On November 23, 1968, Yale and Harvard's undefeated football teams met in Cambridge, with Yale heavily favored. Contemporary interviews with 30 men who played that day mix with game footage... See full summary »
On November 23, 1968, Yale and Harvard's undefeated football teams met in Cambridge, with Yale heavily favored. Contemporary interviews with 30 men who played that day mix with game footage (with instant replay). Led by Brian Dowling and Calvin Hill, Yale goes up 22-0. With less than one minute to play, Yale leads 29-13. For Harvard, the end is exhilarating; for Yale, supreme confidence gives way to a life lesson and to being a small part of football history. Adding context are comments about the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, Garry Trudeau's Yale cartoons, and players' friendships with George W. Bush (Yale), Al Gore (Harvard), and Meryl Streep (Vassar). Written by
Watching Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is like watching the greatest college football game you could ever imagine, and getting to know the players as it's happening. Even if you already know the final score, the process of getting there is spell-binding for anyone who enjoys watching sports (or has a pulse).
But it's much more than just an amazing football game. Through interviews with the players - now older and wiser - the film evokes the background of the times - 1968, perhaps the most tumultuous year in modern American history.
The players represented both sides of the political spectrum. Like other young people, many were war-protesters. Yet other players despised the protests - at least one was a proud Vietnam vet, who came to the Ivy Leagues after experiencing Khe Sanh.
But on a cold November day, the players and the fans throughout New England put aside these political differences to celebrate the drama of The Game. Through the interviews, we learn that Yale was very heavily favored (thus a tie was considered a "win" for Harvard). We learn about the different personalities - which Yale players knew George W. Bush, which Harvard guy roomed with Al Gore, who dated Meryl Streep, who was the inspiration for the football-player character in Doonesbury, etc.
But as the film progresses, these interviews slowly give way to a closer focus on the game itself. It's now late in the 4th quarter with the seconds ticking away. Harvard is still down by 16 points, and you are on the edge of your seat wondering how they are going to pull off this inspirational "victory", making everyone forget - at least for a brief moment - the darker battles then raging in America.
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