An unqualified teacher finds himself saddled with coaching duties after a small group of high school seniors form a wrestling team in a last ditch effort to end a 9-year losing streak against a rival school.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ed Branish
Jill Branish
Nick Kilvitus
Brooke Cooper
Ted Yacabobich (as Darryl Peterson)
Randy Jensen
Toney Smith ...
Chauncey Washington
Salvador Feliciano ...
Tom Palumbo
Boyd Silversmith ...
Jack Gross
Nicolas Beauvy ...
Jimmy Kier (as Nicholas Beauvy)
Jasper MacGrudder
Scott Burgi ...
Robert Stankovich
Lynn Baird ...
Doc Talada
Ron Bartholomew ...
Warren Overpeck
Vincent Roberts ...
Bobby Cooper


Ed Branish, a snooty English teacher who finds his situation at Mingo Junction High School far beneath him and barely tolerable, flaunts his air of superiority over all (including his supportive wife) by frequently spouting platitudes from literary masters to validate his often contemptuous viewpoint. His habit of having as little to do with his school as possible finally gets the better of him when his light schedule makes him the only staff member available to supervise the newly formed wrestling team. Cornered, he lashes out at the first student to cross his path - Nick Kilvitus, a reserved 185 lbs. senior who's embarrassed by his near-poverty social status and who's also missed a lot of classes lately. No one realizes Nick's been filling in for his alcoholic father at a steel mill (hauling I-beams) when his dad's too drunk to show up (which is all too often, and which also keeps Nick busy at night fishing his embittered father out of bars - to be carried home (Fireman's Carry ... Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Just once...everyone has to be a winner!


Comedy | Drama | Family | Sport


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Con la espalda en la lona (Golpe bajo)  »

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Did You Know?


This was the first Disney-released film to receive a "PG" rating in the United States, five years before they launched Touchstone Pictures to expand into the "adult" market. The company's name never appeared on this title though: it was an independent production released through Disney-owned Buena Vista Distribution company. See more »


Jill Branish: Well, I... I just wish that you weren't so locked into Cambridge. Because, really, I... I'd like to raise a family right here.
Ed Branish: In Mingo Junction? You would DO that to our children?
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I Tried For You
Written and Performed by Lorenzo Lamas
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User Reviews

In Lamas' first big movie role he is vulnerable,sensitive and endearing

This is Lamas'( Falcon Crest, Renegade) first big role in a movie. He gives us his most sensitive performance. He even pens a song for the movie which he performs. You also see Maureen McCormick acting her most Marcia Bradyist and an early performance by Stephen Furst(St Elsewhere, Babylon5). It is the story of a down and out town. The people have been down so long they don't even try to get up. Just before graduation a small group of kids decide they want one win before a life of defeat and they give it everything. Their great hope is Nick(Lamas) who has enough problems of his own( a drunken father who he covers for at work so often that he will probably not graduate). Can one 18 year old boy with the world against him find the courage in himself to succeed against all odds?

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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