“You’re 5 foot nothin’, one hundred and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best football players in the land for two years. And you’re gonna walk out of here with a degree from the university of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.” -Fortune

In a time period where the majority of the media attention is geared toward negative events that are occurring, the film Rudy inspires viewers. Although the movie hit theaters in 1993, the lessons from the movie continue to motivate those who watch the classic film. The fact that Rudy is based on a true story, makes the film much more meaningful. Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger is a real life example of someone who overcame adversity time and time again. Youth who have athletic dreams can turn to Rudy as a role model and incorporate his principles into their daily lives on and off the field.  Similar to all movies that are based on true stories, some events were changed to exaggerate or seem more appealing. However, the core of the story remains true that a young man was always told he could not do something, and he proved them all wrong by accomplishing his dream.

Main Characters:

Daniel “Rudy” Ruetigger

Frank, Rudy’s older brother who was probably the one who doubted Rudy the most, often telling Rudy he was wasting his time trying to go to Notre Dame.

 Daniel Ruettiger Sr.- Rudy’s dad who loved Notre Dame football and influenced Rudy’s love for the school. However, even he discouraged Rudy from trying to play football at Notre Dame.

Fortune-The head janitor for Notre Dame’s football team who gave Rudy a job and a place to stay. Also persuaded Rudy to finish up his senior season at Notre Dame instead of quitting.

Often listed in the top 20 sports movies of all time, Rudy Anspaugh directed this film beautifully. Besides Sean Astin playing the character Rudy, there were not many well known actors in the movie. However, there did not need to be, the story was good enough to make a great movie without an all-star cast. Sean Astin was perfect for his character with his short stocky frame and his attitude of quiet strength during the movie. He translated the determination of the character he was playing perfectly, and at times some of his quotes gave me chills.

Nowadays, many young people grow up with everything given to them on a silver platter. Teenagers are given fancy cars, a college education, and all the money they ask for. They do no have to lift a finger and their desires are at their feet with a simple request. On the other hand, there are people like Rudy who had to work for everything and were given nothing. A special individual who travels the unbeaten path in life and truly wants to earn every goal and accolade. This young man grew up in a lower class family, where he was the smallest, least gifted intellectually, and criticized on a regular basis for his dreams. A kid that wanted to go to the University of Notre Dame and play football, no matter what the costs. A man who was turned down by Notre Dame semester after semester, but simply refused to stop working hard. Although he was told to follow the family trade and work in the local steel mill day after day, Rudy knew that was not where he belonged.

Rudy began attending Holy Cross University, which was near Notre Dame. Although he was far from academically gifted, he studied hours each day in hopes of earning grades that would be good enough to transfer to the school he loved. He got a job working as a maintenance man and member of the grounds crew for Notre Dame. This was the ideal job for him, where he could see the locker room he had always dreamed about and walk on the field he had imagined himself on. The head Groundskeeper, Fortune offered Rudy a place to stay and Rudy continued to work hard in his studies. He applied to Notre Dame three consecutive semesters, but was denied all three. After considering quitting, Rudy decided to attend Holy Cross one last semester and then give it one last shot. After Rudy’s fourth application attempt, he was accepted to the University of Notre Dame.

After seeing a young man want something so bad, and watching him struggle for so long it a great scene to watch Rudy read his acceptance letter. He could not wait to tell his dad, and hear how proud he would be that his son would be attending the University of Notre Dame.

Although reserved, he stuck up for himself time and time again, always telling people he would play football at the University of Notre Dame.  “As long as my brother talks this crazy Notre Dame shit, he deserves anything that comes his way!” This was just one of many quotes where Rudy was out down by Frank. Rudy was very familiar with this sort of criticism in his life, but he always seemed to roll with the punches. Rudy grew up in a household with two older brothers who had never took it easy on him, and a father who never expected much from the youngest in the Ruettiger family. When most people would have followed the path that had been set for them, Rudy always chose the more difficult road.

(Below: Team gives up spot for Rudy)

Rudy accomplishes goal after goal throughout the movie, and each time there are countless critics saying he cannot something else. Rudy had done everything he wanted to do, except suit up for an actual Notre Dame game and officially be a part of the team. In an emotional scene, the leaders on the team offer their roster spot in order to have Rudy dress out for the final home game of the season. The coach agrees to let Rudy dress out, but that did not mean he would get to play. They were facing off against Georgia Tech, and it was an important game in the season, a game where Rudy’s odds of stepping on the field were slim to none. Near the end of the game an emotional scene began to develop when the Irish were beating Georgia Tech by several points. Suddenly, family and friends began to chant Rudy’s name, and it started spreading. Eventually the entire stadium was chanting Rudy’s name to get him on to the field for at least one play. Rudy was called into the game for the last minute of the game where he  sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback on one of the last plays of the game. His teammates followed the play by carrying him off the field hoisted on their shoulders.

. This scene is an emotional one that showed years of hard work come together for one unforgettable moment. Roger Ebert said, “In “Rudy”, Astin’s performance is so self-effacing, so focused and low-key, that we lose sight of the underdog formula and begin to focus on this dogged kid who won’t quit. And the last big scene is an emotional powerhouse, just the way it’s supposed to be.”

Unlike other football movies such as Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, or The Replacements, Rudy is about the growth of an individual through working hard not only on the field, but more so off the field. Although all are great movies, I believe what sets Rudy apart is it is a true story where a young man who lacked talent in every area of life had enough determination to accomplish all of his dreams. The movie was about the individual verses the team bonding we are used to in other football movies.

Overall, Rudy was a great movie and inspired me keep fighting no matter what the circumstances may be. At times, however, some of the actions and quotes seem over the top to make it more of an inspirational story. It appears at times like some of the scenes are added in at times, in order to make the story even more appealing. Also, the script can seem a little corny at times, but the fact that it is based on a true story makes up for all of this. Most viewers have very little to complain about after watching Rudy, and in fact this classic film continues to appear on lists of great sports films.

(Below: Rudy’s Sack)