Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
J.C. Caroline
Judy Pace ...
Abe Gibron ...
Jack Concannon ...
Ed O'Bradovich ...
Ed O'Bradovich
The Chicago Bears Players ...
The Chicago Bears Coaches ...
The Chicago Bears Staff ...
Harold 'Happy' Hairston ...
Veteran Player #1 (as Happy Hairston)
Veteran Player #2 (Doug Atkins)


Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears and is befriended by Brian Piccolo, an over-achieving running back. Although they compete for the same spot on the team, and despite the fact that Sayers is black and Piccolo white, they become roommates on the road and very close friends, especially when Sayers is injured and Piccolo helps his recovery. Later, they and their wives must both deal with the harsh reality of Piccolo's cancer. Written by Jerry Milani <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An inspiring true story of friendship and courage.


Biography | Drama | Sport


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 November 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Freunde bis in den Tod  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


After its successful TV broadcast on ABC, it was released theatrically. See more »


When Gale Sayers suffers his knee injury, it's during his fourth year on the team, which was the 1968 NFL season. George Halas had retired as the Bears Head Coach after the 1967 season, although he was still serving as the Bears owner, and functionally as Bears general manager. See more »


[last lines]
Coach George Halas: Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember - but how he lived. How he did live!
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Referenced in Rita Rocks: The Crying Game (2008) See more »


Brian's Song
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand Et Son Orchestre
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User Reviews

A Standard After More Than 30 years
22 October 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

After more than 30 years, this movie has earned its place as the standard for all television movies that followed it. A great score, a great just does not get any better than this. That remake (2001) does not measure the quality or the warmth of this 1971 standard bearer.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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