11 Winning Facts About Rudy

TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

Ah, Rudy. It's like 100 cc of inspiration injected directly into your crying heart. It's the movie people turn to when they need to get off the couch and achieve. And it goes beyond being a mere football film; it’s a story about perseverance paying off, if only for 17 glorious seconds.

Based on the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger’s drive to play college football for Notre Dame, the movie teaches us to refuse to give up on a dream—even when the thousandth person tells us it’s never going to happen. Its cultural legacy is tied up in making the steeliest cinephiles tear up, debating whether Rudy was offside (he wasn’t), and a GIF of Charles S. Dutton slow-clapping awkwardly (it’s difficult with winter gloves on, okay?).

For Rudy’s 25th anniversary, let’s cheer on some interesting facts about the film.

1. IT WAS VINCE VAUGHN’S MOVIE DEBUT.

Vince Vaughn did a car commercial, appeared on TV’s China Beach, and did a crowd scene in the 1991 Bette Midler movie For the Boys, but playing tailback Jamie O’Hara was his first credited film role. Vaughn’s character is a smarmy player who bashes Rudy (Sean Astin) in the beginning, but by the end pushes the team to defy their head coach’s play-calling so that the defense (and Rudy) can get on the field. Plus, this is the first movie to feature Vaughn and Jon Favreau, who would make Swingers together in 1996 and launch themselves into stardom.

2. IT’S FROM THE TEAM THAT MADE HOOSIERS.

It seems obvious once you know it. Rudy may as well be a spiritual sequel to the college basketball drama, what with the shared grit, drive, and Indiana shooting locations. Angelo Pizzo wrote the script for Hoosiers, and David Anspaugh directed. While it took some convincing to get Pizzo on board with another Indiana-set sports movie, he and Anspaugh collaborated to make a second iconic, uplifting movie.

3. TOM CRUISE ACCIDENTALLY HAD A HAND IN GETTING IT MADE.

After Hoosiers, Anspaugh and Pizzo were developing a movie about the Indy 500 for Orion Pictures, but it got axed after a year’s worth of work when Tom Cruise signed up to make Days of Thunder. The cancellation left the screenwriter and director open to other ideas, one of which was Ruettiger’s story.

4. IT GOT MADE BECAUSE SOMEONE EAVESDROPPED IN A HOTEL.

Former Notre Dame football player Rudy Ruettiger attends the 17th Annual Sports Spectacular at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 30, 2002
Robert Mora, Getty Images

Just how did Anspaugh and Pizzo catch wind of Ruettiger’s story? It wasn’t a newspaper article or a feature on TV. The brother of their friend from college was at a hotel when he overheard a guy telling an epic tale about achieving his dream to play for Notre Dame. The guy turned out to be Ruettiger, and after listening in, the eavesdropper told him he knew the filmmakers behind Hoosiers. Naturally, Ruettiger jumped at the chance to have them tell his triumphant story.

5. NED BEATTY HAD A CONNECTION TO SEAN ASTIN'S FAMILY.

The legendary Ned Beatty played Sean Astin’s dad in Rudy, and a year earlier he’d played husband to Astin’s real-life mother, Patty Duke, in the supernatural romance Prelude to a Kiss.

6. THE REAL RUDY IS IN THE STANDS AT THE END.

While the crowd erupts in the final seconds of Notre Dame’s game against Georgia Tech, and Rudy’s dad bursts with joy at the sight of his son finally taking the field, the man cheering along behind him (in a blue coat with a rocking fur lapel) is the real-life Daniel Ruettiger, who was on set every day as a consultant.

7. JOE MONTANA WAS ON THE TEAM, BUT NOT IN THE MOVIE.

Joe Montana started his college football career at Notre Dame in 1974 and was there as a back-up quarterback in the 1975 season that features Rudy’s single appearance on the field. But he’s not a character in the film because all of the players’ names and characteristics are fabrications. The three-time Super Bowl MVP is also open about the film’s fictional liberties, once saying, “[Rudy] worked his butt off to get where he was … but not any harder than anybody else.”

8. THE JERSEY SCENE NEVER HAPPENED IN REAL LIFE.

The Hollywoodification Montana and others most like to point out is the scene where the players all threaten to quit by dropping their jerseys on Coach Dan Devine’s desk unless Rudy gets to play, which never happened. The scene shifts Devine from crusty obstacle to full-on villain, needing a bold gesture to force him to let the scrappy Rudy suit up when, in real life, Devine announced that Rudy would dress for the game days before kickoff. Devine has publicly spoken against his characterization in the movie, saying, “There’s not an iota of truth in it.”

