has her own fashion-designing business and his former teammate Richie (Dern) has parlayed his football heroics into a successful auto-leasing company. As “The Cat” loses his legendary quickness, he finds himself ill-suited to join the real world after his pampered isolation in the NFL. He takes to the bottle and to the lure of an illicit affair with Ann (Muldaur). John Randolph plays a realistic coach who can’t rely on this fading player’s past heroics to win the next big game. Trumpeter Al Hirt and members of the New Orleans Saints appear as themselves.


Paper Lion (1968)

Starring Alan Alda, Lauren Hutton, Joe Schmidt, Alex Karras, David Doyle

paper-lion-dvdGeorge Plimpton wants to write a story for Sports Illustrated on what it is like to be a quarterback for an NFL team. No one is willing to allow a klutzy amateur to go on the field for fear he’ll kill himself. After several teams turn him down, Plimpton got the Detroit Lions to let him go to training camp. He tries to keep his true identity a secret from the real players. This is based on a true incident and many of the football players play themselves in the movie.


The Program (1993)

Starring James Caan, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Craig Sheffer, Kristy Swanson

The-Program-dvdEastern State University isn’t particularly notable for anything except its football program. Lately, even that hasn’t been doing too well, and the athletic staff led by Coach Winters are under considerable pressure by the administration and alumni to bring in a winning season. To do that, he has to recruit some able, promising young players out of high school. It’s not too surprising to learn that he will do almost anything to get these kids, and its even less surprising that, as long as they keep producing on the field, he and the college will overlook almost any obnoxious behavior the boys can perpetrate to the limit of their ability.


Radio (2003)

Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger

Radio-dvdFor anyone who ever had a dream and everyone with the courage to stand up for what they believe, comes the real life story of Robert ‘Radio’ Kennedy. Experience Radio’s journey from a man no one understands to the coach no one could live without. Together with Head Coach Harold Jones, Radio inspired a football team to become champions and a town to open their hearts. Heroic performances from Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Academy Award Nominee Ed Harris will have you laughing, crying and cheering for the man who proved, the world’s greatest victories happen in real life.


Reggie’s Prayer (1996)

Starring Reggie White, Pat Morita, Rosie Grier, Paul “The Giant” Wight, Brett Favre, Gale Sayers, Keith Jackson, Mike Holmgren, MC Hammer

reggies-prayer-dvdLate NFL hero Reggie White stars in this uplifting film as Reggie Knox, a football star moved by a community tragedy to retire and help kids. Under the guidance of an inner-city principal (Pat Morita), Knox takes a job as a teacher and coach to at-risk students. But a gang leader (Paul “The Giant” Wight) is ready to do whatever it takes to retain his control of the neighborhood. Brett Favre, M.C. Hammer and other stars make cameo appearances.


Remember The Titans (2000)

Starring Denzel Washington, Hayden Panettiere, Kip Pardue, Ryan Gosling, Donald Faison

remember-the-titans-dvdBased on the true story of the explosive events that took place in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971 when African-American football coach Herman Boone was hired to guide an integrated but racially polarized high school team, the TC Williams Titans. Angry, stubborn and a rigid taskmaster, Boone faces a cool reception from the team’s players as well as an awkward relationship with assistant coach Bill Yost, a local white man with seniority and a tradition of winning who was bypassed for the job. It’s made clear that Bill has feelings of animosity for having to be an assistant under a black man. As the two men learn to overcome their ignorance and bigotry and realize that they have much in common… integrity, honor, and a strong work ethic… they work together to transform a group of angry, unfocused players into a dynamic winning team of responsible young men. In the process, they also unite a divided community and ensure that Virginia will always “Remember the Titans.” — An excellent depiction of a stunning story.


The Replacements (2000)

Starring Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau

The-Replacements-dvdInspired by the National Football League strike of 1987, the story follows a team of scab players as they fill in for the real pros. Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman), a compassionate and dedicated coach, is rehired by the owner of the Washington Sentinels to pull together a new crew in order to finish off the season and keep the stadium filled. This includes a safety who is on work release, a lightning-quick wide receiver with bricks for hands, a deranged linebacker-SWAT team member, a chain-smoking Welsh kicker, and Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), a former college quarterback who lost his chance at the big time after a disastrous Sugar Bowl appearance. The newly formed squad must learn to set aside its differences if it is to win three out of four games and make it to the playoffs. Along the way, Falco finds himself harassed by the Sentinels’ star quarterback, Eddie Martel, as well as falling in love with the team’s head cheerleader, Annabelle (Brooke Langton). A final showdown against the strike-breaking reigning champions gives McGinty and Falco one last chance at redemption.


