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
Johnny Sheffield ...
Knute - Age 7 (as John Sheffield)
Moreau Choir of Notre Dame ...
Themselves (as The Moreau Choir of Notre Dame)
Nick Lukats ...
The Four Horseman
The Four Horseman
William Marshall ...
The Four Horseman


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
See  »

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 26:05, Nieuwland's pencil jumps to his chin. See more »


Knute Rockne: Now I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years. None of you ever knew George Gipp. He was long before your time, but you all know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame. And the last thing he said to me, "Rock," he said, "sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock," he said, "but I'll know about it and I'll be happy."
See more »


Referenced in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) See more »


Aura Lee
(1861) (uncredited)
Music by George R. Poulton
Played when Rockne convinces his coach to use the forward pass
See more »

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User Reviews

Greatest Football movie ever...
30 August 2002 | by (Dallas, Tx.) – See all my reviews

The true life story of perhaps the greatest football coach the game has ever known. Knute Rockne led the game of football out of the "stone age" with innovations such as the forward pass and offensive formation shifts. But he is probably best known for his motivational locker room speeches. Along the way, he brought fame and glory to a tiny, little, unknown Catholic school in Indiana. Pat O'Brien is incomparable in his role as Rockne. Terrific cast that includes Ronald Reagan who gives a great performance as Notre Dame's first, true superstar, George Gipp.

For Football aficionados, this is the greatest football movie ever made. Do yourself a favor and rent the black and white version. (Some versions have deleted scenes for some reason) If you got the good version, look for a brief cameo by the immortal Jim Thorpe as he sticks his head in the locker room telling Rockne and the team they only have a few minutes left before the 2nd half begins.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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