Publish Date: 03/03/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
Rudy was, at one time, one of my favorite movies.
I grew up in Indiana and remember watching the Notre Dame replay show with the immortal broadcaster Lindsey Nelson every Sunday. I remember getting chills every Saturday watching the games as the Notre Dame fight song would play and the Fighting Irish emerged from the tunnel. My Saturday afternoon heroes as a youngster consisted of Bob Crable, Joe Montana, Vagas Ferguson, Tony Hunter … this list could go on forever.
So, when Rudy came out, I was excited to watch it. And when I saw it, I was blown away! After watching Rudy, I came away not liking coach Dan Devine anymore despite being one of my favorites ever since he’d led my beloved Fighting Irish to a national championship. I watched Rudy so many times that the VHS tape broke!
Unfortunately, as I would find out from an interview with Notre Dame legend Joe Montana, the movie is embellished beyond belief and actually makes a great coach and man named Dan Devine look bad solely for dramatic purposes. An example: All parties, even Rudy Ruettiger himself, admit the jersey-throwing scene never happened.
Remember in the movie when members of the team toss their jersey onto Coach Dan Devine’s desk, saying they wouldn’t play if Rudy didn’t get dressed for the final game? Didn’t happen. In fact, Rudy was told several days before the game that he could suit up. Although the movie maintained that members of the team did pressure the coach to let him play, while Coach Dan Devine in his memoir said he alone decided that Rudy would dress and play that game.
Dan Devine was a great football coach and the fact that he was cast as a villain in Rudy is unacceptable for me. The fact that Ruettiger to this day has no problem making money off this crap will show you the kind of person he is.
In the film, Rudy has an older brother Frank who constantly chides his younger brother’s ambitions. In actual fact — you guessed it — Rudy is the oldest son in the family; he has no brother named Frank and no sibling who fits Frank’s description. Ruettiger told the New York Times that fictional person was the “composite of everyone who ever discouraged” him.
But Frank is not the only character composite. Remember the ever-encouraging groundskeeper? Sorry, didn’t exist and in this movie serves as a composite of everyone who *did* encourage him. I am not making this up!
Joe Montana said that the carrying off of Ruettiger after his final play was more of the players joking around than anything else. I guess in the end Rudy is just a guy who ended up trying to make a buck by completely lying about his lone accomplishment in life. It is also very disappointing that Rudy Ruettiger was ultimately nothing but a bullshit artist!
And I used to love this movie…