At the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he's willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams.
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 »
Before the 1961 Heisman Award ceremony, there is stock footage of Broadway with Stalag 17 on a movie marquee. Stalag 17 was released in 1953, 8 years earlier. See more »
21 straight lines five yards apart. That is a football field. But there are other lines you don'T see that run deeper and wider. All the way through the country, and aren't part of any game.
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'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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