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?
replaced director William K. Howard
, who was discharged over a disagreement with the studio. Reportedly he wanted to have Knute Rockne
convert to Catholicism in the film. Producer Robert Fellows
asked star Pat O'Brien
to accompany him to the director's house to break the news to him. Howard, whose career was declining, said, "Boys, this will destroy me!" When O'Brien said, "It's not so bad, Bill," Howard replied, "It is--a fadeout." With the exception of James Cagney
's independent production Johnny Come Lately
(1943), Howard only directed B-pictures after that (including one, When the Lights Go on Again
(1944)) for bottom-of-the-barrel studio Producers Releasing Corp.) and ended his career with a film for Republic Pictures. See more
At 26:05, Nieuwland's pencil jumps to his chin. See more
Coach, let us use the forward pass, I know it'll work.
Notre Dame Coach Harper
I'm not so sure. We've never seen it in a game.
Neither has the Army, what can we lose?
Referenced in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
Music by George R. Poulton
Played when Rockne convinces his coach to use the forward pass See more