Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
This biopic focuses on the relationship of Ernie Davis (1939-1963), a gifted African-American athlete, and his coach from 1958 to 1962 at Syracuse University, Ben Schwartzwalder (1909-1993). Schwartzwalder recruits Davis with the help of All-American running back, Jim Brown. The civil rights movement is gaining steam; Davis experiences prejudice on campus, in town, and on the field, sometimes from teammates. How he handles it and how he challenges Schwartzwalder to stand up for his players provide a counterpoint to several great seasons that lead first to a national championship and then to the Heismann Trophy. Written by
Career team record @ Syracuse 1959 11-0 1960 7-2 1961 8-3. See more »
At the end of the movie when Ernie Davis is introduced with the team in Cleveland's August 18th, 1962 preseason game, the opposing team shown is the Chicago Bears. In reality it was the Pittsburg Steelers and was the second game of a doubleheader, the NFL's first. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys played in the first game of the doubleheader. See more »
'The Express', though based on Ernie Davis's life, is given a very Hollywood treatment. The story is uplifting and even inspiring to some, especially how Davis chooses to fight racism, not with violence, but with American football. Yet, the film itself is sugarcoated and has the deja-vu feel. For example, it is easy to predict which team will win (as is the case with most sports film). However, the last 20 minutes were handled well. Those scenes could have easily been melodramatic but the director chooses to play it down here. The background score is very intrusive at times. I thought the issue of racism was well tackled. This isn't 'just another movie about racism' because the conflicts are well depicted and dealt with (like one would think it would be in the 50s). Dennis Quaid definitely moves a step forward from his usual average acting. It's impressive to see him get under the skin of the character rather than play the usual formula. Rob Brown does a fine job and holds his own. Overall, 'The Express' tells an important story about a man who made a difference in American history even though his name is not known to everyone.
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