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"Hey Pop, the time you hit Hazen in the mouth, was it worth 30 years?/ For me it was./ Then give me my damn shoe!"
Nazi_Fighter_David15 October 2008
Burt Reynolds plays Paul Crewe, a reprehensible character discovering, in a prison, dignity and esteem… You see him, at the beginning of the movie—as a rising star—beating up a woman, stealing her car, drunken driving, insulting cops in a bar, resisting arrest… He's seen so funny when he insulted the miniature cop who's about to arrest him, while the cop's partner is laughing openly…

Eddie Albert was very charming when he meets Paul Crewe at his arrival to Citrus State Prison… Aldrich wanted to play Warden Hazen as the guy who had the veneer of normalcy, the veneer of being a good executive, the veneer of keeping it all together till it starts unraveling… He really was just a despicable, oily, warden type… In one game scene, we see him over and over again, getting up just with that same look of shock on his face…

Ed Lauter (Captain Knauer) is wonderful… He runs the football team… He is a bad guy and he represents everything that is wrong with that prison system and everything else… He changes as a result… And to see that is just so delightful… He's got the classic Ed Lauter's scene at the end… James Hampton plays Caretaker, the character who brings the team all together and pushes Burt's character ahead to win the game…

Ray Nitschke plays the toughest, meanest linebacker in football… Richard Kiel, Bob Tessier, Charles Tyner, Michael Conrad, and Harry Caesar give the film a certain veracity, you almost thing you are in jail…
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A classic of the genre.
MovieAddict201615 June 2005
You just can't get away with this stuff anymore. In the first ten minutes, Burt Reynolds has beaten his girlfriend, stolen her car, gone on a massive police chase, dumped the sportscar off a bridge, then attacked two cops. Oh, and he's the hero of the movie, too.

Nowadays the remake -- starring Adam Sandler -- is rated PG-13 and he's a total wimp. Back in the '70s you could get away with being vicious, sexist, homophobic and racist and live to tell about it. In 2005, Adam Sandler says the F-word in one of his movies and parents are banning the film companies.

Yup, this film is clearly racist, homophobic and misogynist. Women are treated as sexual objects throughout, from the opening to the part where a prison warden's intern requests sexual favors from Burt Reynolds in return for handing him a movie-reel he needs.

African-Americans are portrayed as racist tough guys who are better than the whites at football, and they call whiteys "honkies" and other such words. In return all the whites are racist towards the blacks and it creates an interesting tension.

The homophobia sneaks into play when it's suggested one of the inmates is in love with Burt Reynolds. Quite a funny scene, actually.

"The Longest Yard" was one of Robert Aldrich's most successful films and many claimed it was him "selling out," but viewed 30 years later this really does stand apart from many of the other sports-comedy films of the decade. What is so special about "The Longest Yard" is probably that it plays like a mix between "Cool Hand Luke," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Smokey and the Bandit" -- it's got car chases, it's got sports, it's got funny stuff, BUT it also spends a lot of time developing its characters and creating some very dramatic sequences.

This is well directed, gritty, and fun -- not as much a "comedy" as you might expect, it is actually more serious. By the end of the film we've come to root for a bunch of murderers and rapists and even Burt Reynolds, and let's face it -- when was the last time you saw Burt Reynolds in a movie and actually LIKED his character?! A classic of the genre.
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Football and prison is a recipe for brutal mirth.
Spikeopath13 July 2008
Disgraced former pro football quarterback Paul Crewe is sent to prison after a drunken night to remember. The prison is run by Warden Hazen, a football nut who spies an opportunity to utilise Crewe's ability at the sport to enhance the prison guards teams skills. After initially declining to help, Crewe is swayed into putting together a team of convicts to take on the guards in a one off match, thieves, murderers and psychopaths collectively come together to literally, beat the guards, but Crewe also has his own personal demons to exorcise.

This violent, but wonderfully funny film has many things going for it. Directed with style by the gifted hands of Robert Aldrich, The Longest Yard cheekily examines the harshness of gridiron and fuses it with the brutality of the penal system. The script from Tracy Keenan Wynn is a sharp as a tack and Aldrich's use of split screens and slow motion sequences bring it all together very nicely indeed. I would also like to comment on the editing from Michael Luciano, nominated for the Oscar in that department, it didn't win, but in my honest opinion it's one of the best edited pictures from the 70s.

