53 user 26 critic

Forever Strong (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama, Sport | 26 September 2008 (USA)
2:35 | Trailer

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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?


The film was filmed in the Salt Lake area. The school, Granite High School, where the filming of most of Highland's games took place is now abandoned due to asbestos. 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 »


Coach Larry Gelwix: Rick Penning? It's Important for you know right up front: You spend a whole lotta time in the gym, you work your hardest with a complete commitment to do your best, you eat smart, get enough sleep, and you work your tail off, and someday... someday you can have a body like mine.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"It's not about Rugby, it's about young men. It's not about building a championship team, it's about building championship boys. Boys who will be forever strong." - Larry Gelwix See more »


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


Pimpin Hard
Written by Malcolm Kirby Jr. (as Malcolm Kirby) (ASCAP), James H. Martin (ASCAP), & Robert Lee Miller (BMI)
Performed by B.A.S.K.O
Courtesy of Pigfactory USA LLC (ASCAP) & Monkeyfactory (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

Haka clarification
12 February 2009 | by NZfishboySee all my reviews

I've not seen the movie so can't comment on whether it's any good or not, but I can say that Haka *are* unique to New Zealand. Saying it's not exclusive to NZ is like saying the Star Spangled Banner isn't exclusive to the USA - sure it can be performed by others, but it doesn't have the same meaning as it does to those who 'own' it. Haka is the Maori term for a group vocal/dance which can be a greeting, acknowledgement, or challenge ('war dance').

Similar dances are performed by many cultures around the world and, across the Pacific, a number of specific ones are used by rugby teams before international matches. These all have different names, i.e. in Samoa it's the Siva tau, Tonga have the Kailao, Fiji have the Cibi. Ka Mate is the Maori haka made famous by the All Blacks and is considered intellectual property of the Ngati Toa iwi as it was gifted to them by the NZ government very recently (they've been contesting ownership of the dance for some years, tho).

The issue with it being included in this film has nothing to do with the real Highlands rugby team performing Ka Mate - that's a separate issue. The problem was the makers of the film not asking permission to use it in the film and making money from it - much like any recording artist would expect to be asked/remunerated if their song was part of the soundtrack to a film.

Personally, I feel that if a team wishes to perform another culture's dance they should at least understand where it comes from, what it means, and faithfully reproduce it - preferably with permission. Otherwise - feel free to come up with your own! Make something original and special to your own team and circumstances.

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