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North Dallas Forty (1979)

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



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Coach Johnson
Charlotte Caulder
Jo Bob Priddy
Conrad Hunter
B. A. Strothers
Emmett Hunter
Joanne Rodney (as Savannah Smith)
Marshall Colt ...
Art Hartman
Guich Koock ...
Eddie Rand
Deborah Benson ...
Mrs. Hartman
Jim Boeke ...
Stallings (as James F. Boeke)
John Bottoms ...


A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They pay you and they pay you well. On one condition. You play the game their way, even if you're forced to break every bone in your body. [UK Theatrical] See more »


Comedy | Drama | Sport


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

40 hommes à abattre  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of singer songwriter Mac Davis. See more »


During the game with Chicago, the stands in the stadium are empty. See more »


Conrad Hunter: People who confuse brains and luck can get in a whole lot of trouble. Seeing through the game is not the same as winning the game.
See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


Performed by The Gibson Brothers
Written by Jean Kluger & Daniel Vangarde
courtesy of Island Records
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User Reviews

My Favorite Sports Movie
16 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When this movie first came out (late 70's), I was still in high school and very naive as to the behind the scenes machinations of professional football. This movie was ahead of its time in its depiction since no other movie on professional football had ventured into this area exposing drug use, both off the field casual usage and to get players on the field, and indifference of ownership and coaching staff to players feelings and thoughts.

Nick Nolte was exceptional as Phil Elliot, the wide receiver whose character was based on Pete Gent, a wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys who authored the book (North Dallas Forty) the movie was based on. He is a free spirit with little regard for authority but undoubtedly cares about his performance on the field. He cannot play by the rules because he doesn't make them. Mac Davis was great as quarterback Seth Maxwell, the jaded athlete who knows how to "bend" the rules to remain in good standing with the team.

Supporting cast, especially GD Spradlin as the coach modeled after Dallas Cowboys coaching genius Tom Landry, was excellent. If you have 2 hrs and want to catch a well-acted, well-written movie on the reality of professional football, then catch this flick. It preceded such films and Stone's Any Given Sunday, but its content is very relevant to football 30 years later.

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