The Longest Yard (1974)
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When you think of Burt Reynolds, how can you not think of this classic from 1974? An all star cast that included Ed Lauter, Eddie Albert, Bernadette Peters and so many more.
The Longest Yard was directed by Robert Aldrich, written by Tracy Keenan Wynn and based on a story by producer Albert S. Ruddy.
The film follows a former NFL player (Burt Reynolds) recruiting a group of prisoners and playing football against their guards. It features many real-life football players, including Green Bay Packers legend Ray Nitschke.
Burt Reynolds’ character Paul “Wrecking” Crewe is a former star pro football quarterback who walks out on his wealthy girlfriend in Palm Beach, Florida while intoxicated. He jumps in her car and leads police on a car chase. He is caught and sentenced to 18 months in a prison run by a sadistic warden played by Eddie Albert.
The warden is a football fanatic and does everything he can to coax Crewe to play on the prison football team against the ‘guards’ for their annual ‘game.’
The film has been remade three times: as the 2001 British film Mean Machine (a shortened version of the title used for the original’s UK release), starring Vinnie Jones.
In 2005, Adam Sandler assembled a great cast to for his remake of the film which paid its respect to Reynolds by casting him as coach Nate Scarborough.
In the two non-American remakes, the sport was changed from American football to association football.
The movie was budgeted at 2.9 million dollars and grossed almost 44 million dollars at the box office, that, my friends made it a massive hit with the most important people, you, the fans who spend money to see movies vs. critics who pay nothing to sit there and tell you what they think while eating bon bons.
Source: Sal Amato