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Brian's Song

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sean Maher (TV's "Party of Five") and Mekhi Phifer (Soul Food) star in this excellent remake of the1971 Emmy Award(r)-winning drama about the friendship between football players Brian Piccolo and GaleSayers. When Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears in 1965, the running back is befriended by fellow rookie Brian Piccolo, a brash young man whose personality is the exact opposite of the stoic Sayers.As their friendship begins, the two compete for starting positions on the team, but Sayers' talent far outshines Piccolo's and he quickly rises to the top of the game. When they become roommates, their friendship deepens, and when Sayers injures his knee it is Piccolo who encourages him to get backin shape and back in the game - if only so Piccolo can compete against him on an even playing field. Both men become better ball players because of - and in spite of - each other, and when Piccolo quickly begins his descent into illness, they form a bond that will last forever.

From the Back Cover

Sean Maher (TV's Party of Five) and Mekhi Phifer (Soul Food) star in this excellent remake of the 1971 Emmy Award-winning drama about the friendship between football players Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. When Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears in 1965, the running back is befriended by fellow rookie Brian Piccolo, a brash young man whose personality is the exact opposite of the stoic Sayers. As their friendship begins, the two compete for starting positions on the team, but Sayers' talent far outshines Piccolo's, and he quickly rises to the top of the game. When they become roommates, their friendship deepens, and when Sayers injures his knee it is Piccolo who encourages him to get back in shape and back in the game-if only so Piccolo can compete against him on an even playing field. Both men become better ball players because of-and in spite of-each other, and when Piccolo quickly begins his decent into illness, they form a bond that will last forever.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Paula Cale, Sean Maher, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Gazzara
  • Directors: John Gray
  • Producers: John M. Eckert, Dave Mace
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Spanish, English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005U126
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brian's Song" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ARH TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2005
Format: DVD
This version is an adequate retelling of the story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, and Piccolo's fight with cancer. When I saw it I was somewhat let down, since it seemed to lack the emotional punch and era realism of the 1971 original.

I found the combination of Billy Dee Williams and James Caan to be a more believable and approachable duo than Sean Maher and Mekhi Phifer. Though the newer version is worth a look, I wouldn't run right out and buy it without seeing it first.

In summary, this movie presents a good retelling, but, in my opinion, lacks the emotional punch and character development of the 1971 original.
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By A Customer on September 28, 2002
Format: DVD
Hard to believe I didn't recognize this movie until just the other day. What a beautiful movie with emotional depth and a great message about friendship. For anyone who might not know the storyline, it focuses on the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, two former football players for the Chicago Bears with every difference you could possibly imagine keeping them apart, including racial differences and completely opposite personalities. Only by rooming together are they finally forced to truly enter each other's lives and help each other in many future endeavors, including a standout challenge in Brian's young life that the two must handle together, as only true friends could.
I have not yet seen the original of this film (which I hope to do soon), so I can't comment on any differences between the 1971 and 2001 versions. I will, however, say that judging from a trailer I recently saw of the 1971 movie, it seems like many similar and sometimes exact lines were used in both films, so I am sure that they both contain much flavor and depth. This 2001 round is an emotionally heartwrenching and altogether remarkable rendition of a true story that will never be forgotten by anyone who has ever followed the Chicago Bears over the years. Mekhi Phifer (Sayers) and Sean Maher (Piccolo) have realism in their acting and knowledge of their roles, thus enabling them to become these powerful and complex characters. I especially enjoyed the performance of Sean Maher. His smile, charisma, and endearing personality made the character all the more real and convincing. This is certainly a beautiful film that touches base with many deep topics (friendship, strength through trial, etc...) and will put many varying emotions to use. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be touched.
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Format: DVD
I remember watching the original in the 70's and was uncertain what might happen when it was remade. After all, Brian's Song was unquestionably the greatest TV movie ever made. This remake, 30 years after the original, absolutely did it justice. The casting, the acting, the script, it was all so well done. I think the race aspect was played down a little in this newer version, but that was as it should be. These two men could not have been more different and race was just one small aspect of their differences. But each was a hero in his own way and deserves to have his story told.

In another review, someone misidentified the actress who played Brian's wife. Paula Cale did an admirable job playing the role of Joy Piccolo.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
No doubt about it the 1971 version is a classic of the movies made for TV genre but....while the relationship between Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayres is better developed in the 71 classic there is something missing. That missing piece is Brian's decent into that dark place that he had to go, alone. In 71 we saw Brian gradually become sicker and while James Cann did a masterful job in portraying the progression of the illness it is a little light. In the remake you 'll see the decline and you'll feel the darkness closing around Brian. You'll see him cry, not because he is sick, but because he realizes he will lose the wife and children that he loves. Missing in 71 is the despair you'll feel as Brian stays up all night and stares at the children he knows he will never see again as if just staring could make time stop. Better? No, but more touching in that part of your heart where we are all afraid to journey.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 2001 version uses the original script, almost word for word. However this version is much better because it contains short segments only covered in this version. 1) The players and what they do are more believable 2) The racial problems with housing and player interaction contains more detail. 3) The coach paying all the bills "out of his own pocket" adds real dimension to coach Hallis 4) The death scene contains more tear jerking moments and 5) even the cute little things they did were covered in a little more depth and finally the 6) workout in the garage and interaction has more depth and showed how and why they had grown together. GREAT MOVIE, GREAT TEAR JERKER, but do get the 2001 version. I bought both from Amazon.
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Format: DVD
When we watched this remake of Brian's Song, it was not by design. We had requested the 1971 version from Netflix, but the DVD was damaged in the mail and they resent the 2001 remake by mistake. But instead of sending it back again, we thought "what the hec, let's give it a chance." While we didn't expect it to live up to the beloved original, nothing could prepare us for how god-awful it was. So when we saw all the stars given to this remake, we were utterly mystified. Other than Mekhi Phifer's performance, which was pretty good, it was a joke. Sean's Maher's Brian Piccolo was a caricature; cartoony and over-the-top obnoxious. Maybe they had intended to cast Jim Carrey in the role but he was busy. Instead, they got Maher to do a Jim Carrey impersonation. James Caan portrayed Piccolo as this outgoing, wise-cracking guy, but he was human and believable -- not a clown. And those football scenes. They looked ridiculous. At least in the original they used real game footage, which gave a real gritty sense of being in a stadium -- not at a high school or some sound stage. Even though the original was a TV movie, the performances, scenarios and dialog were well done, believable, touching, heartwrenching. If you watch it now is it dated? Of course, but there's nothing wrong with that. It is current to the time it depicts. But this remake reminds us of a very bad, melodramatic after-school special. Really, it was so bad I can't find adequate words to describe it.
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