Taking the lead role of Crewe is Burt Reynolds, here he is at the peak of his powers (perhaps never better) and has star appeal positively bristling from every hair on his rugged chest. It's a great performance, believable in the action sequences (he was once a halfback for Florida), and crucially having the comic ability to make Wynn's script deliver the necessary mirth quota. What is of most interest to me is that Crewe is a less than honourable guy, the first 15 minutes of the film gives us all we need to know about his make up, but much like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest the following year, The Longest Yard has us rooting for the main protagonist entering the home straight, and that is something of a testament to Reynolds' charm and charisma.

The film's crowning glory is the football game itself, taking up three parts of an hour, the highest compliment I can give it is to say that one doesn't need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy this final third. It's highly engaging as a comedy piece whilst also being octane inventive as an action junkie's series of events. A number of former gridiron stars fill out both sides of the teams to instill a high believability factor into the match itself, and the ending is a pure rewarding punch the air piece of cinema. 9/10
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Real men; no schtick
JulieKelleher573 January 2000
"The Longest Yard" does not depend on the tiresome innocent-man-behind-bars schtick to evoke the inmates' humanity. Crew, Caretaker, et al are not men because they have been falsely accused, but because they maintain their manhood under conditions of mental and physical cruelty. Their humanity isn't a plot or script convention, but the core of their character. It's refreshing to discover that you're cheering for criminals despite their unapologetic bravado. IMHO, the best "prison" film ever made.
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Has aged well after 25+ years
ZR RIFLE13 February 2001
After seeing this flick again last year after I don't know how long, at first I wondered why I used to really like this film. But after watching the whole thing to the end, I remember why. This is one of those films that generated a whole bunch of "copy-cat" movies, none which are even worth remembering (or seeing). Sure, it's a macho-man movie, but it works, and to see the talent (both actors and ex-pro ball players) on the screen, this is a movie you can watch over and over. By the way, it was refreshing to see the widescreen DVD version which was just released.
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You Gotta Be A Football Hero
bkoganbing31 October 2009
The Longest Yard refers not to the territory gained and lost in a football game. For Burt Reynolds its that prison yard that he's in for the next 18 months.

Reynolds isn't one of the noblest athletes ever to grace the National Football League. He was a quarterback who was thrown out of the game in a point shaving scandal. Now he's doing time for stealing his mistress's Maserati and causing a lot of havoc and mayhem when she called the cops on him.

The Longest Yard starts to look a little like From Here To Eternity where Monty Clift's company captain Philip Ober wants him to box for the post championship. Reynolds really isn't interested in playing football any more or helping warden Eddie Albert out with his semi-pro team of prison guards. But he's got less redress than Clift did in the army and Reynolds is not a person to make too fine a point of resistance.

What Reynolds suggests is a tune-up game with a squad of the inmates to play the guards to keep them in a fighting edge. Sounds real good to Albert who has a mean streak in him that Reynolds is slow to realize. There's a lot of possibilities to inflict some legal pain and for him to reassert his authority.

The Longest Yard is first and foremost about what Reynolds will do when the crisis comes. His track record doesn't suggest any heroics, but some people do surprise you.

The antagonists Reynolds and Albert are given good support by director Robert Aldrich's picked cast. Foremost among them are Ed Lauter as the chief guard, James Hampton as the team manager, and Charles Tyner in a particularly loathsome role as a prison stoolie. He will really make your skin crawl.

Bernadette Peters is also in The Longest Yard as Albert's secretary with the delightful name of Miss Toot who takes advantage of her position with a little sexual harassment of the prisoners. I do love that Dickensian name that was given her for this film. The only other female of note is Anitra Ford who is Reynolds mistress and whose Maserati he appropriates. When Burt says he earned that Maserati you can well believe it.

The Longest Yard is in a class by itself, a sports/prison movie. A film that created it's own genre. That has to count for something.
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the greatest football film ever... period
movieman_kev17 May 2005
Burt Reynolds plays Paul Crewe a real man's man. After showing his woman who's boss, he splits in her car and after a great chase scene, the police find him in a bar. So the ex-football player is sent to prison, where the warden offers to shave off some time if he makes a team of the convicts to fight (and lose to) the guards' semi-pro team in a pre-season game. Every part of the movie screams greatness. From the excellent acting all around, to the superb casting (Adam Sandler can't hold a candle to Burt in this movie, that remake is gonna be horrid) Ed Lauter is a great heavy , to the great tension-filled football game that comprises a good deal of the latter half of the movie. This is one of the exceedingly too few MAN's movie and they sadly don't make them like this anymore.