Rudy (1993)

Starring Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton

Rudy-dvdRudy grew up in a steel mill town where most people ended up working, but he had other plans instead. This is a stirring, true-life tale of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a teenager from a working-class family with the impossible dream of playing football for his beloved Notre Dame. Unfortunately, there were a couple of minor problems. His grades were a little low, his athletic skills were poor, and he was about half the size of the other players. Still, he had the drive, motivation and spirit to go through great lengths to gain admission to the school and make the team. Rudy is relegated to benchwarmer status before he wins the respect of his teammates and coach Ara Parseghian.


School Ties (1992)

Starring Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Affleck, Amy Locane

School-Ties-dvdDavid Greene (Brendan Fraser), a working-class Jewish teen, receives a football scholarship to a prestigious prep school in the 1950s. Aware that this opportunity will allow him a better life, he hides his religion from his wealthy, prejudiced classmates. Greene becomes the star player and wins the attention of a beautiful debutante (Amy Locane), but when his heritage is revealed, the deep-seated hatred of his schoolmates rises to the surface.


Semi-Tough (1978)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh, Brian Dennehy

semi-tough-dvdBurt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson star as two pro-football pals who both fall for the team-owner’s very rich daughter. Kind of goofy, kind of funny, and somewhat endearing–those are the qualities that surface in this light-hearted comedy built upon an extremely predictable scenario.


Varsity Blues (1999)

Starring James Van Der Beek, Amy Smart, Jon Voight

Varsity_Blues_dvdIn his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. Uncompromising and omnipotent, Kilmer is deified in the small Texas town as long as the team is winning. But when star quarterback Lance Harbor suffers a season-ending injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of second-string quarterback Jonathan Moxon. His irreverent attitude and approach to football come into direct conflict with the coach’s inflexible game plan.


The Waterboy (1998)

Starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Henry Winkler, Jerry Reed

The-WaterBoy-dvdBobby Boucher, a socially inept 31-year-old from the swamps of Louisiana, is home schooled and sheltered by his over-protective Mama. His only contact with society is his “water boy” job for a college team where the players relentlessly make fun of him, and his coach doesn’t let him fight back. This all changes when Bobby gets a new coach who lets him stand up for himself. Bobby finally releases years of pent-up rage and is transformed into the most devastating tackler on the team. Now Bobby has to learn how to play football and go to college, all behind his Mama’s back. Let’s just hope Mama doesn’t find out!


We Are Marshall (2006)

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, David Strathairn, Ian McShane

we-are-marshall-dvd2A true story, based on devastating events, set in Huntington, West Virginia, about a small town steeped in the rich tradition of college football. For decades, players, coaches, fans and families have come together to cheer on Marshall University’s “Thundering Herd.” For this team and this community, Marshall football is more than just a sport, it’s a way of life. But on a fateful night in 1970, while traveling back to Huntington after a game in North Carolina, 75 members of Marshall’s football team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash. As those left behind struggled to cope with the devastating loss of their loved ones, the grieving families found hope and strength in the leadership of Jack Lengyel, a young coach who was determined to rebuild Marshall’s football program and in the process helped to heal a community.


Wildcats (1986)

Starring Goldie Hawn, James Keach, Swoosie Kurtz, Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson

wildcats-dvdGoldie Hawn plays a physical education teacher who gets a chance to coach an inner-city high school football team. If that sounds contrived, it is, but in the hands of director Michael Ritchie (Smile), the jokes all fire, and there’s plenty of comedy teased out in details. (The cheerleading squad has some funny moments just belting out their morale-boosting chants.) The supporting cast has a couple of significant up-and-comers: Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.


