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North Dallas Forty

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nick Nolte, Charles Durning, Mac Davis, Dayle Haddon, Bo Svenson
  • Directors: Ted Kotcheff
  • Writers: Ted Kotcheff, Frank Yablans, Nancy Dowd, Peter Gent, Rich Eustis
  • Producers: Frank Baur, Frank Yablans
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2001
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000541AT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "North Dallas Forty" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.

Customer Reviews

The movie depicts the devastating toll that football takes on even the most athletic bodies.
D. Roberts
Now if you think that this movie is all about football you will miss the true meaning and emotion of the entire event.
D. Jeter
As Elliott, Nick Nolte, gives 1 of his 3 best performances and he and Davis play perfectly off each other.
Gregory Saffady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. VANDERWOLF on January 27, 2005
Format: DVD
I remember this coming out when I was a kid. I also remember I wasn't allowed to see it other than in its butchered form on Network Television. Now I know why.

This is a fantastic film. One thing that struck me is that for a football film, there is very little actual football in it. Which is the reason for the title of my review. This film is ABOUT football... not a football film. It's about the players in a time when the league was still young and, I dare say, corrupted by the use of pain killers and alochol. It was the hey dey of the Cowboys, the Raiders and the Steelers and football players were treated like Rock Stars.

It's the film "Any Given Sunday" wanted to be. But failed miserably at even being a cheap imitation.

If you loved 1970's films and 1970's football, this film is a must see.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By George Schaefer on October 4, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This movie really blew the lid off a lot of the shenanigans that go on in professional sports. I'm sure that many were upset with the portrayal of athletes as drunken, pill popping idiots but that was probably a reality back then. This movie precedes Any Given Sunday by two decades and still hits harder in its revelation of football's seamy side. Nick Nolte is superb as Phil Elliott. Mac Davis also gives a fine performance. The scenes of athletes being shot up with painkillers to play is intense. The laissez faire attitude of coaches and team owners is probably more realistic than the NFL would care to admit. I love the scene when Nolte gets suspended for smoking marijuana and his response is that the team is injecting harder drugs into him each Sunday just so he can play. That kind of mirrors the insanity and stupidity of the NFL drug testing policies even today. Football is an American institution but indeed there is a dark side. This movie does a fine job of pointing that out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on January 30, 2006
Format: DVD
This is an unsparing, unsentimental look at pro football in which the players are alternately brutes, and slaves to management. Coaches shamelessly manipulate the players and then discard them the moment injury strikes; the players are drugged up in order to coax them onto the field, while at the same time the unpopular players are ensnared by drug charges in order to trap them at contract renegotiation time.

"North Dallas Forty" is probably one of my favorite sports movies, and definitely my favorite football movie. That's because of its defiant outsider approach -- "Ball Four", the baseball book that made Peter Gent's football novel possible, only ever wound up a lame sitcom; "North Dallas Forty" goes all the way. Even though the movie is based on the Dallas Cowboys of the 1960s, the instantly dated 1970s' filmmaking technique remains timeless (even if it's from the same director who made "Weekend at Bernie's", which is timeless for very different reasons).

Part of the movie's continuing appeal remains its cast. Nick Nolte is a brilliant lead, as the rebellious but honest-to-a-fault North Dallas wide receiver Phil Elliott. Phil tells it like it is and sees management for what they are, but doesn't realize he's being cheated out of his career until the third or fourth time he's been double-crossed by owners, coaches and friends alike.

Playing a riff on Dandy Don Meredith, country singer/songwriter Mac Davis plays sly quarterback Seth Maxwell. The rest of the football team is filled out with several ex-NFL players. John Matuszak's second acting career was launched by this movie, and Bo Svenson's football career should have been launched by this movie. The coaches, Charles Durning (as a cliche-spouting offensive coordinator) and the great G.D.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on July 28, 2004
Format: DVD
Taken from Pete Gent's book about life with the Dallas Cowboys of the Don Meredith era, this movie (a quarter century later) is still the only film that deals with much of the reality of professional football in America. Other movies have been funnier ("The Longest Yard"), others have used more Hollywood fantasy to make their point ("Any Given Sunday"), but none other than George Plimpton's "Paper Lion" have any accuracy.

Not only is "North Dallas Forty" accurate, it is accurate in the extreme. It shows players taking shots in their joints in order to play in the game. It shows the way management treats players like meat, like yesterday's newspaper. It shows the way players eschew teamwork to look out for themselves, their statistics and their salaries. In a very Hollywood way, this movie uses big stars but makes a valid point about pro football in a way no film ever has.

I went to Pete Gent's school, Michigan State University, where I lived in an athletic or "jock" dorm. I knew football players at MSU including a couple that went on to become pros and all-pro in the NFL. I'll never forget the day I showed up for my test in freshman Natural Science when I had a little chat with the two football players in my class, one of whom went on to become an all-American and all-pro in the NFL and blocked for O.J. Simpson.

"We were at the professor's house last night going over the test," one of them told me moments before the test was passed out. That was one of my first real-life lessons in how college athletes are different from the rest of us. When the "North Dallas Forty" version of college football is made, maybe that scene will be included.

Until then, you have this film to help you understand how the NFL really works and what it's employees go through during their careers, which average 4.3 years.
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