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A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story (1991)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Sport | TV Movie 2 April 1991
In the early 1980s, football star Ricky Bell befriends Ryan Blankenship, a disabled boy.


Richard Michaels


Jeff Andrus

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Van Peebles ... Ricky Bell
Susan Ruttan ... Carol
Lane R. Davis Lane R. Davis ... Ryan Blankenship (as Lane Davis)
Lynn Whitfield ... Natala
Adam Faraizl Adam Faraizl
Polly Holliday ... Ruth
Jay Pennison Jay Pennison
John Schuhmacher John Schuhmacher
James Zachery James Zachery
Dennis Letts ... Ed
Woody Watson ... Larry
Marcus Allen ... Himself
Tony Davis Tony Davis ... Himself
Charles White Charles White ... Himself
Rob McKinnon ... Doctor #1


A poignant story in the mode of "Brian's Song" and "Something for Joey". This is the tale of Ricky Bell, an all-pro running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who died of a rare muscle disease in the prime of his career. The plot centers on Bell's relationship with a father-less handicapped boy, and his efforts to be a big brother to him. The boy ends up being an inspiration for Bell when his disease makes the athlete more afflicted than the boy. Written by Bill Wendel

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Sport


Not Rated






Release Date:

2 April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Força de uma Amizade See more »

Filming Locations:

Houston, Texas, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

awesome movie and found a copy finally after 10 years
16 February 2014 | by newhome34689See all my reviews

I was so into this I went online and found someone who has this movie.

go to a website called Bucstop and search for the movie there! And I found it! The best part is the end on the hospital bed. So sad but so good!

Ricky Bell was drafted the no.1 pick in 1977 in a highly debated move ahead of Tony Dorsett. John McKay coach of the Bucs drafted Bell over Dorsett because he was familiar with him.

Of course hindsight is 20/20. Bell would have been an all pro behind that Dallas Line and Dorsett would have struggled in '77 and 78 too with the lack of a good line. But by 1979 the Bucs had a good sized line and dominated the line of scrimmage.

But by 1980 and 81 Bells injuries took longer to heal. The football action in this movie was filmed at Tampa Stadium for the Bucs/Vikings game 1990 season. If you look close you'll see Vinny Testeverde hand the ball off not the NO.12 they had in the film who played Doug Williams! Which was incorrect because in 1981 that Bucs/Vikes game was a night game!


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