My Grade: A

DVD Extras: Commentary by Burt Reynolds and Writer Albert Ruddy (Among the best I've heard); 11 minute "Doing time on the Longest Yard" featurette; 11 minute "Unleashing the Mean Machine" retrospective; an exclusive look at the re-make (looking absolute crap); Theatrical Trailer;Trailers for "The Longest Yard" remake, "Coach Carter", "Macgyver: Season 1", and "Tommy Boy"

Eye Candy: Anita Ford in a red see-thru number
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I Don't Know Why I Like It
Hitchcoc14 September 2001
If there ever was a manipulative film, this is it. By the end you are rooting for the prisoners (the nice guys, you know, armed robbers, murderers, rapists, child molesters) against those awful guards. Those poor sweet prisoners, being taken advantage of by those sadistic guards. Then there's the warden, Mr. Douglas from Green Acres, Eddie Albert. Rotten to the core. Bert Reynolds is his mugging best, first selling out, then winning one for the Gipper. It is violent, raucous, ridiculous from the stolen uniforms to the cross dressing cheerleaders. I am a non violent person, I knew everything was designed to work over my prejudices and my primitive feelings of revenge. And yet, when the game started, I was transfixed. I don't get it. Have I no taste?
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Game Ball
RNMorton26 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Gets my Game Ball for the best football movie of all time along with The Best of Times. Always out there lurking just outside my list of ten favorite movies of all time. Burt, run out of pro ball for fixing games, goes loco on his bitchy girl friend and her exoticar and gets sent up the river for some hard time. His state prison guards boast the best football team in the state, and the warden (exquisitely played by Eddie Albert) would like Burt to give his championship team a nice warm up game. Burt puts together a better team of inmates than anyone expects and the fun begins. One of Burt's best performances, helped along by Albert, Michael Conrad and some former NFL stars, including Ray Nitschke, Joe Kapp and Sonny Sixkiller. His-tor-eee
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A 70s standout and Burt Reynolds' most impressive film performance
hnt_dnl14 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
THE LONGEST YARD (1974) is one of my favorite movies from the 1970s. On the surface, it's a by-the-numbers pre-Rocky underdog lighthearted comic tale of an eclectic mix of rural prison inmates, who band together to form a decent football team to challenge the semi-pro prison guard team. But it has a lot more going for it underneath as well. The movie has several running themes: morality, racism, inhumanity, camaraderie and does it with such ease and aplomb that puts to shame most so-called "better", "more serious" movies that hit these topics head on. These ideas fit like a glove within the plot and story of this timeless film.

Burt Reynolds (in his greatest performance) stars as disgraced former pro quarterback Paul Crewe, who was banned from the sport for point-shaving. Crewe gets into an altercation with his girlfriend, steals her car, then she has him arrested. He is sentenced to 18 months in a rural chain gang prison. Crewe just wants to do his time peacefully so he can move on. But the martinet prison Warden Hazen (the esteemed Eddie Albert in his greatest film role) forces Crewe to put together the inmate football team (called the "Mean Machine") to take on the guards to showcase the talents of his semi-pro team, but also to demean Crewe and his fellow inmates.

Reynolds and Albert are so smashingly good in their protagonist-antagonist roles that they were both worthy of Oscar noms. Their final confrontation is one for the ages.

The superb supporting cast includes Ed Lauter (as hard-nosed head prison guard Capt Knauer), Michael Conrad (as former footballer Nate Scarboro, who had a shortened career due to a bum knee), James Hampton (effortless as Crewe's sidekick and team organizer Caretaker), and Harry Caesar (as hard-working, dignified, and athletically gifted Granville).

Directed by Robert Aldrich, THE LONGEST YARD is one of the rare "man's man" films out there. But it doesn't come across as a cliché, chest-pumping exercise in testosterone, mainly because the characters aren't one-dimensional. Each key character is given enough detail to humanize them to the viewer. The big football game is one of the most realistic ever filmed, interspersing realistic, long-view shots of the game action with sideline scenes. No surprise that Reynolds looks so convincing on the field as he was a football player in real life before turning to acting. Both the football ending and the actual movie ending are among my favorites of any movie ever...A classic!
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Very good prison drama
TheLittleSongbird10 May 2010
It is admittedly manipulative and quite violent, and being filled to the brim with references to The Dirty Dozen and the corrupt regime of President Nixon, it can be a little heavy-handed. These aside though, it is very well made with crisp cinematography and an imposing building for the prison, and the comedy is boisterous and comes by thick and fast, and it is pretty hard to beat with this on showing loyalty, dignity and liberty. Robert Aldrich directs with panache, the music is very good, the story is gripping, the script is sharp and the acting is excellent. Burt Reynolds exudes star quality as the imprisoned football professional who is forced to organise a team of convicts against their own guards, and it was nice to see Bernadette Peters as the Warden's secretary. But it is Eddie Albert who steals the acting honours as the sadistic warden. Overall, a very good prison drama, and definitely recommended. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Manipulative, But Brainless Fun For 2 Hours
ccthemovieman-125 January 2010
Overall, a brainless-but-lots of fun flick and very fast-moving one, typically sleazy (er, "gritty," as critics preferred to call them) movie of its decade.

