Football coach Dan Curtis is eager for his small college team to win at all costs. However, he has a change of heart when a player is severely injured by playing when he should have been ... See full summary »


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Complete credited cast:
Mary Gehring
Babe Barton
Tom Hussey
Jerome Gehring
Pop Stewart
President Baker
Charles D. Brown ...


Football coach Dan Curtis is eager for his small college team to win at all costs. However, he has a change of heart when a player is severely injured by playing when he should have been resting. Finally, Dan's school confronts its arch rival and Dan must decide how badly he wants the boys to win. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

coach | american football | See All (2) »


Drama | Sport





Release Date:

15 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Touchdown  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Peggy Shannon
10 September 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It is hard to believe that after only a few pictures Paramount was quite happy to part company with Peggy Shannon. Earlier that year, Peggy was bought from Broadway to be groomed as a successor to Clara Bow (who was having health problems). After "The Reckless Age" Peggy was let ago amidst talks of being "temperamental". Peggy Shannon has always fascinated me - I also adore Nancy Carroll, they both have the same round faced, wide eyed beauty that brightened up many depression era dramas. The only film I had seen Peggy in up to this time was "Ellis Island" (1936). It was made toward the end of her career but she still looked like a million dollars!!! "Touchdown" was only her 4th film, but it was a thankless role that any ingenue could have played. This film was a little different - instead of the usual college film with lots of songs and pretty girls, it was a drama about the dark side of football life. It's themes are quite topical for today!!!

Going by train to the Pasadena Rose Bowl (there is a fascinating glimpse of the Rose Bowl parade of 1931), Tom (Regis Toomey), a member of an obscure midwest football team, meets Mary (Peggy Shannon) a girl from his home town.

After a disastrous first half their coach (J.Farrell MacDonald) gives them a stern talk, but refuses to allow Babe Barton (Jack Oakie) to play on with a dodgy leg.The coach sees great things in Dan Curtis (Richard Arlen) but he can also see trouble with what he feels is Dan's win at any price attitude. Dan decides to become a coach instead of a professional footballer and he goes from strength to strength. He desperately wants to coach his old club, that has fallen into a losing pattern and he hopes that by taking his little known college team and beating his old club he will attain glory and a chance at the coaching job. He meets up with Babe and Tom, who introduces him to businessman, Mr. Gehring (George Barbier). Gehring has a son Paul (Charles Starrett) who is a keen footballer and idolises Dan. Gehring also gives Dan a chance to coach L&M - he is intrigued by Dan's plan to send a scout to different colleges in an effort to buy the best players (seeing it is not professional football, it is not the legitimate way to do things). He also meets Gehring's daughter, who just happens to be Mary from the train. She is amused by the fact that both times she has surprised him gazing at his own picture in the paper!!!

After securing the brightest footballers from around the country, things are looking up for L&M. One day Mary calls for Dan and is disgusted at his abusive pep talk - especially directed at her brother, Paul. During the big game Dan callously sends in Gus (Herman Brix), a young player with a severely injured knee. Babe, who has befriended Gus, is astonished at Dan's disregard of the young footballer's future. There is even talk (shock, horror) that he injected painkillers into the boy so he could play on - everyone is turning against him. After Mary breaks up with him, he changes his attitude and rests Paul, who is suffering the effects of concussion - he had originally intended to play him. Dan loses the game but wins the respect of all.

Jim Thorpe makes an appearance as himself, who, along with his wife, is the butt of some silly jokes by Jack Oakie. Jim Thorpe was an All American, who won gold medals in the 1912 Olympics. He was later stripped of his medals when it was found out he had played 2 seasons of professional baseball (for which he received a pittance). In 1951 Burt Lancaster portrayed him in the wonderful film "Jim Thorpe - All American". Herman Brix, who portrayed Gus, won a silver medal at the 1928 Olympics for shot put. However he broke his shoulder during the making of this film and could not compete in the 1932 Olympics. Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller replaced him on the team and became a star. Herman Brix is Bruce Bennett.


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