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A 1993 Sports Film Based on a True Story. Sean Astin plays the title character Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a kid with little academic credentials or athletic prowess. He wants to go to The University of Notre Dame but has next to no chance of getting there. When a close friend dies in an accident (the only one who didn't criticize his dream), he decides that he is going to play for the Fighting Irish, no matter the obstacles. The only thing Rudy can offer anyone is his exemplary effort, which is his most valuable asset for the few people who recognize it.
As for the outcome of the story, there are few surprises. Like some of the best of the genre, the real victory has nothing to do with the actual sports game and everything to do with the heart of those who are playing.
- The Determinator: One of the few movies that doesn't shy away from the fact that heart and effort doesn't always override physical power and skill. Still, seeing Rudy make that sack in the few minutes he got to play is thrilling.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Dan Devine in Real Life was floored by Rudy's hard work and suggested he suit up and play in the final game. In the movie, Dan Devine refuses to let Rudy play until the entire team offers up their spot just so Rudy can play.
- Magical Negro: Charles Dutton's janitor character.
- Seventies Hair: Averted. Even though the story takes place in The Seventies, almost all the men are shown having shorter hair than usual depictions of the period. Rudy himself had longer hair in Real Life.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The Janitor Rudy worked with actually lived at the basketball arena, but since it was a football movie they changed it to the stadium.
- Take That: The movie has taken some heat lately from football legend Joe Montana, who was a freshman during Rudy's senior year. The main issue seems to be downplaying the effort of other Irish players - Rudy worked his butt off, but he didn't work harder than anyone else. The movie's portrayal of the team's coach as something of a villain has not sat well either.
- Interestingly enough, the real Dan Devine didn't mind the Historical Villain Upgrade and felt that it added to the film.