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



, (book) | 1 more credit »
3,614 ( 406)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Brian's Song (TV Movie 2001)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of professional football players Gale Sayes and Brian Piccolo, and how their friendship on and off the field was affected when Piccolo contracted a fatal disease.

Director: John Gray
Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Sean Maher, Paula Cale
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Nick Nolte, Charles Durning, Mac Davis
Something for Joey (TV Movie 1977)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

This is based on the true story about the relationship between Penn State football player John Cappelletti and his younger brother Joey, who has lukemia. John and Joey's bond is a strong ... See full summary »

Director: Lou Antonio
Stars: Geraldine Page, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Marc Singer
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lonely Navy sailor falls in love with a hooker and becomes a surrogate father figure for her son during an extended liberty due to his service records being lost.

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: James Caan, Marsha Mason, Kirk Calloway
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter
Rudy (1993)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.

Director: David Anspaugh
Stars: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the famed baseball player, Lou Gehrig.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of the friendship between a star pitcher, wise to the world, and a half-wit catcher, as they cope with the catcher's terminal illness through a baseball season.

Director: John D. Hancock
Stars: Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, Vincent Gardenia
Semi-Tough (1977)
Comedy | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A three-way friendship between two free-spirited professional football players and the owner's daughter becomes compromised when two of them become romantically involved.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh
Hoosiers (1986)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship.

Director: David Anspaugh
Stars: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
The Natural (1984)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An unknown comes out of seemingly nowhere to become a legendary player with almost divine talent.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life's complexities after his college career is over.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton


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:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The interior of Gale Sayers' house was the interior set of Darrin and Samantha's house from Bewitched (1964). See more »


When his team mates visit Brian in a Chicago hospital, they are drinking Brown Derby beer. Brown Derby beer was only sold in California. See more »


Brian Piccolo: Well, on uh, Fake Draw Screen Right I uh, pick up the linebacker if he's comin, 'less of course it's Butkus, then I simply notify the quarterback to send for a preacher.
See more »


Featured in Entourage: Exodus (2005) See more »


Brian's Song
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand Et Son Orchestre
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It was an honor to cry at such a fine film
18 April 2003 | by (Wilton, NH) – See all my reviews

This is one of the best football films ever made. Yes, it's not that long, but it is great. Billy Dee Williams and James Caan were just starting out their careers and TV movies were still fairly new. This is a story of two opposites, one who was shy and kept to himself and the other who was cocky and confident. There would eventually see past their differences and become the best of friends. I like the chemistry that Williams and Caan had in this film. They made you belive they were Sayers and Pic. What was the part that made me cry? It was the scene where Gale has to tell the team before a game that Brian has cancer. Even if I have to force it, I love to cry at that scene. It's the best part of the film. The musical score is also great. The theme has a tone to it I can't describe. I tried watching the remake when it came out, and couldn't make it through the first 15 minutes. It was Disneytized for my viewing displeasure. In my heart, Williams and Caan will always be Sayers and Pic. No doubt about it.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
REALLY Racist Movie euromarkusx
title.. what does it mean? gone-permenatly
hilarious goof in the movie sivin1
A Black Guy? tokyostreetkiller
death scene (question answered thank you) frevans
title song c_gorris
Discuss Brian's Song (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: