7.4/10
31,647
98 user 114 critic

McFarland, USA (2015)

Trailer
2:21 | Trailer

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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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,488 ( 394)
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

The movie is based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a mainly Latino high school in McFarland, California. See more »

Goofs

When the McFarland team is running up the big mountain at the meet, one of the runners from the Bakersfield High School team has a blue shirt with gold lettering. In real life, Bakersfield High School's colors are blue and white, not blue and gold. See more »

Quotes

Principal Camillo: Have you ever coached cross country?
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: Have you ever coached track?
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: You have competed in high school maybe.
Jim White: No.
Principal Camillo: Well you sound perfect.
See more »


Soundtracks

El Gavilan
Performed by Jose Hernandez and the Mariachi Sol de Mexico (as Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez)
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User Reviews

 
This ain't Golf
18 February 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. "A Disney movie" was once synonymous with good-hearted family fare. Even though the lure of big box office has caused the studio to expand their film boundaries a bit, no one does it better when the material is a heart-warming, inspiring story … especially if based on a true story. This latest has less in common with The Mighty Ducks, and more with Miracle, The Rookie, and Dreamer.

Based on a true story that began in 1987, Kevin Costner plays high school coach Jim White, who after a couple of unfortunate incidents, finds himself with a not so desirable teaching/coaching gig in the San Joaquin Valley in central California – specifically the poverty stricken farming community of McFarland. To say that life is hard in McFarland is a bit of an understatement. The families are mostly Hispanic and heavily dependent on crop picking. Once the kids are age 10, they are put to work in the fields before and after school.

Toting their prejudices, Coach White and his wife (Maria Bello) and two daughters arrive as outsiders, but quickly discover their neighbors are very proud people who value family and community. Coach also discovers that the area boys have developed a natural ability to run distances in the heat, so he forms a school cross country team, and the rest is literally history. The runners dominate the California state meet by winning 9 of the next 14 years, and many of the boys go off to college – something previously not even a remote dream for most.

Since this is Disney, most of the jagged edges are rounded off. Crime, discrimination, politics, racism, and poverty are present, but do not receive much attention. Director Niko Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) does nice work in keeping the story grounded and focused on the individuals. We get a feel for the skepticism and family obstacles faced by this first group of runners. More importantly, we witness the pride and involvement as the boys begin to have some success, and the sense of belonging that sneaks up on White and his family.

Costner does get a shot at a motivational speech, but it's small in scope and wonderfully centered on what the boys have accomplished, rather than some unrelatable shot at changing the world. Seeing him on a "Barbie" bike brings a laugh, as does some of the high school boy chatter directed at their duck-out-of-water coach. We don't really get to know the individual boys too much (some are actors, some are actual McFarland students), but the end credit video recap of where they are now (27 years later) really hits home as to the importance of guidance and mentorship for youngsters.

The film is extremely pleasant and the story's roots in the real world lend credence to the inspirational message and underdog-overcoming-obstacles story. It's also a reminder that opportunity to make a difference is all around us. Just look what Jim White and runners have accomplished!


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