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The Program (1993)

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Several players from different backgrounds try to cope with the pressures of playing football at a major university. Each deals with the pressure differently, some turn to drinking, others to drugs, and some to studying.

Director:

David S. Ward
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Caan ... Sam Winters
Halle Berry ... Autumn Haley
Omar Epps ... Darnell Jefferson
Craig Sheffer ... Joe Kane
Kristy Swanson ... Camille Shafer
Abraham Benrubi ... Bud-Lite Kaminski
Duane Davis ... Alvin Mack
Jon Pennell Jon Pennell ... Bobby Collins (as Jon Maynard Pennell)
Joey Lauren Adams ... Louanne (as Joey Adams)
J.C. Quinn ... Joe's Father
Andrew Bryniarski ... Steve Lattimer
Leon Pridgen Leon Pridgen ... Ray Griffen (as J. Leon Pridgen II)
Michael Flippo Michael Flippo ... Coach Humes (as Mike Flippo)
Jeff Portell Jeff Portell ... Reporter #1
Ernest Dixon Ernest Dixon ... Coach Clayton
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Storyline

A college football coach is told by his bosses that unless they do better this season it could be his last. To bolster the team he recruits a talented tail back. A female student is assigned to help him assimilate with college life and that includes doing his studies because he spent his whole life just playing football. And he finds himself attracted to her and she already has a boyfriend who is also on the team but he might be more concern about losing his position than losing her to him. And the coach has to deal with his other players' situations like the team's quarterback who deals with his father being distant by drinking and it eventually gets him in trouble. And one of the team's defensive players is obviously using steroids but passes the drug tests. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Different Worlds They Come To Prove Themselves In The Gritty World Of College Football. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 September 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Challenge - Die Herausforderung See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$23,004,026
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original release of the film contained a scene where several ESU players lay on the yellow dividing line of a busy local road as a test of their courage. When two young men were killed, and several others injured, by imitating the stunt, Buena Vista excised the scene from the film. No post-theatrical versions of the movie feature the sequence, leading many to speculate that the studio destroyed the actual camera negatives of the scene. However, the scene can be found on YouTube. See more »

Goofs

During the Michigan game, several Michigan players are seen wearing jersey numbers that were retired by U of M decades before, including 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon's #98 and All-American end Ron Kramer's #87. See more »

Quotes

Alvin Mack: Hey 23, don't think I don't recognize you, you poo-butt motherfucker! Hey pay attention when I'm talking to you, nigga!
Mississippi Tailback: What?
Alvin Mack: You're the guy who shot my mother aren't you?
Mississippi Tailback: Shut up man, you know I never knew your mother.
Alvin Mack: You were trying to steal her car, you cocksucker. You didn't think I was going to find you nigga, but I got you now, nigga. I'm gonna bust your gut open and watch you die!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some scenes show college students lying in a street in the middle of car traffic as a way to prove their courage. A few weeks after the film's release, the studio recalled all copies and deleted this sequence from the picture in response to public outrage, because a few teenagers had been injured or killed imitating this deadly game. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Golic and Wingo: Episode #1.22 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Welcome to the Jungle
Written by Slash, Axl Rose, Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin' and Duff McKagan
Performed by Guns N' Roses
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Underrated, Accurate Football Movie Starring the Godfather's James Caan
20 October 2005 | by TheOliveBranchSee all my reviews

Trips Bunch. The Power I. The Cover 2. If you know what these terms mean, and understand their uses in football strategy, then you'll really enjoy watching David S. Ward's the Program. Ward also wrote and directed Major League, a great movie; however, with The Program, it is obvious how much his sports writing style has evolved.

The movie traces one season of college football for a once dominant, but now struggling Division 1 powerhouse, the fictional ESU Timeberwolves. James Caan is hilarious and well-cast as the Head Coach on the hot seat, and it's really great watching him deal with serious issues both on and off the field. Craig Shaeffer does a solid job at both his role and the QB position. His character is like a young, much more tortured Steve Young: he can throw the long ball, he can buy time with his feet, and he can do it all while battling inner demons. Omar Epps (the Wood) is simply perfectly cast as Darnell Jefferson, the prototype freshman Tailback fighting for his spot on the 1st team (plus the beautiful Halle Berry plays his love interest).

The movie is filled with hilariously awesome lines and performances, and is a classic among people who actually play football. While the editing work could be scrutinized among movie Nazis (the editing job when Kane and his girl are riding his motorcycle is questionable at times), the good far outweighs the bad. Namely, the in-helmet camera work really puts you on the field with them. Overall, David S. Ward does an excellent job of jumping from perspective to perspective, and it quickly builds into this chaotic, early 90s mosaic of Division 1 college football. And surprisingly, the issues explored in the film really resonate with the issues going on in today's sports (i.e. Steroids, Motorcycle death wishes).

Listen, if you haven't seen this movie, and you love football, and are of mild intelligence, then you are either really young or really lucky that you missed it because I wish i could watch it again for the first time. However, if you have no appreciation for the game of football, you're better off going elsewhere. Football idealists, be warned as well. This movie is the anti-Rudy. It's the story of one school's fight for a bowl bid, and fighting for that bid at all costs.

PS- My vote is very biased. I love to quote this movie with friends. I love to watch football on both Saturday and Sunday. I play fantasy football. I play Madden. I played Division 3 football in college. You have been warned.


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