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Best Baseball Movies Of All Time – “A Tribute To The Boys Of Summer”

With the start of summer within sight and the temperatures warming up, it only seems fitting to reflect on one of my favorite summertime interests…from way back in childhood memories to the present day…America, Baseball & Apple Pie…just seems to all go together. It seems like the one constant in life through all the years has been baseball, America’s National Pastime. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. And through all this, baseball has stood the test of time. This field – This game – It’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again. When James Earl Jones delivers these lines as writer Terence Mann near the end of Field of Dreams, it solidifies the fact that baseball is woven into the very fabric of our national consciousness. Simply put, baseball is baseball_memorabilia_collageAmerica (and vice versa). Keeping this in mind I’ve tried to put together a list of my favorite films about this wonderful game called baseball. This is by no means complete but instead a very comprehensive list. Originally it was going to be a ‘Top 10’ list but I had a hard time narrowing it down so I decided to do a ‘recommended must-see list’ instead. I started this compilation by thinking about not only films that featured “baseball” but also about movies that treated baseball as a ‘character’. It wasn’t long that I realized that those that fell into the later category were the ones I generally liked best and ultimately shifted my focus towards them. So, without further ado, the must-see films are as follows (not necessarily in any particular order but the first half dozen or so are definitely the ones that came to mind first).


bulll_durhamBull Durham (1988)

starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins

Minor League team Durham Bulls, Class A, has spent a lot of money to acquire rookie phenom pitcher “Nuke” LaLoosh. Crash Davis, a 12-year veteran catcher, has been assigned to Durham in hopes that he can mature the rookie pitcher who tends to get wild at times. When a beautiful and enigmatic groupie shows an interest in both players, Crash’s assignment gets interesting.


field of dreams

Field Of Dreams (1989)

starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta

Struggling Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella obeys a voice telling him to replace part of his cornfield with a baseball field. Soon thereafter Ray experiences the appearance of Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other 1919 Chicago White Sox players. Ray continues to hear voices which leads him to a reclusive author to help him interpret the meaning of the messages and the field.


the_naturalThe Natural (1984)

starring Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger

Roy Hobbs, a mysterious middle-aged ballplayer with an unknown past appears to play on a last place ball club, the Knights. When Hobbs begins to dominate and take the Knights into first place he must face the demons of his past. Can Hobbs continue his dominance while dealing with past and present off-field problems?


Bang the drum

Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)

starring Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty

Teams come together on the field in the spirit of competition; however, teams form a brotherhood when they come together in the spirit of friendship. When a New York baseball team’s catcher discovers he has a terminal illness, it’s the strength of his team of friends that make his last year as a baseball player one to remember.


pride-of-the-yankeesThe Pride Of The Yankees (1942)

starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan

Follow the life of Lou Gehrig, famous NY Yankee first baseman who was nicknamed “The Iron Horse” for playing in 2,130 consecutive games. Gehrig eventually falls to a deadly nerve disease (ALS), which has since been name after him. This classic takes you from Gehrig’s childhood in New York, through his playing days, to his famous ‘Luckiest Man Alive’ farewell speech in 1939.


Major League (1989)

starring Tom Berrenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin BernsenMajorLeague

She’s beautiful, smart, goal-oriented, and she just inherited the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, she wants to move the franchise to Miami, and a losing season is her only ticket to Florida. So she signs the wildest gang of screwballs that ever spit tobacco. They’re handsome but hopeless! Her catcher (Tom Berenger) is a washed-up womanizer who struck out in life. Her ace pitcher (Charlie Sheen) is a punked-out crazy who struck out with the law. And her third baseman (L.A. Law’s Corbin Bernsen) is more concerned about fielding endorsements than grounders. Throw in a busload of other misfits and you’ve hot yourself a hilarious line-up that’s destined for disaster.


Bad News BearsThe Bad News Bears (1976)

starring Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow

Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), a drunken ex-ballplayer, is forced to coach a local little league team of misfits. Buttermaker is more interested in beer and babes until he grows tired of seeing the team lose. In an effort to change things around, Buttermaker begins to teach the kids how to play and recruits 2 new ballplayers. Still a crazy bunch, the team begins to make drastic improvements and now has a shot at the title.


The Stratton Story (1949)

starring Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Morganstrattonstory

Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton is an affable long drink of water with an easy, whip-like delivery and a pitch so unhittable the young phenom racks up consecutive 15-win seasons. But Stratton’s greatest victory doesn’t come on the manicured green diamonds of our national pastime. James Stewart portrays Stratton, who loses a leg in an accident just as his career is on the rise…and whose triumph over despair and disability leads him to pitch again. Stewart signed on for the role when he realized the film would be an inspiration to injured World War II GIs. The film still inspires. Awarded an Oscar?* for Best Motion Picture Story, directed by Sam Wood (The Pride of the Yankees) and supported by a top cast that includes real-life ballplayers, The Stratton Story is sports biography at its best.


league_of_their_ownA League Of Their Own (1992)

starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Jon Lovitz

Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) has been hired to coach in the All-American Girls Baseball League of 1943 while the male pros are at war. Dugan, now a drunk has-been, unexpectedly discovers these girls can play ball! Now Dugan must manage the Rockford Peaches as they try to swing their way to a World Series title. This film is based on a true story.