In the 1970s, who better than make a thug into a lovable, good guy we all want to root for than Burt Reynolds? Box-office-wise, Burt was the hottest thing going in the '70s and playing a lawbreaker seemed to be tailor-made for him, from "Smokey And The Bandit" on down the line.

The shock in this movie was seeing nice-guy Eddie Albert play the mean warden, but he pulled it off convincingly. Most of the characters in this movie are over-the-top, but that was the idea.

This movie manipulates all of us to root for the prisoners in the big football games against the prison guards. In essence, that's the story in this film: a big football game played between prison inmates and the guards. Along the way, Burt gives us his normal glib-but-entertaining wisecracks and personality and we get some wild characters to go with him, such as the very likable "Caretaker" (James Hampton).

Burt is macho enough, as the quarterback here, for the guys to respect him, and still be a ladies' favorite. I can't say the same for Richard Kiel, but "Jaws" (as became later in a James Bond movie), was always fun to watch. Some real-life pro goons, like Green Bay's Ray Nitchke, join the cast for some gridiron realism.

In the end, its a clichéd, but fun two hours of escapism.
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Great fun!!
ramsfan28 February 2009
One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) box office stars of the 70's, Burt Reynolds, was well cast in 1974's "The Longest Yard". A former college football player at Florida State University, Reynolds plays Paul Crewe, a former pro quarterback who has disgraced himself by throwing games. He lands himself in prison after slapping his girlfriend around, stealing her car and assaulting two cops. The prison, Citrus State, has a semi-pro football team comprised of the institution's guards and is run by the power hungry warden Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert). At Hazen's behest and to make his prison term as peaceful as possible, Crewe agrees to assemble a team of fellow cons to give the guards a scrimmage. This of course sets up the final third of the film.

"The Longest Yard" is entertaining through and through; there is not one sequence in the movie which drags on. The interplay between Reynolds and his collection of convicts is a riot. Fine support is given by character actors Michael Conrad, Harry Caesar, Richard Kiel and Robert Tessier as cons. Real life NFL stars Ray Nitschke and Joe Kapp, representing the guardsmen, lend authenticity to the live football action. Ed Lauter (Capt. Wilhelm Knauer), the leader and quarterback of the guards, provides an excellent counter to Reynolds character.

If there is a disturbing element to the film, it is the knowledge that one watches this movie rooting for the convicts- the worst society has to offer. This is effectively off set by depicting them humanely while showing the guards as racist and demeaning. The stereotypical southern prison suggests some of these cons (especially the minorities) were more than likely railroaded or at the very least given harsher sentences than they deserved.

This movie was typical of the times for its gritty and impoliticly correct themes- a breath of fresh air compared to today's ultra sensitive society. And the recent remake, as usual in these instances, doesn't compare to the wit and fun of its predecessor; Adam Sandler couldn't hold Burt Reynolds' jock as an entertainer.

