IMDb > Brian's Song (1971) (TV)
Brian's Song
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Brian's Song (1971) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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Brian's Song -- James Caan and Billy Dee Williams star in the true story of Chicago Bears' football players Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers.


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Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Blinn (written by)
Gale Sayers (book) ...
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Release Date:
30 November 1971 (USA) See more »
An inspiring true story of friendship and courage.
Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations See more »
(22 articles)
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User Reviews:
Greatest made for TV movie ever made See more (47 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Caan ... Brian Piccolo

Billy Dee Williams ... Gale Sayers

Jack Warden ... Coach Halas

Bernie Casey ... J.C. Caroline

Shelley Fabares ... Joy Piccolo

David Huddleston ... Ed McCaskey
Judy Pace ... Linda Sayers
Abe Gibron ... Himself
Jack Concannon ... 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)
Ron Feinberg ... Veteran Player #2 (Doug Atkins)
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Roommate
Jim Boeke ... Veteran Player #3
Larry Delaney ... Dr. Fox
Stephen Coit ... Mr. Eberle
Doreen Lang ... Nurse #1
Jennifer Kulik ... Nurse #2 (as Jeni Kulik)
Allen Secher ... Hotel Man
Stu Nahan ... Speaker
Mario Machado ... Reporter #1
Bud Furillo ... Reporter #2
Jack Wells ... Toastmaster
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Dick Butkus ... Dick Butkus (uncredited)

Mike Ditka ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
January L'Angelle ... Girl in Hospital (uncredited)

Directed by
Buzz Kulik 
Writing credits
William Blinn (written by)

Gale Sayers (book "I Am Third") and
Al Silverman (book "I Am Third")

Produced by
Paul Junger Witt .... producer
Tony Thomas .... associate producer
Original Music by
Michel Legrand 
Cinematography by
Joseph F. Biroc (director of photography) (as Joe Biroc)
Film Editing by
Bud S. Isaacs 
Art Direction by
Ross Bellah 
Set Decoration by
Frank Lombardo 
Production Management
Eddie Saeta .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eddie Saeta .... assistant director
Richard Learman .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
George C. Emick .... sound editor (uncredited)
Wayne Fury .... sound editor (uncredited)
Ralph Hickey .... sound editor (uncredited)
Marvin I. Kosberg .... sound editor (uncredited)
Paul Laune .... sound editor (uncredited)
William J. Montague .... sound mixer (uncredited)
Alfred E. Overton .... sound mixer (uncredited)
Monty Pearce .... sound editor (uncredited)
Harold E. Wooley .... sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Dave Friedman .... still photographer (uncredited)
Casting Department
Renée Valente .... casting executive (as Renee Valente)
Ernie Ernse .... thanks
Joe Guarracino .... thanks
Jack Newman .... thanks
Steve Sabol .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial Effects

Additional Details

Also Known As:
73 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Louis Gossett Jr. was originally cast as Gale Sayers. Days before shooting began, Gossett tore his Achilles' tendon while working out. Studio execs quickly hired Billy Dee Williams as a replacement, leaving Gossett depressed over missing his "shot." Producer David L. Wolper promised Gossett the first great role that came along. About six years later, Wolper cast Gossett as "Fiddler" in "Roots" (1977), the Emmy-winning role that made him a star.See more »
Revealing mistakes: There is one moving camera shot on the football field with James Caan and Billy Dee Williams watching the action, but the view shows no players on the field. The crowd also roars as if a good play was made.See more »
Brian Piccolo:So, Concannon calls this trap play, and it's just beautiful... 43 yards, wasn't it 43? Ah. So, Halas sees he's tired, and sends me in, so I go in, he comes out. Concannon then figures he's gonna get REALLY foxy... you know, Concannon is... So, he says, "Um, same play. VERY SAME PLAY." Now, a trap play is also called, a SUCKER play, because it makes the defense look REAL bad when it works. Now, defenses DO NOT like to look real bad, see...See more »
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27 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
Greatest made for TV movie ever made, 11 October 2004
Author: djpowell from Morgantown, WV

In times of racial trouble, inner family strife, and complete distrust of your fellow man, this movie showed what the world would really be like if people got rid of "oneupmanship" and lived life for life itself.

I HIGHLY recommend the original version (1971)

The acting was not campy, there was nothing to be really showy about, the football clips were some of the best ever incorporated (they actually became part of the plot), and other male leads were extremely believable in their roles.

The females weren't too bad, either.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (47 total) »

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