Eight Men Out (1988)8menoutdvd

starring John Cusack, D.B. Sweeney, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen

It’s 1919 and the Chicago White Sox are considered a lock to win the World Series. White Sox owner, Charles Comiskey, is a penny-pinching, over-involved manager who underpays his players. A group of hustlers and gamblers look to take advantage of this opportunity by offering select White Sox players extra cash for throwing the World Series. When the White Sox are defeated, a few sports writers suspect a fix, bringing scandal to America’s favorite pastime.


the_rookieThe Rookie (2002)

starring Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Angus T Jones

Jim Morris once dreamed of becoming a big leaguer. But an injury to his pitching arm while playing in the minors forced Morris out of the game. Twelve years have passed and Morris, now coaching a last place high school baseball team. Seeing that Morris still has some juice left in his arm, his team makes a deal that forces Morris to try out for a Major League team. After throwing a 98mph fastball, the aging Morris is signed to a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays giving him a second shot at “the Show”.



The Sandlot (1993)

starring Brandon Quintin Adams, Karen Allen, James Earl Jones

Scotty Smalls is new to the neighborhood, but his lack of baseball talent is making it hard for Smalls to fit in. When Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez recruits Smalls to play with his neighborhood gang at a nearby sandlot, a whole new summer experience awaits.


love-of-gameFor Love Of The Game (1999)

starring Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston

Detroit Tiger legend Billy Chapel is pitching what may be the final game of his career. Chapel, facing the Yankees, begins to flashback to the last 4 years spent with the women he loves, Jane Aubrey, who earlier that day told him it was over and she was taking a job in London. As the game unfolds Chapel realizes how much Jane meant to him … and that he’s got a perfect game going! Now Chapel wonders if he can win her back and if his aging arm can complete the perfect game.


61* (2001)61

starring Barry Pepper, Thomas Jane

It was the summer of 1961. New York Yankees Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both took on Babe Ruth’s sacred record of 60 home runs in one season. Two opposites fighting for the same goal. Yankees goldenboy vs. a hard hitting Midwesterner. For baseball lovers this would be an unforgettable moment in time.


cobbCobb (1994)

starring Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Wuhl

Tyrus Raymond Cobb played baseball like a man charging a machine-gun nest. He gave no quarter, took no prisoners. And when his Hall of Fame career was over, Ty Cobb attacked life the same way. Tommy Lee Jones portrays the legendary – and equally cheered and detested – Georgia Peach in this acclaimed film from writer/director Ron Shelton (Bull Durham, Dark Blue), also starring Robert Wuhl and Lolita Davidovich. From its recapturing of the outfielder’s playing days (Roger Clemens portrays a rival pitcher) to its recreation of a 1961 Hall of Fame banquet, Cobb is a movie grand slam.



Soul Of The Game (1996)

starring Delroy Lindo, Edward Herrmann, Blair Underwood

In 1945, the world of baseball was divided between the Majors and the Negro Leagues – but the time has come for change. Will Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson or Jackie Robinson be the first to take the field in the Majors?


fever_pitchFever Pitch (2005)

starring Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon

High school teacher and Boston Red Sox fan Ben Wrightman meets successful businesswomen Lindsey Meeks and they immediately hit it off. Despite being from very different worlds, their relationship seems to be perfect … until Opening Day! Now Lindsay is introduced to another love in Ben’s life, his obsession with the Red Sox.



The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

starring Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor

Period road comedy about baseball players abandoning Negro League for lively traveling road show. Its sharp satire, energetic performances has made it a cult classic amongst African-American cinema fans, and baseball-lovers.


the_babeThe Babe (1992)

starring John Goodman, Kelly McGillis

John Goodman stars as Babe Ruth in this biopic of the NY Yankee legend. Follow Ruth as he’s abandoned by his father at an orphanage, through his legendary baseball career yet struggling personal life and finally to his retirement from the game. Relive Babe’s unforgettable memories and dynamite swing.