One of my favorites!
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Cool Hand Burt with a pigskin
Poseidon-35 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Reynolds, near the beginning of his wild ride to fame, is close to his sexiest in this cheeky, rough, but very entertaining, prison/football flick. He plays a careless, disrespectful kept man who is jailed for theft when he shoves around his benefactress Ford and takes off in her car. Thanks to his credentials as an ex-pro football player, the prison warden Albert requests his aid in coaching the semi-pro team, consisting of the prison's brutal guards. Chief guard Lauter refuses to allow Reynolds to have any input, but Albert recruits him in another way, asking him to form a team made up of convicts so that the guards' team can build up their strength and strategy. The film details his selection of the players and the trials they undergo in order to make it to the big game, a game which takes up nearly the entire second half of the movie. Reynolds starts the film off with longish hair and a moustache and sports a hilarious, yet very sexy, 1970's pantsuit. He then gets a haircut and a shave and looks even better. His smart-aleck charm and affinity for football are on full display here. His interactions with the various cons give him ample opportunity to do what he does best. Albert is a far cry from his amiable sitcom persona and is surprisingly intense and even scary in his role. Hampton plays one of his better screen roles as Reynolds' right hand man and friendly know-it-all. Other familiar actors such as Lauter and Henry as guards and Conrad and Tessier as fellow prisoners dot the cast. Quite surprising as well is a cameo turn by Peters as the impossibly-coiffed, amorous secretary to Albert. Known primarily for her stage work at the time, she received the role through her friendship with Reynolds. The film takes its time telling its story, letting Reynolds potentially unlikable character win over the audience as he wins over his cellmates. Filming in a real prison (located in Georgia, despite the film's Florida setting, and overseen by none other than Governor Jimmy Carter) and on sweltering outdoor locations help set the right mood. A crowd-pleasing, even inspirational film to many a young man, it was remade by Adam Sandler in 2005.
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The Mean Machine....
Nozze-Musica12 June 2005
Tongue and Cheek satire and sports movies generally are not exactly two movies genres that you combine together, however Burt Reynolds did not believe that, and as a result he starred in a movie that manages to be funny, poignant, intense, and everything in-between. I really don't know how the writers, producers and directors came up with something that turned out to be so awesome. The Longest Yard is masterful, it is funny, but it isn't a comedy, there is a lot of football but it is more than a just a sports movie, this is a hard movie to classify and maybe that is the reason it is so good.

Burt Reynolds plays a washed up football player who winds up in the slammer for drunk driving. While there the warden asks him to put together a football team to go up against the prison guards, who play in a semi-professional league. The prisoners are an interesting group of misfits and criminals, played perfectly by the various character actors in the parts. Burt Reynolds manages to be a brilliant lead of all of these crazy cons, and is perfect in this part. This movie is great but it doesn't exactly scream out greatness at first. This is a movie where you will be half way through and you will realize this is just a great movie to watch.

Aside from the fact it is just an off-beat movie it is hard to understand why this movie is so good, I don't know why myself, the jokes are not really laugh out loud hysterical, but it becomes apparent the reason this movie is so good is because it really ventured into areas that few films had, and while there are references to racial problems, homosexuality, although very muted, prison violence, crooked law enforcement officials and other issues rarely discussed on screen.

What I am surprised at is that these issues become prominent, and something you heed in the movie, and at the same time the over the top satire merges with this movie perfectly. Even watching a movie like this as compared to other comedies that raise marginally controversial issues like racism, such as Police Academy, Police Academy sort of makes a comedy out of racism and sexism, and to a lesser degree a movie like Caddyshack, but this movie puts the comedy and the controversial issues together, not making them one, but two completely different facets of the movie. Normally when you have a movie that is as intense as this it is hard to have such satirical elements in a movie and be a good movie, but this movie combines the two elements so effortlessly.

This is definitely an underdog movie, in that the prisoners are supposed to lose, they are a bunch of cons that rarely if ever played football, and have no chance going up against a semi-professional team. The characters, too numerous to name make this movie that much better. The movie also is a prison movie, and is successful at that, this is one of those movies, everything just clicked right, and the result is near perfection. One reason to watch this movie is Eddie Albert, as the ever smiling and smugly pleasant prison warden who is the mastermind of the entire affair, he is just perfect here, so meticulously uttering every word to the point that he looks like he is in pain, and he is perfect in the role. James Hampton also has an excellent part as Reynolds' sidekick in prison. This is just an all around great movie excellent in so many different ways.

