6.9/10
4,468
47 user 30 critic

North Dallas Forty (1979)

A semi-fictional account of life as a professional (American-style) football player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.

Director:

Ted Kotcheff

Writers:

Peter Gent (novel), Frank Yablans (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Phillip Elliott
Mac Davis ... Seth Maxwell
Charles Durning ... Coach Johnson
Dayle Haddon ... Charlotte Caulder
Bo Svenson ... Jo Bob Priddy
John Matuszak ... O. W. Shaddock
Steve Forrest ... Conrad Hunter
G.D. Spradlin ... B. A. Strothers
Dabney Coleman ... Emmett Hunter
Savannah Smith Boucher ... Joanne Rodney (as Savannah Smith)
Marshall Colt ... Art Hartman
Guich Koock Guich Koock ... Eddie Rand
Deborah Benson ... Mrs. Hartman
Jim Boeke Jim Boeke ... Stallings (as James F. Boeke)
John Bottoms John Bottoms ... Vip
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Storyline

A semi-fictional account of life as a professional (American-style) football player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They pay you and they pay you well. On one condition. You play the game their way, even if you're forced to break every bone in your body. [UK Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

North Dallas Forty See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$26,079,312

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,079,312
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis) was allegedly based on quarterback Don Meredith (Meredith was even offered the role); B. A. Strothers (G.D. Spradlin) on Tom Landry, and Phillip Elliott (Nick Nolte) on wide receiver Peter Gent. See more »

Goofs

There are several lip-synch problems throughout, probably due to re-dubbing lines. See more »

Quotes

Maxwell: You had better learn how to play the game, and I don't mean just the game of football.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 20 February 2015 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Cuba
Performed by The Gibson Brothers
Written by Jean Kluger & Daniel Vangarde
courtesy of Island Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Makes a point that has been made better elsewhere
14 November 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Phillip Elliot is a wide receiver for the North Dallas Bulls. He is approaching the end of his career and ravaged with injuries, which he needs medication to cover the pain enough to play. The coaches want 100% to win games and win the season, but do the owners see the people inside the uniforms?

Written by ex-player Peter Gent this film wanders between love for the game and admiration for the players and the flip side where the players are overpaid little boys in men's bodies who are seen as disposable by club owners. This wandering happens for most of the film, mostly due to the fact that the plot seems to be wandering all over the place with little to do. When it actually focuses on the dealings of the club owners and the sacrifices the players have to make, it is pretty interesting – even if it does what many other sports films have done better.

The central point about owners seeing the players as just another piece of equipment owed by the club is pretty well made, but it is confused by the plot wandering a little bit. The ending is designed to back up this central point, but the circumstances come out of nowhere and the ending doesn't really ring true and isn't as strong a conclusion as it should have been. The film also struggles to condemn either the sport or the players, seeming to be annoyed with bosses more than anything else. The players are clearly childish and irresponsible, violent men but yet the film weakens on that point after hinting at it, likewise the film condemns part of the game but then happily indulges in big game action near the end of the film.

Nolte is pretty good, but he also seems a little unsure about whether his character loves the sport or hates everything about it except the game. Support players simply play victims or childish thugs. The reason for Haddon's love interest is beyond me but Durning and Spradlin give good support as coaches.

Overall this is an interesting film, which is strongest at the start and end, the middle section lacking structure and focus. The message it is trying to get across applies much more today than it did back then, but has been made better and in more enjoyable total films than this. Still an interesting watch for the most part though.


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