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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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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An inspiring true story of friendship and courage.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Freunde bis in den Tod  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In real life, James Caan, who had been a football player in high school, was a much better athlete than Billy Dee Williams. In the movie, Gale Sayers, was supposed to surpass Brian Piccolo, in speed and playing ability. When Caan raced Williams on film, Caan was forced to slow down considerably so Williams could beat him. See more »

Goofs

The pattern of sweat on Sayer's sweatshirt changes when he is working out with Piccolo after the knee injury. See more »

Quotes

Gale Sayers: [accepting the George S. Halas award] I'd like to tell you about a guy I know, a friend of mine. His name is Brian Piccolo. And he has the heart of a giant, and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent, cancer. He has a mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the world 'courage,' 24 hours a day, every day of his life. Now you honor me by giving me this award. But I say to you here now Brian Piccolo is the man who deserves the George S....
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Going the Distance (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
YOU'LL LAUGH, YOU'LL CRY, YOU'LL WANT TO PLAY FOOTBALL
5 November 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I still remember sitting down with my family to watch "Brian's Song", the made for TV movie in 1971. I was 13 years of age, and my 3 brothers and I thought we were going to watch a sports movie. It's funny thinking back to that night, as all the brothers fought back tears during the final scenes. We jumped up at the end, and tried to act macho and pretended we all had colds and runny noses. Watching the movie today, it doesn't have quite the same impact, but it remains touching and dramatic. James Caan and Billy D Williams work well together. They act without any arrogance and tough-guy attributes they picked up later in their careers. The movie score wraps around the scenes to add to the poignancy without disrupting the mood. Shelly Fabarase is the perfect wife. It is a touching tribute to a ordinary football player, Brian Piccolo, who lead a extraordinary life. A updated version of "Brian's Song" attempted to capture the magic of 1971's version, but as is usually the case, the attempt falls short of the goal. The original does the best at mourning Piccolo's death, but most importantly, celebrating his life. It is a touchdown!


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