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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
4,326 ( 715)

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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

Dick Butkus made his acting debut in this film playing himself in an uncredited role. 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

Gale Sayers: Oh, babe, you won't believe it. Brian *tried* to call me a nigger!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Brian's Song (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
It was an honor to cry at such a fine film
18 April 2003 | by MichaelMovieLoftSee all my reviews

This is one of the best football films ever made. Yes, it's not that long, but it is great. Billy Dee Williams and James Caan were just starting out their careers and TV movies were still fairly new. This is a story of two opposites, one who was shy and kept to himself and the other who was cocky and confident. There would eventually see past their differences and become the best of friends. I like the chemistry that Williams and Caan had in this film. They made you belive they were Sayers and Pic. What was the part that made me cry? It was the scene where Gale has to tell the team before a game that Brian has cancer. Even if I have to force it, I love to cry at that scene. It's the best part of the film. The musical score is also great. The theme has a tone to it I can't describe. I tried watching the remake when it came out, and couldn't make it through the first 15 minutes. It was Disneytized for my viewing displeasure. In my heart, Williams and Caan will always be Sayers and Pic. No doubt about it.


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