Hardball (2001)hardball

starring Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane

Connor O’Neill, a compulsive gambler, has reluctantly agreed to coach a Little League team from a housing project in Chicago in exchange for cash to payback his gambling debt. Surprisingly, O’ Neill gains a new outlook on life once he gets to know his inner-city ballplayers and realize what’s really important in life.


mr_3000Mr. 3000 (2004)

starring Bernic Mac, Angela Bassett

It’s been nine years since Milwaukee Brewer Stan Ross (Bernie Mac) hit his 3,000th career hit and then suddenly retired. Ross, a now successful entrepreneur, learns that 3 of his hits were counted twice giving him just 2,997. Ross must now come out of retirement and fight old age, the media, disgruntled teammates and his own ego to capture those 3 remaining hits.


Pastime (1991)pastime

starring William Russ, Glenn Plummer

It’s 1957 and Roy Dean Bream is a minor league has-been who’s love for the game is the only thing that keeps him playing. When the team signs black rookie pitcher Tyrone Debray, Bream sees that Debray may have the talent to do things he only dreamed of. This unlikely friendship tears down all racial barriers and inspires both ballplayers to become more than they imagined.


mickeyMickey (2004)

starring Harry Connick Jr., Shawn Salinas

Attorney Tripp Spence, recently-widowed and father to talented 13-year old pitcher Derrick, finds himself wanted by the IRS for tax evasion. Hoping to run from trouble they flee to Las Vegas and assume new identities. Derrick become 12-year old ‘Mickey’ and Tripp signs him up for a second final year of Little League. However, when ‘Mickey’ leads his team to the Little League World Series he begins to receive national attention. Now fugitive Tripp must try to stay under the radar while his son is pitching on ESPN.


The Benchwarmers (2006)benchwarmers

starring David Spade, Rob Schneider, Jon Heder

Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder star in this comedy about three guys (Schneider, Spade, Heder) who, all their lives, have been living in the shadow of bullies and are determined not to take it anymore. Now they must train with the help of Mel (Jon Lovitz) to take on the most offensive and meanest Little League teams. Also starring Craig Kilborn, Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson, and Molly Sims.


summercatchSummer Catch (2001)

starring Freddie Prinze Jr, Jessica Biel, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy

Local pitcher Ryan Dunne will spend the summer in the Cap Cod League, along with hundreds of other top young prospects fresh out of college. Dunne has been blessed with a great arm but must battle the death of his mother, player rivalries, pressure from the local fans and the pursuit of a beautiful young rich girl. Dunne will need to learn how to push all these distractions aside to focus on his game. His aspirations of becoming a major league ball player depend upon it.



Hustle (2004)

starring Tom Sizemore

An ESPN Original Movie about the true story of hit king Pete Rose and the allegations brought against him about betting on baseball. Nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” for his play on the field, Rose took that same aggressive reputation off the field which ultimately led to lifetime banishment from the game he loved.


littlebigleagueLittle Big League (1994)

starring Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfield, John Ashton, Ashley Crow

When 12 year-old Billy Heywood inherits the Minnesota Twins from his grandfather, his first order of business is naming himself as the manager! Now this baseball genius is put to the test. How does this know-it-all kid going to deal with batting slumps, pampered egos and labor disputes? Manager Billy will attempt to turn these players into a team and remind them how to love the game again. This is a movie your whole family can enjoy.


Talent For The Game (1991)

starring Edward James Olmos, Lorraine Bracco, Jeff Corbetttalent_for_the_game

California Angels scout Virgil Sweet will lose his job if he doesn’t produce a phenom soon. When his car breaks down on an old country road it proves to be a blessing in disguise as Virgil discovers hard-throwing Sammy Bodeen. Despite having no pro ball experience, Virgil is able to convince the fireballer to sign with the Angels. Wanting to make a quick buck, Angels ownership launches a massive marketing campaign promoting the newcomer. Sammy, a good ole’ country boy, just wants to play ball and now Virgil is caught in the middle of the fiasco.


long-goneLong Gone (1987)

starring William Peterson, Virginia Madsen, Dermot Mulroney

A television movie set in the 1950s, about a minor-league baseball team, led by Cecil “Stud” Cantrell. Cantrell is the player-manager of the Tampico Stogies, a third-rate team comprised of has-beens and no-talents. However, a series of events changes his luck, and the team finally becomes pennant-winning material.


