Rudy [1993]

This 1993 film by David Anspaugh (Hoosiers) is slowly building a reputation as a minor highlight of '90s movies. Based on a true story, Rudy stars Sean Astin as Rudy Ruettiger, a blue-collar kid whose father (Ned Beatty) worships Notre Dame football but who would never dare to dream that any of his sons could be a part of the team. The film is entirely about Ruettiger's ceaseless if sometimes wavering commitment toward that goal, despite tremendous obstacles in physical stature, education requirements, the dismissiveness of coaches, poverty, his father's envy, and endless delays of one kind or another. This is the sort of film that looks back on a life and says the battle was its own reward, not the glory. Astin is very moving as a boy who becomes a man and watches his world change, often in unexpected ways, through painful determination. Great support from Beatty, Lili Taylor as a hometown girl, and Robert Prosky and Charles S. Dutton as two valuable mentors. --Tom Keogh

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