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Knute Rockne All American
Knute Rockne All American
Actors: Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann
Genres: Drama, Sports
NR     2006     1hr 38min

"I've decided to take up coaching as my life work," Knute Rockne says. Coach he does, revolutionizing football with his strategies, winning close to 90 percent of his games, and helping establish the University of Notre Da...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Pat O'Brien, Gale Page, Ronald Reagan, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann
Genres: Drama, Sports
Sub-Genres: Classics, Football (American)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/15/2006
Original Release Date: 10/05/1940
Theatrical Release Date: 10/05/1940
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Rebekah M. (PossumAnnie) from JOPLIN, MO
Reviewed on 2/20/2010...
I really enjoyed watching this movie. I found it quite interesting as well as enjoyable. We are keeping this one as we want to watch it over again. Recomended.

Movie Reviews

Pat O'Brien asks Notre Dame to win one for Ronald Reagan
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. The result is not great, but certainly compelling (plus we all learn the correct pronunciation of his name as being Ka-Nute).

Reagan's supporting role is deservedly memorable. That same year he would get to play third banana George Armstrong Custer to Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland in "The Santa Fe Trail" and would provide his best performance in "King's Row" before military service in World War II effectively derailed his acting momentum and ultimately set his life on a different path.

Final Note: While there is little doubt that Rockne invented the forward pass, there is debate over one aspect of this film. In his first scene as George Gipp, Reagan is sitting around doing nothing when Rockne orders him to go in at halfback to play against the varsity and run the ball. Gipp asks "How far?" and proceeds to run it back all the way. After crossing the goal line he bounces the ball off the endzone, instead of laying it down for the "touchdown." An argument has been made that this was the first spike in the history of football. At least it is the first "recorded" spike. Did the current tradition of choreographed celebrations all stem from what Ronald Reagan did in this 1940 film? You decide if that is yet another part of the Reagan legacy that is being reconsidered this week."
Tim Janson | Michigan | 03/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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.
A worthy addition to any classic film library
ladyothelake | Long Island | 07/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."