The film "Rudy," like its subject, has endured against all odds. The "little-film-that-could" just celebrated its 25th anniversary and is still considered one of the greatest sports films of all-time.
"Rudy" tells the true-story of football player, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (portrayed in the film by Sean Astin), who was by all accounts way too small to play football at the collegiate level. He not only overcame his "short"-comings, but went on to play for the prestigious Notre Dame University. The under-dog story has been told many times before "Rudy" and several times since, but no other film quite captures an individual's grit, determination and spirit quite like this one.
But even if you love "Rudy" and are familiar with its timeless story, there are surely some things about it that you don't know. Here are five fun facts about "Rudy":
1. It was the screen-debut for both Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau appears in this film as Rudy's closest friend, D-Bob, while Vince Vaughn plays a teammate that is very hard on Rudy at first, only to eventually be won over by him (like we all were). Vaughn and Favreau would go on to team in the hit film "Swingers" and form a movie partnership that would last for decades. Of course, Jon Favreau now is one of the top directors in Hollywood, having launched the modern-day comic-book movie universe with Marvel's "Iron Man" and who also directed "The Jungle Book" for Disney. His upcoming directorial project is the long-awaited live-action re-make of "The Lion King." Yes, Favreau has come a long way from his D-Bob days.
2. It's a spiritual sequel to the 1986 classic, "Hoosiers"
Yes both films are sports movies that feature long-shot underdogs rising up and overcoming all expectations, and yes both feature schools set in Indiana. But what you may not have realized is that "Rudy" has even more parallels with "Hoosiers," as it was made by the same director/writer combo of David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo. The pair would collaborate just once more after "Rudy," with 2005's "The Game of Their Lives," centering around another inspiring sporting event involving the 1950 U.S. soccer team.
3. Rudy doesn't actually have a brother named "Frank"
Perhaps the biggest liberty Pizzo took when writing the screenplay for "Rudy," was when he invented a brother for him. Rudy in fact does not have a brother, but Pizzo wanted there to be a character that personified all of the people that had discouraged Rudy throughout his life.
4. Joe Montana was actually on the same team as Rudy Ruettiger
While not featured or mentioned in the film, in real-life, legendary NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana was actually the back-up quarterback at Notre Dame during the 1975 season, when Rudy had his single appearance on the field. Montana had once been quoted about Rudy, saying, "He worked his butt off to get where he was...but not any harder than the rest of us."
5. The 25th Anniversary of "Rudy" is being commemorated by a special event film concert event
If you love "Rudy" like so many do, you can re-live all of the magic and music of the film live, in-person at an upcoming event that is being held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles (Tickets), on March 30th. The 80-piece Hollywood Chamber Orchestra will be there, conducted by Justin Freer, who will perform Jerry Goldsmith's iconic "Rudy" score as the film is projected onto a massive, 40-foot HD screen. The event will help raise funds for the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angeles and regional Southern California high schools, with support from The CineConcerts Foundation. The movie will feature a pre-show panel discussion with the real Rudy Ruettiger, along with Sean Astin, David Anspaugh, Angelo Pizzo and producers Rob Fried and Cary Woods.