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Varsity Blues (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 33,964 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


In a town where winning is everything, these guys have nothing to lose. 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?


The Ford on the movie poster is never seen in the movie. See more »


On Moxon's running touchdown, in the first series after he takes over from an injured Lance, Moxon hurdles a defender on the way to the end zone. In high school football, hurdling a defender is a penalty on the runner that would have negated the touchdown. See more »


Coach Bud Kilmer: [to the trainer, at halftime in the trainer's room, with Wendell on the table] Give him the shot!
Mox: If you give him that shot, you can find yourself another fucking quarterback.
Coach Bud Kilmer: You about ready to lose that scholarship, boy?
Mox: If it keeps that needle out of his leg? Absolutely.
Coach Bud Kilmer: Good.
Mox: Fuck it, I'm out.
See more »


Spoofed in Not Another Teen Movie (2001) See more »


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User Reviews

Surprisingly good!
8 April 2001 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

If someone checks out the trailer, one might think, "Another MTV-produced teen flick. I think I'll pass on that." Well, I went into the theater not thinking it was going to be bad, but I expected more of an amusing film that isn't really high on ingenuity. True, "Varsity Blues" has those standard teen elements like wild drinking parties, the school slut, etc. But it never overuses those elements. It's more of a compelling comedy-drama about football that delivers a fine message about sportsmanship. You have a pretty good idea how it's going to end up, but it's the way it's executed that makes it special. Jon Voight is absolutely terrific as the no-nonsense coach. He's the kind of character you want to stab in the chest every minute he's on screen, and Voight was a perfect choice. The film dabbles with elements of the sport that probably hit home to some high school football players. Voight's character has only one goal: winning. And he doesn't care how he gets to that goal. If he has to shoot drugs into every one of his players, he's going to arrive at that goal. And I'm sure there are coaches out there who have that selfish goal. Then James Van Der Beek comes along, and his character is not really concerned with winning or playing football in the first place. But he likes football, has fun with it and simply wants to play a good, honest game. If the team wins, good. If it doesn't, so what. He has a good locker room speech at the end of the movie.

"Varsity Blues" is funny, moving and wonderfully acted. It might appeal more to teens and young adults, more than the older ones, but I still suggest everyone check it out.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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