In November, 1970, virtually the entire football team and coaches of Marshall University (Huntington, W.V.) die in a plane crash. That spring, led by Nate Ruffin, a player who was ill and missed the fatal flight, students rally to convince the board of governors to play the 1971 season. The college president, Don Dedman, must find a coach, who then must find players. They petition the NCAA to allow freshmen to play, and coach Jack Lengyel motivates and leads young players at the same time that he reexamines the Lombardi creed that winning is the only thing. The father and the fiancée of a player who died find strength to move on. Can Marshall win even one game in 1971? Written by
During training camp, coach Lengyl tells one player to "Head slap the shit out of him" if the opposing player goes for his knees. The NCAA and NFL banned the head slap in the mid 1970's because of the head injuries it caused. See more »
When Lengyel runs out of the house chasing his son and sees Marshall fans walking to the first 1971 home game against Xavier, pink and white blooms are visible on the dogwood trees in the background. The game was played September 25, 1971, when the dogwoods would not be in bloom. See more »
I graduated from Marshall University and grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, where the movie takes place, which of course, made this movie especially meaningful to me. I drove 300 miles to see the Premiere in Huntington two days ago, and the audience actually clapped during certain scenes, laughed quite a few times, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house at the end. Though it was extremely poignant for us West Virginians because there were people in the audience whose family members died in that horrible plane crash in 1970, and one of my high school friends was actually there at the crash site with her father who was a State Trooper, and I know other people who lost someone. However, aside from all that, this movie is extremely uplifting. When you are faced with such a horrendous tragedy as losing 75 people, 55 of whom were members of your football team with only a handful of players left as well as the head coach and family members of the football players and other university faculty, etc., it is completely devastating! I remember seeing scenes of the crash on TV, and it was horrible. And then to rebuild a team from scratch when no one even wanted to coach the Thundering Herd (Marshall's football team)? That's totally amazing!
And the way they went about it was ingenious! I didn't know a lot of the details of what happened after the crash or how hard it was to rebuild the team because I was 5 years old at the time, but the director/producer McG, the writer and all the actors really give you a sense of the horrendous loss that my hometown experienced and how they really did rise from the ashes to honor their teammates who perished on November 14, 1970. Even if you're not a sports fan, this movie shows the indelible spirit of the human condition and what you can accomplish if you really give 110%. Matthew McConauhey, Anthony Mackie and Matthew Fox and the entire cast gave absolutely incredible performances, and after the film ended Matt M and Matt Fox were both so choked up they could barely speak. And I guarantee that people who are not a little emotional after watching this film, then those folks didn't "see" what I saw--an Oscar-Winning film whether it gets nominated or not!
Lynne Logan Novelist/Screenwriter and very grateful fan of "We Are Marshall"
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