The Express (2008)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  10 October 2008 (USA)
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A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.


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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny McCarthy ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He changed our country... one yard at a time.


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic content, violence and language involving racism, and for brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Express: The Ernie Davis Story  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,562,675 (USA) (10 October 2008)


$9,589,875 (USA) (31 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Nicole Beharie portrays a girl friend (Sarah Ward) and a Wife (Rachel Robinson in 42 (2013)) to men who broke the color barrier in two different sports. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play Major League Baseball and Ernie Davis the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. See more »


During the West Virginia football game Davis gets hit out of bounds and is lying on the sideline. The football announcer states Davis is hurt lying PRONE (face down) on the field when in fact the scene shows him lying in a SUPINE (face up)position. See more »


[Last Line]
Ernie Davis: Thing is, I don't know how much more is in front of me, and as you see from the number of pages if you've read this far, I did have a few things to say and I'm not sure hopw to end this, or even if I want to. It's funny. Most people think my life has been all about football. I've even thought that myself. But football is just a game. What matters is what you play for. Sometimes when the game is close and eveything is on the line, that's when you forget the croud and the noise. That's...
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.186 (2010) See more »


Mess Of Blues
Written by Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman
Performed by Elvis Presley
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Superb film that everyone should see...a great history lesson!
27 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My husband and I saw EXPRESS yesterday and truly enjoyed this movie. We love movies based on true stories and also enjoy sports so this was a winning combination! We found this movie to be truly captivating and beautifully told. The acting was superb.....everyone did a fantastic job of making it all very real. We didn't know anything about Ernie Davis and feel so privileged to know his story. Of course we knew Jim Brown, but Ernie never even had a chance to show his real talents to the world via the Cleveland Browns. What a gifted young man he was and all the difficulties he had to face made him even more special. As far as the people who don't appreciate WV being shown in that light, my husband was in the Army in 1960-1963, and whether it was WV, NC, SC, or any other state in that vicinity that is exactly how it was and he experienced that type of hate first hand. Thank you for bring us such a meaningful film. We hope it is a huge success.

26 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Slander against West Virginia flovece
A Challenge to Davis Entertainment - WHY NO ELMIRA?? WTF? Swampthing
Syracuse v WVU racism LIE in this movie DawnReinas
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As a Syracuse football fan, please SHUT UP! mk135605
Loved it, loved it, loved it!! MsD430
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