I watch a movie like this, and I wonder why there are so few movies like this today, movies so offbeat but funny, movies that actually have decent acting, movies that are this interesting, instead of typical silly fare you would get like a dumb teen movie or a dumb action movie. This movie is priceless in a way. When I first heard of the movie I didn't think it would be that good, but when I watched it I realized why it was Oscar nominated and so well thought of. I don't know why it clicked, but it did, and the result is a film definitely worth seeing, and one of the best of the 1970s.
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Jokey jock-brutality
moonspinner5511 June 2005
Disgraced ex-pro football player Burt Reynolds is sent to prison after dumping his lover's car in the drink and assaulting two police officers; once behind bars, the oily warden coerces him into turning the other inmates into football players to compete with the guards in a game. Great story for a funny farce, but "The Longest Yard" isn't all cartoonish fun, it has some dimensions, and director Robert Aldrich is easy on the transitions in tone. The inmates look a bit long-in-the-tooth to be playing an extended, crushing game on the gridiron, but Reynolds' comic double-takes are very amusing, and the supporting cast is full of colorful characters, particularly James Hampton as Caretaker, Michael Conrad as Scarboro and Bernadette Peters as a secretary (whose beehive is a punchline all on its own). There's too much emphasis on what a jerk warden Eddie Albert is, and too many shots of him looking aghast, and Ed Lauter's menacing act as the chief guard is tiresome, but the movie is surprisingly low-keyed and looks convincing. The split-screen visuals once the game gets going are fantastic, showing Aldrich's keen eye in capturing different behavior, although the game itself seems to go on forever--these players would be passed out from sheer exhaustion--and the warden's threats still hang in the air, unresolved. *** from ****
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A man's movie!
Zoooma28 January 2014
I've seen this one before, at least 2 or 3 times in my adult life and a few, I'm sure, as a kid watching with my dad. It's been a good dozen years since I last saw it and it's amazing how much of the movie I was familiar with -- about every scene. Prison movie, football movie, Burt Reynolds movie, even has a pretty good car chase! This is without a doubt a man's movie. Is that sexist? I don't want to be but it really is. I am not saying women can't watch it and enjoy it just as much as their male counterparts, but this is what being a man is all about! Don't give me no Pretty Woman or Steel Magnolias on a Sunday afternoon, give me football, hard hitting American football! Thank you director Robert Aldrich and thank you Burt for this fun and well acted 70's classic!

--A Kat Pirate Screener
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when Burt was a star
blanche-215 August 2011
Burt Reynolds was one of the biggest stars of the '70s, but like a lot of '70s stars (Faye Dunaway, Michael Serrizan, Karen Black, etc.) other decades have not been so kind to him. Here he stars in one of his finest films, "The Longest Yard," made in 1974, directed by Robert Aldrich, and also starring Eddie Albert, Michael Conrad, Ed Lauter, James Hampton, and Bernadette Peters.

Reynolds plays Paul Crewe, a football player who goes to prison after he hits his ex-girlfriend, steals her car, and runs it into the river. He's a football player with a scandal in his past, when he was suspected of shaving points off of a game.

The sadistic warden (Eddie Albert) wants him to organize a football team for the prisoners so that they can play the guards. The real agenda is that on the football field, the guards will be able to practically beat the prisoners senseless. With the help of Caretaker (James Hampton), Paul chooses a football team and starts training them. On the day of the big game, he gets an offer that he should refuse but might not be able to.

This is a really fine film. I wouldn't call it a comedy, but it's one of those movies where you wind up rooting for the bad guys. Reynolds' character learns self-esteem, pride in his work, and also a sense of camaraderie. The football game itself is very exciting.

"The Longest Yard" is a film that holds up well, and not the usual type of prison movie you'd see today. And Bernadette Peters' hairdo is a no-miss!
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I gotta be a football hero!
clydestuff17 March 2004
If one were to look at a Burt Reynolds film resume from over the years, he would have to look long and hard to find many gems. In comparison to some of his films such as Smokey And The Bandit II, Cannonball Run, and Stroker Ace for example, The Longest Yard is not only a gem, it's the Hope Diamond.

Reynolds plays down on his luck, ex-NFL quarterback Paul Crewe. Seems he was kicked out of football for shaving points in the game, and is now relegated to servicing his rich girl friend. One afternoon, when the girlfriend makes the mistake of interrupting his football viewing, Crewe steals her Maserati and drives it into the nearby bay. After a quick car chase and a funny scene when Crewe is arrested in a bar, he is sent off to prison. As it turns out it is just not any ordinary prison. It seems Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert)hires the guards on their ability to play football. It also seems Hazen has arranged for Crewe to be sent to his particular prison so that Crewe can organize a football team of the inmates, quarterback them, and play a game against the guards. A totally preposterous plot it is, but that's part of what makes this film so enjoyable.

The Longest Yard works so well is not because the acting is Academy Award stuff, it's because Producer Albert Ruddy and Director Robert Aldrich seemed to have found the perfect cast for the roles they inhabit. Having played football in college, Reynolds fits the role of quarterback Crewe perfectly. Eddie Albert as sleazy Warden Hazen, will make you forget about that thing he did called Green Acres.

James Hampton, who has floundered around in Hollywood as a character actor, has his best role ever as Caretaker. Crewe makes Caretaker his manager because it seems he has a knack for obtaining certain contraband that would otherwise be out of Crewe's clutches. Some of the items he acquires are not only funny, but there's also a certain service Crewe has to perform to get some of them. I'll not tell you what it is but leave it to you to see the film.

