This highly-acclaimed winner of five Emmy Awards is one of the best-loved movies ever made for television. It's the true story of a special relationship between two professional football players, Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and Brian Piccolo (James Caan). Both star players for the Chicago Bears, Sayers and Piccolo soon became roommates and best friends. When Sayers suffers a knee injury in mid-season, it is Piccolo who prods and inspires him to work toward a complete recovery. Then fate deals a cruel blow: Piccolo is stricken with malignant cancer. The constant support and friendship of Sayers plays an important role in Piccolo's heroic fight against the disease. Also starring Shelley Fabares (TV's Coach) as Piccolo's loving wife, BRIAN'S SONG is a moving and unforgettable film.
Audio commentary by costars James Caan and Billy Dee Williams is typical memory-book stuff, with both actors (mostly Caan) casually reminiscing about the filming of Brian's Song
. Caan had just finished The Godfather
, so his star was quickly rising, and he spent much of the time carousing and playing practical jokes with players from the Chicago Bears football team. Williams, in contrast, was a relative unknown getting a big career break, and he approached the filming with utter seriousness. These differences in personality clearly helped each actor in creating the opposites-attract nature of their on-screen friendship. The commentary is far too casual to be of lasting interest, but Caan is a playful raconteur who's always fun to listen to. The exclusive documentary "Gale Sayers: First and Goal" offers a welcomed update from the former football star, whose memories of gridiron greatness--and his deep friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo--provide poignant resonance to the Sayers-Piccolo story, which hasn't lost a bit of its emotional impact. --Jeff Shannon