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Brian's Song (1971)

Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying.

Director:

Buzz Kulik

Writers:

William Blinn, Gale Sayers (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
4,061 ( 907)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Brian Piccolo
Billy Dee Williams ... Gale Sayers
Jack Warden ... Coach Halas
Bernie Casey ... J.C. Caroline
Shelley Fabares ... Joy Piccolo
David Huddleston ... Ed McCaskey
Judy Pace ... Linda Sayers
Abe Gibron Abe Gibron ... Himself
Jack Concannon Jack Concannon ... Jack Concannon
Ed O'Bradovich Ed O'Bradovich ... Ed O'Bradovich
The Chicago Bears Players The Chicago Bears Players ... Themselves
The Chicago Bears Coaches The Chicago Bears Coaches ... Themselves
The Chicago Bears Staff The Chicago Bears Staff ... Themselves
Harold 'Happy' Hairston Harold 'Happy' Hairston ... Veteran Player #1 (as Happy Hairston)
Ron Feinberg ... Veteran Player #2 (Doug Atkins)
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Storyline

Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears and is befriended by Brian Piccolo, an over-achieving running back. Although they compete for the same spot on the team, and despite the fact that Sayers is black and Piccolo white, they become roommates on the road and very close friends, especially when Sayers is injured and Piccolo helps his recovery. Later, they and their wives must both deal with the harsh reality of Piccolo's cancer. Written by Jerry Milani <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An inspiring true story of friendship and courage.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Freunde bis in den Tod See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Screen Gems Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After its successful television broadcast on ABC, it was released theatrically. See more »

Goofs

After Gale Sayers makes the announcement in the locker room about Brian Piccolo's illness, and the team visits him in the hospital room, which is supposed to be in Chicago, the exterior hospital establishing shot clearly shows the name of the hospital, the "New North Hospital of Los Angeles." Further, while Brian Piccolo did return to Chicago for the diagnoses, he ultimately transferred to a hospital in New York City, which is where he died. See more »

Quotes

Brian Piccolo: Did you get a chance to talk to Linda today?
Gale Sayers: No, why?
Brian Piccolo: Well, I thought you might have heard. Joy's expecting again.
Gale Sayers: Hey, THAT'S GREAT!
Brian Piccolo: Yeah, we think so. You know, if it's a boy, we'd kind of like to name it after you!
Gale Sayers: NO KIDDING?
Brian Piccolo: Yeah! It's got a real nice ring to it... SPADE PICCOLO!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friends: The One with the Stoned Guy (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Brian's Song
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand Et Son Orchestre
[Theme]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
YOU'LL LAUGH, YOU'LL CRY, YOU'LL WANT TO PLAY FOOTBALL
5 November 2002 | by brianlionSee all my reviews

I still remember sitting down with my family to watch "Brian's Song", the made for TV movie in 1971. I was 13 years of age, and my 3 brothers and I thought we were going to watch a sports movie. It's funny thinking back to that night, as all the brothers fought back tears during the final scenes. We jumped up at the end, and tried to act macho and pretended we all had colds and runny noses. Watching the movie today, it doesn't have quite the same impact, but it remains touching and dramatic. James Caan and Billy D Williams work well together. They act without any arrogance and tough-guy attributes they picked up later in their careers. The movie score wraps around the scenes to add to the poignancy without disrupting the mood. Shelly Fabarase is the perfect wife. It is a touching tribute to a ordinary football player, Brian Piccolo, who lead a extraordinary life. A updated version of "Brian's Song" attempted to capture the magic of 1971's version, but as is usually the case, the attempt falls short of the goal. The original does the best at mourning Piccolo's death, but most importantly, celebrating his life. It is a touchdown!


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