Michael Conrad, who plays aging ex-football player Nate Scarboro, also joins in the fun when he agrees to help coach Crewe's team on the slim chance that the inmates might pull an upset. Let's just say some of his coaching ideas are unique, as our many of the coaching ideas in this film. That's OK because it only serves to add to the fun.

Harry Caesar as Granville, the first black player to join the team, shows there are more than enough reasons for him to play football. It takes Granville being humiliated by the guards trying to discourage him from playing before the other black inmates join in the fun. In the scene where the guards are demeaning him, he doesn't get rattled, yet we can sense his rage beneath the surface. There's also Pop(John Steadman)who has been lingering in prison for a few extra years because he once punched a certain guard who became a Warden. He becomes the team's trainer, and has one brief but memorable moment with Crewe during the football game.

What most people remember about The Longest Yard is the big game, but everything leading up to it is just as enjoyable. There is the favor that Crewe has to do for the Warden's secretary (Bernadette Peters with the strangest hair do I've ever seen). The scenes where Crewe is recruiting the inmates are classic, especially when he interviews a couple of inmates named Samson(Richard Kiel), Shokner (Robert Tessier) and Indian (Sonny Sixkiller). When the team begins practicing, how they go from being really really bad to fairly decent is as entertaining as the rest of the film.

As for the football game itself, it is undoubtedly one of the most hilarious sporting events of any kind to be put on the big screen. Aldrich takes each moment of the game and makes it count. If you have never seen the film, it'll have you rolling on the floor. If you have seen it as I have many times, just thinking about it will bring a smile of recollection to your face. You'll see things in this game you'll never get the chance to witness on Monday night football.

If there are any missteps in this film, they are minor. One is a detestable slimy inmate named Unger (Charles Tyner) is introduced into the story when it is not necessary. He is here only as a plot device to do two things, the first is to carry out a despicable act, and the second is because of Unger, Crewe is forced into a bad decision late in the film. It would have been easily to find a way to do this without introducing Unger into an otherwise enjoyable film.

Despite that, there is no doubt that you'll enjoy The Longest Yard, even if you don't like football. Aldrich, Ruddy, and Reynolds have scored a touchdown and a two point conversion. When you score like that you get my coaching grade, and for The Longest Yard it's an A-.
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Very Entertaining Movie
abcceo-125 July 2005
This movie was filmed at the Reidsville Penitentiary in Reidsville, Georgia. The prison is located in Tatnall County in South Georgia. A portion of the movie was filmed on my property which consisted of approximately 1500 acres of land adjacent to the prison property. I was present for much of the filming and enjoyed the experience. The movie is memorable and Burt Reynolds was in his prime. You will no doubt recognize a number of stars in the movie, such as Eddie Albert, Michael Conrad, Ed Lauter, and many many others. Enjoy the movie as it truly demonstrates the mentality of certain of the officials that existed in that day and time.
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Burt Reynolds at his best!
KLB29 May 1999
What a great movie combining comedy and music into a SPORTS movie. Burt's second best movie behind Smokey And The Bandit, in my opinion. Another one of Robert Aldrich's great films. Has many good actors in it including Eddie Albert who plays a very different character for those used to his green acres character. Richard Keil is also in this movie. I love it. Great movie for football lovers, Burt Reynold's lovers and comedy lovers.
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Score in prison, with extra point
Kakueke16 November 2001
I love this movie, it is a load of fun. No prison movie I can think of is so removed from the experience of a prison, even as one experiences it, an oxymoron. We are exposed to a warden, Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert), who becomes increasingly contemptible, ultimately even more so than the guards (that is not always the case). This distinction also reflects a reversal (somewhat) of the passions felt earlier in the movie. But it's best to have the focus, the villain, at the top, isn't it? OK, "The Longest Yard" is not really a prison movie, sort of like Florida, in which this film is set, is said not to be a Southern state. The concept of the film provides the crescendo, the climax, which we look for but do not always get in a prison movie or other movies, and also takes us out of the prison.

Burt Reynolds plays an ex-football star (Paul Crewe) who has wound up in a Florida penitentiary, and who leads the inmates in opposing the guards in a tuneup game requested by Hazen, in pursuit of the goal of a semipro championship. The championship has eluded the guards in the past, and Hazen wants it even more than the guards themselves. Crewe is in prison for reasons other than the fact that he had previously thrown football games. Nevertheless, that theme re-emerges between Hazen and Crewe, portrayed excellently by Reynolds and Albert, who are joined by, besides ordinary actors, football greats Ray Nitschke (guards), Joe Kapp (guards), and Sonny Sixkiller (inmates). There are some intense and nasty prison scenes, but the pigskin is the thing.

