A documentary that observes the year after Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sex abuse charges.


Amir Bar-Lev


Amir Bar-Lev
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Paterno ... Self - Football Coach, Penn State University (archive footage)
Jay Paterno Jay Paterno ... Self - Joe Paterno's Son
Andrew Shubin Andrew Shubin ... Self - Local Attorney
Jerry Sandusky Jerry Sandusky ... Self - Former Football Coach (archive footage)
Matt Sandusky Matt Sandusky ... Self - Jerry Sandusky's Adopted Son
Joe Posnanski Joe Posnanski ... Self - Joe Paterno's Biographer
Scott Paterno Scott Paterno ... Self - Joe Paterno's Son
Sue Paterno Sue Paterno ... Self - Joe Paterno's Wife
Tyler Estright Tyler Estright ... Self - Penn State Class of 2013
Pat Little Pat Little ... Self - Local Photographer
Matt Jordan Matt Jordan ... Self - Film Professor, Penn State University
Dorothy Sandusky Dorothy Sandusky ... Self - Jerry Sandusky's Wife (archive footage)
Michael Pilato Michael Pilato ... Self - Mural Artist
Mark Emmert Mark Emmert ... Self - NCAA President (archive footage)
Lou Prato Lou Prato ... Self - Local Historian


The town of State College, the home of Penn State University, has long been known as Happy Valley, and its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, the head coach of the school's storied football team. His program was lauded for not only its success on the field but also its students' achievements in the classroom. And Paterno took on mythic national stature as "Saint Joe." But then, in November 2011, everything came crashing down. Longtime Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse, setting off a firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect the children of Happy Valley. Was Sandusky's abuse an "open secret" in the town? Did Coach Paterno and the Penn State administration value their football program more than the lives of Sandusky's victims? Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky's arrest as key players in the scandal agreed to share their stories, Happy Valley deconstructs the story we think we know to uncover a much ... Written by Sundance Film Festival

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The story behind the Penn State scandal See more »


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User Reviews

Excellent Documentary
14 September 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Happy Valley (2014)

**** (out of 4)

This here is an excellent documentary that takes a look at the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and how Penn State drew criticism for how they handled it. Another focus is on head football coach and legend Joe Paterno and his reputation.

HAPPY VALLEY is a great documentary because it takes a look at the subject in an open and honest way. It doesn't have an agenda to prove one thing or another but instead it simply tells a story, shows both sides of the argument and it lets the viewer make up their own mind on it. As the documentary shows, many people believe that the media took the focus away from the villain Sandusky and put it on the school and Paterno. Others feel that the school and Paterno didn't do enough.

That's basically the dilemma to this story and the documentary covers both sides extremely well. We get interviews with the Paterno family including Joe's widow and his sons but don't think that the documentary takes an easy viewpoint on him. It discusses what he knew, what he did about it and whether or not he should have done more considering who he is. The documentary also interviews Sandusky's adopted son who came forward that he had been abused as well.

The documentary mainly focuses on the year after the news broke and this of course includes Paterno's death, the removal of his name and statue from the school as well as how Penn State tried to rebound. There's no question that the film does a very good job at covering all sides of the event including the reaction to the people of Happy Valley and their anger at the media.

HAPPY VALLEY is certainly an excellent documentary that covers all the bases and is certainly worth watching.

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Release Date:

21 November 2014 (USA) See more »

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Happy Valley See more »


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Opening Weekend USA:

$9,047, 23 November 2014

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