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Varsity Blues (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 33,961 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 266 user | 67 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

A back-up quarterback is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured.



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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Coach Kilmer
Joe Harbor
Tiffany C. Love ...
Collette Harbor
Julie Harbor
Eliel Swinton ...
Sam Moxon (as Thomas Duffy)
Jill Parker-Jones ...
Mo Moxon (as Jill Parker Jones)
Joe Pichler ...
Kyle Moxon
Mark Walters ...
Chet McNurty
Sheriff Bigelow
James N. Harrell ...
Murray (as James Harrell)


In small-town Texas, high school football is a religion. The head coach is deified, as long as the team is winning and 17-year-old schoolboys carry the hopes of an entire community onto the gridiron every Friday night. In his 35th year as head coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight) is trying to lead his West Canaan Coyotes to their 23rd division title. When star quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) suffers an injury, the Coyotes are forced to regroup under the questionable leadership of John Moxon (James Van Der Beek), a second-string quarterback with a slightly irreverent approach to the game. "Varsity Blues" explores our obsession with sports and how teenage athletes respond to the extraordinary pressures places on them. Written by Steven Chea <schea@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It takes a hero to know what's worth winning. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language throughout, sexuality and nudity, and some substance abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Boys  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,515,723 (USA) (15 January 1999)


ESP 8,749,775 (Spain) (13 July 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mark Robert Ellis:  the football coordinator for the film plays the referee during the West Canaan vs. Gilroy Game. See more »


Moxon tells Miss Davis that he and the guys wouldn't tell anyone that she was a stripper, but in the previous game Tweeder told Mox in the huddle that he couldn't get Miss Davis' fat ass out of his head. While other people in the huddle hadn't been to the club, the comment was ambiguous enough not to tip them off. See more »


Bud Kilmer: It makes me wonder if you know the different between a sneeze and a wet fart!
See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


Semper Fidelis
Written by John Philip Sousa
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User Reviews

An enjoyable, entertaining diversion; what a movie is supposed to be.
24 January 1999 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

This is an unpretentious and entertaining movie about high school football in a small Texas community. OK, so we know who will win the Big Game, and that the Hero won't sell out to the mean and selfish 23-District-Championships-Coach (Jon Voigt). The movie is well paced and a pleasant diversion; (many in the audience actually applauded at the climactic scenes in the final moments).

What I find most interesting about the fact that this film was produced in association with MTV, is that for a Network ostensibly dedicated to iconoclastic themes and attitudes (i.e., anti-establishment and counter-culture), this movie is remarkably "old-fashioned" in the adherence to values espoused by the hero. After he becomes the starting quarterback, he resists the come-ons of his predecessor's beautiful girlfriend, and he will sacrifice his own scholarship to Brown University (an Ivy League school in Rhode Island for those of you not familiar) rather than let another player be used and potentially physically damaged by the unscrupulous coach.

Some of the scenes are reminiscent of other football films: The Longest Yard, All the Right Moves, North Dallas Forty, and so on, but I guess there are no real surprises these days after decades of the same essential stories in Hollywood. This is not just a "football movie" or a "guy movie" however, and it's well worth a look.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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