7.4/10
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97 user 114 critic

McFarland, USA (2015)

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Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.

Director:

Niki Caro

Writers:

Christopher Cleveland (screenplay), Bettina Gilois (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Costner ... Jim White
Ramiro Rodriguez Ramiro Rodriguez ... Danny Diaz
Carlos Pratts ... Thomas Valles
Johnny Ortiz ... Jose Cardenas
Rafael Martinez ... David Diaz
Hector Duran ... Johnny Sameniego
Sergio Avelar ... Victor Puentes
Michael Aguero Michael Aguero ... Damacio Diaz
Diana Maria Riva ... Señora Diaz
Omar Leyva ... Señor Diaz
Valente Rodriguez ... Principal Camillo
Danny Mora ... Sammy Rosaldo
Maria Bello ... Cheryl White
Morgan Saylor ... Julie White
Elsie Fisher ... Jamie White
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Storyline

A struggling coach and teacher who has had to move around for different incidents in his career finally comes to one of the poorest cities in America: McFarland, California. There he discovers buried potential in several high school boys and slowly turns them into championship runners and brings them closer than even he could ever imagine.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Champions can come from anywhere

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Spanish]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

20 February 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

McFarland See more »

Filming Locations:

Kern County, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,020,798, 22 February 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,469,602, 28 June 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Danny Diaz was not overweight as a kid. He was, however, the seventh person on the team and still instrumental to its 1987 state title win. See more »

Goofs

The school buses in the background at the final meet are wrong. At the original meet there are Crowns in the parking lot. See more »

Quotes

Cheryl White: Fourth place at your first meet? That's not too shabby.
Jim White: Fourth out of four; also known as last place.
See more »

Connections

Features CHiPs (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

War Is Coming! War Is Coming!
Written by Thomas Allen (as Sylvester Allen), Harold R. Brown (as Harold Brown), Morris D. Dickerson (as Morris Dickerson), Lonnie Jordan (as LeRoy L. Jordan), Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott
Performed by War
Courtesy of Far Out Productions, Inc.,
By arrangement with BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice performances & scenery, cartoonish plot touches
5 December 2015 | by FeatherlessBipedSee all my reviews

I had read the story of Jim White and the McFarland cross country team long before the movie came out. I was glad to see it made into a feature film, but Disney's heavy hands keep it from being fully satisfying.

Most of the actors playing larger roles acquit themselves well. Yes, Kevin Costner is his overly familiar world-weary self, but there's always a certain charm in seeing him inhabit that role. Many of the young men portraying McFarland's runners are both charming and believable, and some of the quirky townspeople (such as the mother of three runners and the owner of the local variety store) add nice depth to the story.

In addition, the scenery is interesting, from the running trails to the fields where the McFarland runners pick crops.

One real turnoff was when, repeatedly, opposing runners were shown talking smack before the start of races, and opposing coaches made snarky comments about the McFarland team. I've coached youth sports for many years and am accustomed to seeing much better sportsmanship than that. The movie makers apparently needed to set up cartoonish villains so that the audience would root even harder for the good guys.

Another clunker came at the first race, the "Palo Alto Invitational." The race director was surprised when McFarland showed up - but if it was an "invitational," then either they'd been invited (so he shouldn't have been surprised) or they hadn't been (in which case they had no business going to the race).

This was a generally pleasant two hours, and it was good to know that the basic heartwarming events took place in real life. Could have been better (or at least less bad in some parts), but it was OK. I recommend you find the story "Running for Their Lives" by Gary Smith, the captivating real-life tale of Jim White and McFarland (told as only the brilliant Smith could).


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