Well, OK, "The Longest Yard" is also different from other prison movies because of the presence of much humor, focusing on Crewe himself, Crewe's love interests (more interesting out of prison than [Bernadette Peters] in), and various inmates, such as George Samson (played by Richard Kiel, of Jaws renown) and Connie Shokner (Robert Tessser). The film gets you to cheer for the "murderers and rapists," of course, as we are told, "these people never had nothing, Crewe, you had it all.." Indeed, the script is very effective in galvanizing us to favor the prisoners as the events transpire (bonding by leadership; the prisoners are black and white, of course, and the guards all-white, natch). Hazen, meanwhile, is a sadistically cruel cheat, and this is one of many reasons viewers do not feel cheated at the film's finale, which is as good as it can possibly be. An All-American and macho movie, yes, but it should be enjoyable by all.

10 out of 10
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better version
SnoopyStyle23 December 2018
Bitter former football player Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) gets into a physical fight with his girlfriend and gets sent to prison. Everybody dismisses Crewe for suspected point shaving. Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert) manages a semi-pro football team of prison guards. Captain Knauer (Ed Lauter) leads the team and orders Crewe from joining. Hazen is not happy with Knauer's result. Crewe reluctantly agrees to organize a prisoners team and play an exhibition game.

I don't mind the Adam Sandler version but it's nothing great. This version is so much better. It is darker. It's not as jokey but the black comedy hits so much harder. It starts dark with Crewe hitting his girlfriend. At first, it doesn't even seem like a comedy except for Burt's casual sly mannerisms. It reminds me of other serious prison dramas until it turns more into a sports movie. So it works as both genre. It has great emotions and touching relationships. It's a good drama and has a great feel good development. It essentially works in all areas.
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Highly Entertaining Mix of Laughs and Drama
Michael_Elliott9 September 2018
The Longest Yard (1974)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Former quarterback Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) is arrested on drunken and disorderly charges and is sent to prison where the warden (Eddie Albert) wants him to coach the guard's semi-pro team. Crewe refuses but he's eventually forced into starting up a team among the convicts for a game against the guards.

THE LONGEST YARD isn't the most sophisticated film that you're ever going to watch but there's no question that it's two hours worth of wonderful entertainment. The film is rather raunchy at times but the comedy is fast and steady and there's no question that you've got a terrific cast and a pretty good story for them to carry. The film mixes up the sports genre as well as the prison drama and it does a very good job in regards to keeping the film flowing at a great pace and with some high entertainment.

To me this is a film that continues to get better no matter how many times you watch it. What's so great about the film is that it works perfectly as a sports film as you got a great group of underdogs going up against a team of guards who are of course shown as being the bad guys. I've heard some argue that the film makes heroes out of killers and rapists but I think that issues are people overthinking the film a bit too much.

Reynolds turns in one of the best performances of his career as he really does play a low jerk perfectly. This guy is someone you really want to like but hte character is just so shady that you also don't mind really hating him. To me Reynolds perfectly played all sides of this guy and did a great job with it. Albert is especially wonderful as the jerk warden and you will certainly enjoy hating him. Ed Lauter makes for a great villain and we get great support from Michael Conrad, James Hampton and Richard Kiel.

THE LONGEST YARD has a football game that takes up a third of the picture and as a sports fan this entire sequence is wonderfully done. The fact that director Robert Aldrich decided to shoot and spend so much time with the football was a great decision because it's full of great laughs but also some great drama. Fans of Reynolds are certainly going to love the picture as are those who enjoy some dirty comedy and great sports drama.
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A harsh look at prison life.
alexanderdavies-9938223 June 2017
You could be forgiven for believing that Burt Reynolds can only play comedic characters and not capable of drama. Well, you would be wrong. He is very comfortable here in a serious drama about prison life in general - with emphasis placed upon the harsh reality of being a convict. "The Longest Yard" is definitely one of the better films from Burt Reynolds. The plot, dialogue, acting, direction and photography fit the bill. The supporting cast includes Eddie Albert and Ed Lauter as two great villains. There is some humour once in a while but the film is uncompromising regarding the harsh treatment to which the convicts are subjected. The football game section is undoubtedly the highlight of "The Longest Yard" but the film is well made on all fronts.
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