Knute Rockne All American (1940)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  5 October 1940 (USA)
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The story of legendary Notre Dame football player and coach Knute Rockne.


, (uncredited)


(original screen play), (based upon: private papers of, and the reports of Rockne's intimate associates and friends) (as Mrs. Rockne)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gale Page ...
Albert Bassermann ...
Father Julius Nieuwland (as Albert Basserman)
Committee Chairman
Henry O'Neill ...
Owen Davis Jr. ...
Gus Dorais
Lars Knutson Rockne
Dorothy Tree ...
Martha Rockne
Knute - Age 7 (as John Sheffield)
Moreau Choir of Notre Dame ...
Moreau Choir (as The Moreau Choir of Notre Dame)
Nick Lukats ...
Harry Stuhdreher-One of The Four Horsemen
Elmer Laydon - One of The Four Horsemn
William Marshall ...
Don Miller - One of The Four Horsemen


Lars Rockne and his family, including his four year old son Knute, emigrate to Chicago in 1892 from their native Norway. By his his mid-twenties Knute saves enough to attend obscure Notre Dame University, where he excels in football and chemistry. He and a teammate develop the forward pass as an offensive weapon while working as life guards on summer break and use it to upset heavily favored Army in a historic game. After graduation Rockne becomes a teacher while coaching part time but ultimately abandons academics to devote all his energies to football. During his tenure as head coach at the school, he develops such outstanding players as George Gipp, who dies prematurely from a strep infection, and the Four Horseman while introducing many innovative tactics including the backfield shift. Rockne, known for his staccato motivational speeches, devotes his life to maintaining the integrity of the sport he loves and promoting it as an integral component in the development of the American... Written by Gabe Taverney (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 October 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Modern Hero  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The football history portrayed in the movie plays fast and loose with a key element of college gridiron development. The film depicts Knute Rockne developing the forward pass in the 'teens, as an undergraduate at Notre Dame. However, the forward pass was legalized and used during the 1906 football season. See more »


At 11:02, Knute's elbow goes from next to the bed to on the bed. See more »


Father John Callahan: Who can say for certain what a man was really born to be? That's God's will. Someday Knute will find his right place in the world, and when he does, whether it be science or not, I have a feeling it will be the one he was meant to do.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Invasion USA (1994) See more »


America the Beautiful
(1882) (uncredited)
Music by Samuel A. Ward (1882)
Played as background music when the Rocknes emigrate to the United States
Reprised as background music often
See more »

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User Reviews

The fighting Irish
28 July 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Knute Rockne All American", the biopic about the famous Notre Dame beloved coach Knute Rockne, is an excellent sports film to watch. Not ever having seen it, we were surprised by the technique used in the movie by director Lloyd Bacon, who shows he was ahead of his times in photographing football games. The result is a vibrant picture about the man responsible for the legacy of the collegian sport, Knute Rockne.

The film presents Rockne from his humble origins in Chicago to his studies in famed Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. He was an ambitious man who had a vision about how the game should be played. Luckily, he went to give his beloved Notre Dame the glory he was after.

Pat O'Brien looks a bit older when he starts as a freshman. In fact, he doesn't change much throughout the film, but he is fine as Mr. Rockne. Pat O'Brien shows he could inspire the players under him by just being a father figure. Gale Page plays Bonnie Rockne, the wise woman who understood her husband's call in life. Ronald Reagan plays George "The Gipper" Gipp, who was a legend that died much too young, but who left a legacy behind. Donald Crisp makes a good contribution as Father John Callahan who was Rockne's mentor at the university.

This film will delight not only sports because of LLoyd Bacon's direction and the fast pace he gives to the movie.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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