9. RUDY DOESN’T HAVE A BROTHER NAMED FRANK.

Beyond the jerseys, the biggest fabrication of the film is Frank, a person who simply does not exist in real life. Played by Scott Benjaminson, Pizzo invented Rudy’s big brother Frank as a human symbol of all the people who discouraged Rudy.

10. THERE IS ONE REAL NOTRE DAME PLAYER ON THE MOVIE’S TEAM.

Sean Astin stars in 'Rudy' (1993)
TriStar Pictures

NCAA rules prevent college players from being in movies, but Notre Dame defensive lineman Peter Rausch had already completed his NCAA eligibility by the time the movie started filming. He can be seen wearing the number 75, starting the “Rudy” chant from the field. His character’s name is “Steve.”

11. THE GAMES FEEL REAL BECAUSE OF THE CINEMATOGRAPHY.

If you find yourself thinking the games in Rudy look exactly like the football you watched every Saturday and Sunday in the '90s, it’s because NFL Films shot them. Instead of adding an epic sheen to the bouts with impossible close-ups and swooping pans that make each tackle look like a war movie, the team opted to shoot plays from the sidelines. The result is a naturalistic style that still puts you right into the huddle.

Keep Hackers Out Forever With This Top-Rated VPN for Just $39

Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Think for a moment about how many private interactions you have on the internet. Saved passwords, credit card information, private conversations, medical records— almost your entire identity. Protect your privacy and identity across five devices for under $40 with a lifetime VPN from KeepSolid, which provides you peace of mind to continue using online conveniences without fear, bandwidth limits, or geographic restrictions.

Daily protection is extremely important when almost every transaction is made online. Groceries, movies, games, bills, and so much more are all paid for online with your personal and accessible information—but the concern doesn’t stop with others’ access to you. What happens when you’re restricted from accessing parts of the internet yourself? KeepSolid VPN Unlimited will also bypass censorship to allow you access to any site you’d like. This comes in handy when you’re traveling abroad in countries that restrict access to sites like Facebook.

More than 10 million customers globally have trusted KeepSolid VPN Unlimited with their internet access, identity, and privacy without compromised browsing speeds or the danger of leaving data exposed to theft and fraud. If the reviews of the general public don’t sway you, perhaps the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption will (that’s cybersecurity lingo for very secure).

While Keepsolid VPN Unlimited can't keep your fingers from accidentally sending that Snapchat to the wrong person (that’s on you), it can protect you from the privacy violations that are out of your control and often go undetected. Add the best VPN to your cybersecurity toolkit at the sale price of $39, and enjoy a massive selection of servers worldwide, a rich variety of VPN protocols, and much more to keep hackers out of your sensitive data for a lifetime.

 

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription - $39

See Deal



At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Mark Hamill Learned About The Empire Strikes Back's Big Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else

Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Few cinematic secrets were better kept—or more shocking when they came out—than that of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa's true parentage in the Star Wars saga. According to ComicBook.com, the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke and Leia's father was such a well-kept secret that it wasn't actually put into the script at all. Evidently, only three people on set knew about the moment in advance: Mark Hamill, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner. (Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was also aware.)

Hamill took to Twitter to explain the pivotal part of the franchise, during which a fake line was used so the actual reveal could be dubbed in afterwards, allowing the trio to keep the secret from the cast and crew for more than a year.

"The cast & crew first learned of it when they saw the finished film," Hamill said to his fans on Twitter. "When we shot it, Vader's line was 'You don't know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father.' Only Irvin Kershner, George Lucas & I knew what would be dubbed in later. Agony keeping that secret for over a year!"

Props to them for not letting the spoiler slip early. Even with the pressure of keeping such a big plot twist under wraps, Lucas says financial concerns were what plagued him most.

“Well, to be very honest, the most challenging aspect was paying for [The Empire Strikes Back],” Lucas recently told StarWars.com. “In order to be able to take control of the movie, I had to pay for it myself. And in order to do that, I did something my father told me never to do, which was to borrow money. But there wasn’t much I could do because I only had maybe half of the money to make the movie, so I had to borrow the other half, which put a lot of pressure on me.”

If you feel like reminiscing about a galaxy far, far away, check out this year's May the Fourth celebration compilation here. And if you want to see the twist for yourself (whether it's for the first or the hundredth time), all nine movies in the Skywalker Saga are now streaming on Disney+.

[h/t ComicBook.com]

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.