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.
This film provides examples of:
- Artistic License – Sports: In real life, it was all Dan Devine's decision to let Rudy play in Notre Dame's final game of the year. But it was also the real life Devine's suggestion that his fictional counterpart be the one holding Rudy back in the movie and instead make the other players stand up for him.
- Character Title
- 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.
- Hard Work Fallacy: Zigzagged. The eponymous character works really hard in spite of having no athletic talent or societal advantages and achieves his goal of playing for the Notre Dame football team. However, it's never even presented as a possibility that Rudy will ever become a good football player. His teammates have to insist on allowing him to suit up for a game simply because his hard work was an inspiration for the truly successful members of the team. However, when he's actually given the opportunity to play in a real game for two whole downs, he actually does get a sack.
- 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. In fact, Devine is such a nice guy he let the film makers "play the heavy" with his character because he considered Rudy a friend and wanted to help. That said, he didn't expect the movie to play him the villain in the final act.
- Magical Negro: Charles Dutton's janitor character.
- '70s 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.