North Dallas Forty 1979
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North Dallas Forty (DVD)
In a society in which major league sporting events have replaced Sunday worship as the religion of choice, North Dallas Forty appear s like a de secration at the altar. In this film, directed by Ted Kotcheff (The Appr enticeship of Duddy Kravitz), the National Footba ll League is revealed to be more about the money than the game. Nick Nolte is North Dallas Bul ls pass-catcher Phillip Elliott, whose cynicism and independent spirit is looked upon as troublesome by team coaches Johnson (Charles Durning) and Strothers (G.D. Spradli n) and team owner Conrad Hunter (Steve Forre st). Elliot, at the end of his career and wise to the way players are bo ught and sold li ke cattle, goes through the games pumped up on painkill ers conveniently provided by the management. His teammates include savvy quar terback Maxwell (Mac Davis) and lunk-headed defensive lineman Jo B ob Priddy (Bo Svenson), who deal with the impersonality and back-b iting of the game through off-field diversions. When the Bulls management ben ches Elliot after manipulating him to help train a fell ow teammate, Ell iot has to decide whether there is more to life than the game that he lo ves.]]>
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The crux of the film details what it's like to be an aging player in football. Once players get north of 30 they become much more dependent on shots and pain pills and have to watch their skills erode with each passing season. The movie depicts the devastating toll that football takes on even the most athletic bodies.
Nick Nolte plays a wide receiver who finds himself in just such a circumstance. He is fighting for his pro football life while younger players are trying to push him out of the league to make a place for themselves. He also is in the middle of politics being played out on multiple levels over who gets to play.
While this is a sports movie, we hardly get to see any "game" action at all. This is not a bad thing, just different. The basis of the movie centers around the "behind the scenes" issues of a pro football team.
If you like sports movies (especially football) you'll likely enjoy this one. Just so you know it's bound to not be as uplifting and cathartic as most sports films tend to be.