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Brian's Song (1971)

TV Movie  |  G  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  30 November 1971 (USA)
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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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Title: Brian's Song (TV Movie 1971)

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



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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)
Ron Feinberg ...
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
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Did You Know?


James Caan turned down the role of Brian Piccolo before finally accepting it. At the time, Caan did not want to do television and wanted to focus on his film career. But he liked the script so much that he eventually relented. See more »


During the opening credits, when Gale talks to the janitor, it is clear the janitor is just moving a dry mop around on the floor. There is also no bucket in sight. See more »


Brian Piccolo: I said thank you.
Gale Sayers: I know.
Brian Piccolo: Well, usually when someone says thank you you're supposed to say you're welcome or How's Your mother?
Gale Sayers: How's your mother? ?
Brian Piccolo: She's doin' fine, thanks for asking.
See more »


Featured in I Love the '70s: Volume 2: 1971 (2006) See more »

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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.

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

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