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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.





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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sam Winters
... Autumn Haley
... Darnell Jefferson
... Joe Kane
... Camille Shafer
... Bud-Lite Kaminski
... Alvin Mack
Jon Pennell ... Bobby Collins (as Jon Maynard Pennell)
... Louanne (as Joey Adams)
... Joe's Father
... Steve Lattimer
Leon Pridgen ... Ray Griffen (as J. Leon Pridgen II)
Michael Flippo ... Coach Humes (as Mike Flippo)
Jeff Portell ... Reporter #1
Ernest Dixon ... Coach Clayton


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


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


Action | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

24 September 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Challenge - Die Herausforderung  »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Michigan coaching legend Glenn E. (Bo) Schembechler is in the booth providing color commentary for the Michigan game. See more »


Lattimer is seen getting a urine transfusion before the final game so he can pass his steroid test as it has been given by the coach. This is a medically impossible procedure to perform, especially from a med student who may not know what he or she is doing. See more »


Alvin Mack: Let's open up a can of kick ass and kill 'em all, let the paramedics sort 'em out.
See more »


Referenced in Workaholics: In the Line of Getting Fired (2011) See more »


Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Louis Knatchbull
Courtesy of Breton/APM Music
See more »

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User Reviews

What has become of my friend, James Caan
7 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

If I had to sum up this picture in one line I guess I would say, "Nice try." The major problem that I see is that David Ward tries to throw as many football cliches into an hour and a half movie as he can and, for the most part, the actors fail to rise above the mediocre script.

The cast is a talented one and this film helped to propel the careers of some semi-stars and one super star, but in the end the cliches are too much to overcome. We have Caan (who I have, do, and always will love no matter what roles he chooses) playing the long-time head coach whose job seems to be in jeopardy. And there's Craig Sheffer playing Heisman hopeful Joe Kane. Sheffer was wonderful in Robert Redford's adaptation of Norm MacLean's "A River Runs through It," but here he can't escape the cliche of the out-of-control star quarterback with father-son issues and a need to live life dangerously.

We also catch glimpses of the pumped up steroid user, the illiterate student athlete, the promising young freshman (Omar Epps), and the incumbent whose position he is trying to win.

Halle Berry, Kristy Swanson, and Joey Lauren Adams add some sex appeal to the film, but those early '90s wardrobes are hideous.

In my opinion this movie tries to show too much of everything, and in doing so, fails to show enough of anything. More of the plot should have been dedicated to the characters of Caan, Sheffer, or Epps in order to establish a better connection with the audience.

The football sequences are well done--I don't think any football movie has anything on this film here--but the characters aren't given enough time to develop.

Some things that annoy me about this movie: --Omar Epp's taunting as he is returning punts. It's so cheesy. --The terribly dated musical score. It's absolutely dreadful to listen to and almost ruins the entire movie.


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