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  • Knute Rockne All American [VHS]
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Knute Rockne All American [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann
  • Directors: Lloyd Bacon, William K. Howard
  • Writers: Mrs. Knute Rockne, Robert Buckner
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Robert Fellows
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301973496
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,891 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The stirring biography of the famous Notre Dame football coach who led the Fighting Irish to numerous victories. Note: unlike television prints of this film, this video version contains the famous "Win just one for the Gipper" quote.


Long before Rocky Balboa went the distance, there was the original Rock--as in Knute Rockne. His story, a classic 1940 biopic, combines vintage gridiron action with heart-tugging sentiment. Yup, this is the film with the famous halftime pep talk and Ronald Reagan's "win just one for the Gipper" deathbed plea. Yeah, it's corny. But so what. Lloyd Bacon, one of Hollywood's ablest craftsmen (42nd Street), directed with just the right scrappy disregard for genre conventions. Reagan, in his third best vehicle (behind King's Row and The Killers), plays George Gipp, the Fighting Irish's first All- American, who died of pneumonia in 1920; the always-reliable Pat O'Brien plays Notre Dame coach Rockne as a living, breathing icon--part father confessor, part Patton, part idealized father figure. Before he spurs the lads to victory, he changes the face of the sport--by inventing the forward pass, no less. --Glenn Lovell

Customer Reviews

I recieved the item promptly.
Calvin Lyles
When it came to DVD I just had to add it to my collection of Great Movies of the Past.
G. Hedin
This is a great movie for all sports fans, but especially football fans.
K. Evans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 17, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Ronald Reagan might have gotten the nickname of the "Gipper" from this 1940 bio-pic of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, but it was veteran character actor Pat O'Brien who had the role of a lifetime in the lead. James Cagney had lobbied hard for the role, but when the actor signed a petition supporting the Republican (and anti-Catholic) government in the Spanish Civil War, Notre Dame refused to okay him for the part. This was the first of only two movies ever filmed on the campus in South Bend, and if you do know that the other one was "Rudy" you should at least have been able to guess it had to be that one.

"Knute Rockne All American", which was added to the National Film Registry in 1997, is a fairly standard bio-pic, evincing the almost documentary style that was standard at the time. We see how the young Rockne (played by Johnny Sheffield, a.k.a. Boy in the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies) learned to love football, revolutionized the game with the forward pass, and coached his alma mater to glory with the Four Horsemen and George Gipp. The result is a long series of episodes from Rockne's life that have varying degrees of appeal, such as when he picks up the idea for his backfield shift from watching chorus girls dance and experiments with the idea using his wife and their dinner guests.

Lots of footage of actual Notre Dame games are worked into the film, although I have no way of knowing if any of it is of the actual games being portrayed (I would be curious to know). O'Brien's performance seems a tad wooden, but if you have ever seen actual film clips of Rockne you know he is in the ballpark. A lot of the charm of this film comes from the ethos of the original Rockne, an American legend who was probably the first famous victim of an airplane crash.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 31, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This film tells the tale of the legendary Knute Rockne who coached football at Notre Dame from 1918 to 1930, losing just 12 games and winning six national championships. Rockne was tragically killed in a plane crash in Kansas on March 31st, 1931. He as only 43 years of age. Knute was known as one of the most innovative and charismatic coaches of his era. He was the first football coach to initiate intersectional rivalries and build a national schedule. Knute is well known for coaching the most dazzling, dramatic, idolized athlete of all time, George "Gipper" Gipp, played in the film by the late President Ronald Reagan. Gipp's running, passing, kicking and leadership lifted Notre Dame to fame. George Gipp became Notre Dame's first All-American and the famous subject of Rockne's motivating pre-game speech, "Win one for the Gipper."

The role of Rockne would fall to Pat O' Brien, a veteran star who had been in such films as "Angels with Dirty Faces" "The Fighting 69th" and "San Quentin" it was not the first time O' Brien had played a football coach either. In 1933 he starred in a film called "College Coach". O' Brien did a good job in mimmicking the voice and mannerisms of the legendary coach. Of course the most famous scene in the film is O' Brien giving his famous "Win one for the Gipper" speech after Gipp passed away tragically. It is the most well known sports pep talk in history and was used by Reagan himself during the 1988 Presidential campaign.

The movie did a good job of displaying football action although it is a very different game than we see today. Rockne actually pioneered many of the offensive schemes seen today with men in motion and backfield alignments.

Donald Crisp turns in a fine performance as Father Callahan and there's even the legendary four horseman in the film as well. The film is certainly dated by today's standards but it's a well done sports biography at a time when historical accuracy was not always important.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "ladyothelake" on July 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I think the true testament to this movie's appeal is that it is still watchable after more than 60 years to both hard-core football fans and those(me)who can't tell a bunt from a punt.
"Knute Rockne, All American" is based on the life of one of Notre Dame University's most ingenious and beloved coaches. The movie follows Rockne's early beginnings from his family's emigration to America, to his days as a Notre Dame student,his career as coach, and his tragic demise.
It's an inspiring movie tribute about football's evolution and Notre Dame's struggle to establish itself out of mid-western obscurity; but it is primarily about a man. A man who was a mentor to the many he coached and a revolutionary of the sport of football. By the end of the movie I came to have a deep respect for Knute Rockne as a man of intellect, passion and integrity.
Pat O'Brien does a stirring portrayal of Rockne. My one complaint regarding his performance is that he is too mature-looking to portray Rockne during his early years and perhaps they should have had another actor for those scenes.
Another little gem is seeing a young Ronald Reagan as the ill-fated George Gipp. His deathbed scene is one of the most touching moments in the whole movie.
I found the action sequences a little boring and homogenous, (perhaps followers of football will feel differently) but it does not distract from the rest of the movie. My only other complaint is the soundtrack, which seems to consist of the Notre Dame fight song played over and over again in 115 different renditions.
It's worth noting that although the cover is colorized the movie is in black and white.
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