Mr. Baseball (1992)mr_baseball

starring Tom Selleck

When has-been baseball player Jack Elliot (Selleck) is signed by a Japanese team, he is initially reluctant to take the game seriously. Elliot is very successful, though, as he teaches the team about American chutzpah, and they remind him of the value of respect. He must fight his way out from under a slump to show that he deserves the title.


rookie_of_the_yearRookie Of The Year (1993)

starring Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Albert Hall

Little Leaguer Henry Rowengartner is a huge Chicago Cubs fan but not much of a ballplayer. His lack of ability and clumsiness lead to a broken throwing arm. However, soon after his cast is removed, Henry attends a Cubs game where he and the entire stadium discover that his newly healed arm is throwing 100 mph! The last-place Cubs sign Henry and now he is their new star. But can Henry and his arm handle all of the pressure of being a professional ballplayer and leading the Cubs out of the cellar?


The Fan (1996)

starring Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkinthe_fan

Bobby Rayburn has just signed a $40 million contract with the San Francisco Giants and his biggest fan, Gil Renard, is thrilled that Rayburn will be playing in his hometown. When Renard, a knife salesman, loses visitation rights to his son and then his job he becomes obsessed with following the Giants and Rayburn. Rayburn falls into a slump Renard is there to “help” him out. However, Rayburn doesn’t respond the way Renard expects. Renard turns psychotic on Rayburn by kidnapping his son with an ultimatum…hit a home run or else!


American_PastimeAmerican Pastime (2007)

starring Gary Cole, Aaron Yoo, Leonardo Nam, Sarah Drew

Illustrating the healing power of baseball and being part of a team with a common cause, American Pastime follows Japanese-American families during the 1940s. The struggle of living in internment camps only served to make them question themselves as much as some others were questioning them. Baseball gave an outlet for their frustration and a sense of fulfillment they weren’t able to find elsewhere at the time.


Angels In The Outfield (1951)

starring Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynnangels_in_the_outfield_1951

A young woman reporter blames the Pittsburgh Pirates’ losing streak on the obscenely abusive manager. While she attempts to learn more about him for her column, he begins hearing the voice of an angel promising him help for the team if he will mend his ways. As he does so, an orphan girl who is a Pirates fan and has been praying for the team begins noticing angels on the ballfield. Sure enough, the Pirates start winning, and McGovern tries to turn his life around. But can he keep his temper long enough for the Pirates to win the NL pennant?


Angels_in_the_outfield2Angels In The Outfield (1994)

starring Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza

Starring Danny Glover, Tony Danza and Christoper Lloyd. Danny Glover plays the frustrated coach of the California Angels, a struggling team of major-league misfits who don’t have a prayer of winning the pennant-until an 11-year-old fan makes …    Full Descriptiona pitch to the umpire in the sky. With it’s dazzling special effects and heartwarming story, Disney’s magical feel-good movie will make a believer out of you.


Angels In The Infield (2000)

starring Brittney Irvin, David Alan Grierangels_in_the_infield

The Anaheim Angels Eddie “Steady” Everett’s career has begun to tank and now he is forced to be a father to his 10-year old daughter, something he was never good at. An error that Eddie made years ago in the American League pennant still haunts him which led to the demise of his confidence and his family. Hoping to restore both Dad’s confidence and their family, daughter Laurel prays that God would help Eddie pitch the way he used to. The real curveball comes when a team of second-string angels are sent to answer the prayer.


Brewsters MillionsBrewster’s Millions (1985)

starring Richard Pryor, John Candy

Richard Pryor is Montgomery Brewster, a minor league baseball pitcher who discovers he has to blow $30 million on 30 days as a condition to inherit a much greater fortune. And the catch? He will forfeit everything if he reveals to a soul the real reason he seems to be throwing away all that cash. With the help of his pal Spike (John Candy), they set off on a frantic spending spree.


The Bronx Is Burning (2007)bronx_is_burning

starring Max Casella, Loren Dean, Charles S. Dutton

In 1977, Major league Baseball has officially inaugurated the free agent market. Reggie Jackson signed a contract with the Yankees and soon brings controversy to the club, causing his fellow teammates especially, Thurman Munson to not like him. Plus, manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner have private arguments about Jackson and the team. Meanwhile, other things are happening in New York as a killer calling himself as “The Son Of Sam,” and the infamous blackout.


That was an exhaustive list to say the least. I realize also that it’s subjective to one’s own likes and personality, however there should be enough variety here to please all ages and tastes .

I welcome your input as well as suggestions of what may have been some of your favorites that I left out. Please feel free to comment.

What are your favorite baseball movies?


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