7.3/10
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50 user 85 critic

The Express (2008)

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A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

Director:

Gary Fleder
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rob Brown ... Ernie Davis
Dennis Quaid ... Ben Schwartzwalder
Darrin Dewitt Henson ... Jim Brown
Omar Benson Miller ... Jack Buckley
Nelsan Ellis ... Will Davis, Jr.
Charles S. Dutton ... Willie 'Pops' Davis
Justin Martin ... Young Ernie
Justin Jones Justin Jones ... Young Will
Nicole Beharie ... Sarah Ward
Aunjanue Ellis ... Marie Davis
Elizabeth Shivers ... Elizabeth Davis
Clancy Brown ... Roy Simmons
Danny McCarthy ... Bill Bell
Regina Hoyles ... Sister
Chelcie Ross ... Lew Andreas
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Storyline

This biopic focuses on the relationship of Ernie Davis (1939-1963), a gifted African-American athlete, and his coach from 1958 to 1962 at Syracuse University, Ben Schwartzwalder (1909-1993). Schwartzwalder recruits Davis with the help of All-American running back, Jim Brown. The civil rights movement is gaining steam; Davis experiences prejudice on campus, in town, and on the field, sometimes from teammates. How he handles it and how he challenges Schwartzwalder to stand up for his players provide a counterpoint to several great seasons that lead first to a national championship and then to the Heismann Trophy. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He changed our country... one yard at a time.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic content, violence and language involving racism, and for brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Express: The Ernie Davis Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Berwyn, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,562,675, 12 October 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$9,589,875, 2 November 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During Ernie Davis' Cleveland Browns physical, the doctor feels Davis' neck and asks if has been feeling well. Swollen lymph glands in the neck are a symptom of leukemia, they also can mean the body is just fighting infection. See more »

Goofs

In the movie, after Ernie Davis comes back into the game, Syracuse pulls away for the win on an 87-yard touchdown catch and run by Davis. In real life, the 87-yard catch and run occurred on the 3rd play (from scrimmage) of the game, on the second down and 27 after a holding penalty on Syracuse. See more »

Quotes

Texas Longhorn player: I'm gonna kick your black ass back to Africa boy!
Jack Buckley: Oh yeah? Too bad I'm from Philly.
See more »

Connections

References Stalag 17 (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Everybody Rock
Written by Jimmy McCracklin, Marlee Norse
Performed by Steve Biossat and Sway Chicago
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Ernie Davis's Story
2 June 2009 | by ChrysanthepopSee all my reviews

'The Express', though based on Ernie Davis's life, is given a very Hollywood treatment. The story is uplifting and even inspiring to some, especially how Davis chooses to fight racism, not with violence, but with American football. Yet, the film itself is sugarcoated and has the deja-vu feel. For example, it is easy to predict which team will win (as is the case with most sports film). However, the last 20 minutes were handled well. Those scenes could have easily been melodramatic but the director chooses to play it down here. The background score is very intrusive at times. I thought the issue of racism was well tackled. This isn't 'just another movie about racism' because the conflicts are well depicted and dealt with (like one would think it would be in the 50s). Dennis Quaid definitely moves a step forward from his usual average acting. It's impressive to see him get under the skin of the character rather than play the usual formula. Rob Brown does a fine job and holds his own. Overall, 'The Express' tells an important story about a man who made a difference in American history even though his name is not known to everyone.


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