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The Longest Yard (1974)

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.



(screenplay), (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Caretaker (as Jim Hampton)
Harry Caesar ...
John Steadman ...
Mike Henry ...
Jim Nicholson ...
Ice Man
Warden's Secretary
Pervis Atkins ...
Tony Cacciotti ...
Michael Fox ...


A football player-turned-convict organizes a team of inmates to play against a team of prison guards. His dilemma is that the warden asks him to throw the game in return for an early release, but he is also concerned about the inmates' lack of self-esteem. Written by Matt Heffernan <msh6880@cs.rit.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


First Down...And Ten Years To Go See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Sport


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Release Date:

30 August 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Golpe Baixo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Producer Albert S. Ruddy says that his inspiration for the film came from a friend of his who was a promising football player. After a career-ending injury, his life took a downward spiral. He was working a minimum-wage job at a sandwich shop and was being mistreated by his snobbish girlfriend. Ruddy took the scenario from there. See more »


When Crewe is talking to the team for the first time, they are sitting on the bleachers and from a rear shot, several of them are wearing their helmets. However, a second later a shot from the front shows nobody wearing helmets. See more »


[first lines]
Melissa: How long do we have to keep watching this crap?... Only a moron can sit and watch two football games, one after the other.
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Referenced in Wall Street (1987) See more »


Roadside Roses
Sung by Jack Barlow
Recording Surpervised by Jim Foglesong
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I gotta be a football hero!
17 March 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If one were to look at a Burt Reynolds film resume from over the years, he would have to look long and hard to find many gems. In comparison to some of his films such as Smokey And The Bandit II, Cannonball Run, and Stroker Ace for example, The Longest Yard is not only a gem, it's the Hope Diamond.

Reynolds plays down on his luck, ex-NFL quarterback Paul Crewe. Seems he was kicked out of football for shaving points in the game, and is now relegated to servicing his rich girl friend. One afternoon, when the girlfriend makes the mistake of interrupting his football viewing, Crewe steals her Maserati and drives it into the nearby bay. After a quick car chase and a funny scene when Crewe is arrested in a bar, he is sent off to prison. As it turns out it is just not any ordinary prison. It seems Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert)hires the guards on their ability to play football. It also seems Hazen has arranged for Crewe to be sent to his particular prison so that Crewe can organize a football team of the inmates, quarterback them, and play a game against the guards. A totally preposterous plot it is, but that's part of what makes this film so enjoyable.

The Longest Yard works so well is not because the acting is Academy Award stuff, it's because Producer Albert Ruddy and Director Robert Aldrich seemed to have found the perfect cast for the roles they inhabit. Having played football in college, Reynolds fits the role of quarterback Crewe perfectly. Eddie Albert as sleazy Warden Hazen, will make you forget about that thing he did called Green Acres.

James Hampton, who has floundered around in Hollywood as a character actor, has his best role ever as Caretaker. Crewe makes Caretaker his manager because it seems he has a knack for obtaining certain contraband that would otherwise be out of Crewe's clutches. Some of the items he acquires are not only funny, but there's also a certain service Crewe has to perform to get some of them. I'll not tell you what it is but leave it to you to see the film.

Michael Conrad, who plays aging ex-football player Nate Scarboro, also joins in the fun when he agrees to help coach Crewe's team on the slim chance that the inmates might pull an upset. Let's just say some of his coaching ideas are unique, as our many of the coaching ideas in this film. That's OK because it only serves to add to the fun.

Harry Caesar as Granville, the first black player to join the team, shows there are more than enough reasons for him to play football. It takes Granville being humiliated by the guards trying to discourage him from playing before the other black inmates join in the fun. In the scene where the guards are demeaning him, he doesn't get rattled, yet we can sense his rage beneath the surface. There's also Pop(John Steadman)who has been lingering in prison for a few extra years because he once punched a certain guard who became a Warden. He becomes the team's trainer, and has one brief but memorable moment with Crewe during the football game.

What most people remember about The Longest Yard is the big game, but everything leading up to it is just as enjoyable. There is the favor that Crewe has to do for the Warden's secretary (Bernadette Peters with the strangest hair do I've ever seen). The scenes where Crewe is recruiting the inmates are classic, especially when he interviews a couple of inmates named Samson(Richard Kiel), Shokner (Robert Tessier) and Indian (Sonny Sixkiller). When the team begins practicing, how they go from being really really bad to fairly decent is as entertaining as the rest of the film.

As for the football game itself, it is undoubtedly one of the most hilarious sporting events of any kind to be put on the big screen. Aldrich takes each moment of the game and makes it count. If you have never seen the film, it'll have you rolling on the floor. If you have seen it as I have many times, just thinking about it will bring a smile of recollection to your face. You'll see things in this game you'll never get the chance to witness on Monday night football.

If there are any missteps in this film, they are minor. One is a detestable slimy inmate named Unger (Charles Tyner) is introduced into the story when it is not necessary. He is here only as a plot device to do two things, the first is to carry out a despicable act, and the second is because of Unger, Crewe is forced into a bad decision late in the film. It would have been easily to find a way to do this without introducing Unger into an otherwise enjoyable film.

Despite that, there is no doubt that you'll enjoy The Longest Yard, even if you don't like football. Aldrich, Ruddy, and Reynolds have scored a touchdown and a two point conversion. When you score like that you get my coaching grade, and for The Longest Yard it's an A-.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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original puts remake to shame lahell86
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