Lars Rockne and his family, including his four year old son Knute, emigrate to Chicago in 1892 from their native Norway. By 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
Did You Know?
, eager to break out of gangster roles, lobbied hard for the part of Knute Rockne
. But Cagney had signed a petition in support of the anti-Catholic Republican government in the Spanish Civil War. Notre Dame University had control over all aspects of the filming and would not okay Cagney for the role. See more
When Knute Rockne (Pat O'Brien
) first notices George Gipp (Ronald Reagan
) kicking a football, a player standing next to Rockne very clearly mouths "Hey You!" (without any sound coming from his mouth) just as Rockne yells the same thing to Gipp. See more
Win one for the Gipper!
Referenced in Rudy
Music by George R. Poulton
Played when Rockne convinces his coach to use the forward pass See more