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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.


1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Justin Jones ...
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
See  »

Did You Know?


Dennis Quaid's character plays as a coach who used to coach Jim Brown. In the movie Any Given Sunday (1990). Dennis Quaid stars as the veteran quarterback while the real Jim Brown plays as a defensive line coach. See more »


Enroute to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, the Syracuse team is shown in several shots as riding in one bus, and with empty seats no less. No college football team could fit in one bus, and by the 1960s football and basketball teams routinely were flying to game sites especially for distances as great as between Syracuse, NY, and Dallas, Texas. 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 »


Shake, Rattle And Roll
Written by Charles F. Calhoun
Performed by Big Joe Turner
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It has you cheering and clapping as you watch it
4 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Express was a wonderful sports movie with lots of drama. It had a ton of emotion and great feelings in it. Me watching the movie I felt like a fan. This movie will make you love sports even if you don't. It was inspirational in so many ways. The whole movie keeps you entertained and on the edge of your seat at the end. Each one of the football games were fun and exciting to watch. When their wasn't football in the movie the director found ways to keep the movie good and interesting. This movie had emotion. love, heart, tears, and inspiring moments. Their are many different scenes in this movie that are sad to watch and upsetting for the viewers. The thing that makes it so upsetting for us to watch is the thing they do to blacks in this movie. I think that everyone should see this movie just to see how life was. The life the blacks lived in this movie wasn't good. I think this movie will teach people to respect everyone no matter who it is. This movie was one of the best movies of the year. It was the best sports movie of the year and ever. It will honestly have you on your feet. It was such a great movie and was so inspiring and should be seen by everyone. It was great for kids, teens, adults, and even grandparents. It was so exciting and fun to watch all around. Their weren't any flaws pretty much. The movie has so many different messages that were great. The thing that is mostly the best part of the movie is that Ernie is the most unselfish person on and off the field in this movie. He shows everyone how to be a better person. The coach played by Dennis Quaid did a great job and was a good person and coach as well. The movie was based on a true story also. Overall this is one feel good movie. It is the must see sports movie. Go see it and have a fun time cheering and clapping.

42 of 65 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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