Rudy: A Cinematic Classic or a Film of Embellishments?

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Rudy: A Cinematic Classic or a Film of Embellishments?

Rudy: A Cinematic Classic or a Film of Embellishments?

25 Years of Rudy: A Look Back at the Inspirational Sports Film

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the iconic sports movie Rudy. Often seen as a predecessor to inspirational films like Remember the Titans and Friday Night Lights, Rudy tells the story of an undersized kid who overcomes all odds to achieve his dream of playing for the Notre Dame football team. The film grossed $22 million at the box office and was based on the real-life story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. However, some directorial embellishments have not escaped the critical eye of viewers, including NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana.

Joe Montana’s Harsh Criticism of Rudy

Montana, who attended Notre Dame at the same time as the real-life Rudy, has been consistently critical of the film. Whether it’s due to personal dislike or a belief that the movie took too much artistic license, Montana’s opinion of the film hasn’t changed in 25 years. Let’s take a look at five embellishments from the movie and decide if Montana’s criticism is justified or if he’s just being a grumpy old man.

1. The Older Brother Who Never Existed

In the film, Rudy has an older brother who constantly berates him for his attempts to make the team and in every aspect of life. However, the real-life Rudy is actually the oldest brother in his family. The movie character Frank was created to portray Rudy as a constantly harassed kid who overcomes the odds despite his detractors. While there were detractors, there was no older brother.

2. The Supportive Groundskeeper: Fact or Fiction?

The film also created a character to represent all of Rudy’s supporters: the groundskeeper. While there was a groundskeeper in real life, he didn’t have much to say about Ruettiger making the team. It seems he had other things to do.

3. The Crowd’s Chant: A Fabricated Moment

In one scene, the crowd begins chanting for Rudy to come into the game, where he makes a movie star-like play. The play did happen, but the crowd actually started chanting after he made the play and was coming off the field. The influence of the crowd on the decision to put Rudy in the game was entirely fabricated.

4. The Jersey Scene: Unforgivable and Untrue

At the end of the movie, all the Notre Dame players throw their jerseys on Coach Dan Devine’s desk, refusing to play unless Ruettiger is allowed to dress for the final game of the season. While this scene may evoke the “team” sentiment often heard in sports, even the real-life Ruettiger admitted it never happened. According to Ruettiger, he was told days before the final game that he would be dressing up. The real-life coach Dan Devine said of the scene, “The jersey scene is unforgivable, it’s a lie and untrue.” Ouch.

5. The Heroic Carry-Off: A Playful Joke?

Lastly, let’s hear from Joe Montana himself. While the team did carry Rudy off the field, Montana claims it was done more in fun than actually giving Rudy any credit for the victory. He said the team was, “kinda playin’ around … I won’t say as a joke, but playing around.” Perhaps the ending of the movie was appropriate to represent the intention of the whole film: it’s all about fun, so don’t take things too seriously.

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