51 user 26 critic

Forever Strong (2008)

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A rugby player is put up in a juvenile detention center. There he plays for the Highland Rugby team and ultimately plays against his father in the National Championships.


Ryan Little


David Pliler, Dony West (song)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cole ... Coach Larry Gelwix
Sean Astin ... Marcus Tate
Neal McDonough ... Coach Richard Penning
Sean Faris ... Rick Penning
Julie Warner ... Natalie Penning
Penn Badgley ... Lars
Eliot Schwartz Eliot Schwartz ... Marty (as Eliot Benjamin)
Michael J. Pagan ... Kurt
Nathan West ... Quentin
Max Kasch ... Griggs
Arielle Kebbel ... Emily
Kepa Kruse ... Tumo (as John Kepa Kruse)
Junior Salt Junior Salt ... Peeta
Jeremy Earl ... Sanchez
Larry Bagby ... Coach Cal


Rick Penning, the 17-year-old star player on his coach/father's rugby team, lands inside the Wasatch County Juvenile Detention Center following his second drunk driving conviction (and where his father leaves him to rot). Mistrust and dislike of the situation makes Rick anything but a model prisoner, but counselors at the center nonetheless hook him up with the Highland Rugby Team, a team renowned for its long string of successive state championships. Its coach, Larry Gelwix, has a surprisingly unexpected philosophy: train boys to be champions in life first, then on the field. Rick doesn't buy into this, which could earn him some time in State Prison if he doesn't turn his life and attitude around by the time he turns 18. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Greatest Victories are Born in the Heart


Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material involving teen drug and alcohol use, and for some disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Movie Site





Release Date:

26 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Ryan Little Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Provo, Utah, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$68,283, 3 October 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$630,649, 2 November 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sean Faris sprained his ankle during the shooting. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, when Rick angrily charges at a sideline bench, there are people right next to it. When the camera switches to show Rick kicking down the bench, the people have disappeared. See more »


Bingham: [with Rick getting in his car] Belt up, brah.
Rick Penning: I'm not your "brah," so quit calling me that.
Bingham: Okay, okay, no problem. Belt up, SISTER.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the full credits roll, the team can be seen chanting on the field. See more »


Spin-off Larry Gelwix: No Regrets (2011) See more »


Don't Make Me Dance
Written by Jeff Hinton and Quint Randle
Performed by Joshua Creek
Courtesy of Covenant Communications, INC.
See more »

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User Reviews

They bastardized rugby!
23 May 2009 | by 14630087See all my reviews

First off just let me say that I live in South Africa where rugby is our biggest sport by far, and our national side, the Springboks, have won the Rugby World Cup twice, so it's quite a big deal over here. I've played all my life and I'm shocked at the poor attention to detail in this movie! At first I thought it had the potential to be a great movie considering the cast of Neal McDonough, Nick Ferris, Gary Cole and Sean Astin for goodness sake, but it turned out to be a mockery of the sport. They basically mashed it together with your normal everyday American Football movie.

My first problem is that this movie supposedly captures the values of rugby, but the discipline or should I say the total lack thereof during the games are contradictory to this. In the final it looks more like an NFL game with Penning being tackled of the ball numerous times, in front of the referee...that would've immediately led to a couple of red cards, because foul play like that would never go unpunished in by a referee, of that I can assure you! You'd also not be able to find a coach in world rugby who would have so little control over his team. Any coach would take a dump on a players head if he intentionally stiff arms an opposing player or double teams him like they did in the final...red card and certain suspension, full stop.

Secondly, it's absurd that a coach would take a brand new player, who has played wing all of his life I gather, move him to hooker which is a highly specialized position and say that it's for the good of the TEAM?! What?! Hooker is a highly specialized position in the front row where you have to be able to scrum extremely well and preferably be able to throw the ball in at line-out time, which Penning NEVER does for some or other reason. By moving a wing to hooker without any extensive long term training it would firstly lead to your team's demise at scrum time & secondly the poor kid would probably break his neck! How is that good for the team I ask you? Finally, the overall high emotional pitch of the movie is way too much, because even though rugby is a great sport, and it builds great friendships & team spirit, it rarely gets that out of hand & corny. I've seen true-life football drama's with less emotion than this movie & it turned out great, but in this one Sean's (Penning) acting skills is dragged way too far and the movie attempts too force an emotional response out of the audience, which ends up being boring and hard to watch at times.

Hollywood have made some great sports movies over the years, but next time they venture into a sport which has just recently picked up in the states, they should try and do their homework & maybe get some experts into the fray.


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