Critics Consensus

Though undeniably sentimental and predictable, Rudy succeeds with an uplifting spirit and determination.



Total Count: 46


Audience Score

User Ratings: 127,214
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Movie Info

Since he was a little boy, Rudy Ruttinger (Sean Astin) has idolized the University of Notre Dame and its football team. However, he is a small boy who will inevitably grow up to be a small man. Not only that, but he is not an outstanding student or even a particularly good athlete. His blue-collar family is convinced that he is only asking for heartache by aspiring so far beyond his abilities. For a while Rudy grudgingly accepts this assessment and goes to work in the local steel mill. His dream just won't die, and he eventually wins admission to the college of his dreams, In his junior year he tries out for the football team, but is able only to serve as a live tackle-dummy. Bruised and battered though he is, he is proud to have any connection with his team. By his senior year, the team has grown so fond of the boy that on the day of the final game, every member shows up at the coach's office and offers to give up his place on the squad in order to give Rudy one chance to suit up as a team member. The coach, moved and impressed, allows Rudy to suit up and lead the team to the benches. Then, once victory is assured, he lets Rudy participate in the final scrimmage of the game. Rudy acquits himself well, and his loving friends hoist him onto their shoulders and carry him off the field. This "men's weepie" is based on the true story of Rudy Ruttinger.


Sean Astin
as Daniel E. 'Rudy' Ruettiger
Ned Beatty
as Daniel Ruettiger
Jason Miller
as Ara Parseghian
Scott Benjaminson
as Frank Ruettiger
Robert Prosky
as Father Cavanaugh
Kevin Duda
as Bernie
Luke Massery
as Daniel E. 'Rudy' Ruettiger
Jake Armstrong
as Bernie (age 13)
John Duda
as Frank Ruettiger
Joey Sikora
as Johnny Ruettiger
Gerry Becker
as Father Ted
Bob Swan
as Father Zajak
Leonard Kuberski
as Classroom Priest
James Riehle
as Locker Room Priest
Robert Mohler
as Johnny Ruettiger
Todd Spicer
as Boy in Neighborhood
Spyridon Stratigos
as Coach Gillespie
John Beasley
as Coach Warren
Chelcie Ross
as Dan Devine
Ron Dean
as Coach Yonto
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Critic Reviews for Rudy

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (10)

  • Anspaugh, whose Hoosiers showed he knows from feel-good movies, directs this story as if he were conducting Bolero, carefully building climax upon climax as the story spirals to an underdog triumph every bit as tearful as that of Rocky.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The film is so effective because Rudy is never seen as mock-heroic, and he's never lifted toward unrealistic achievement. He simply does the very best he can.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Underneath its rah-rah spirit, the PG-rated Rudy is straightforward enough to raise, albeit unintentionally, some troubling questions.

    Aug 23, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Rudy is one of those beating-the-odds tales that no one does better than Hollywood. A film that hits all the right emotional buttons, it's an intelligent, sentimental drama that lifts an audience to its feet cheering.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Leonard Klady

    Top Critic
  • [A] well-crafted piece of middle-American uplift.

    Mar 26, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Directed with composure, but no great fervour, the film's conspicuously uninterested in American football, and much concerned with testing the limits and the resilience of the American dream.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Rudy

  • Jan 16, 2013
    Rudy inspires us all to try to chase after our dreams and do what we want. It inspires to try harder and get back up after a fall. Most of all it inspires us football players to try harder and it shows that size isn't everything. I personally think this is the best football movie out there. It has emotion, and very cool passion for football. The acting is great. Sean Astin is perfect for the role of Rudy and everyone else does a great job in their parts too. Charles S. Dutton, Ned Beatty, John Favreau (in his first film role) are pretty standout in their performances as well. I also think that any Notre Dame football player or fan should see this movie.
    Ian I Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    Rudy is quite simply the best sports film there can be, its that good. Everything from the fantastic performance from Sean Astin, the well-written script, perfect score, emotional tone, beautiful direction, and its great focus on football is nothing short of perfection. Its a simple premise, a young man wants to go to the university of his dreams and play for one of the best teams in college football. Its this idea that drives the film, making us believe that no matter what people expect of you or what they wish you to believe, you need to follow that dream. Its a theme we have seen a hundred times, but Rudy is something special. Its a drama for the ages, but at its heart, its a sports film that has no equal.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2011
    A little long, but Sean Astin really does make his performance convincing and passionate, with all his charm.. The Movie really is a wonderful sports drama.
    Willis T Super Reviewer
  • Aug 27, 2011
    Rudy is a well made and acted true story about Rudy Ruettiger a down on his luck student who dreams about going to Notre Dame University and playing for the Universities football team, The Fighting Irish. Unfortunately the odds are against him, and there's nothing but bad luck for Rudy. But he perseveres to make his dreams a reality. Rudy is a well made film, but I saw so many films that followed the same path, that when I finally got around to watching Rudy, it seemed clichéd almost. However, what separates this film from the rest of real life "feel good movies" is that it surrounds a kid who beat all odds to attend Notre Dame, and there was some great acting here to boot. If you've seen some "feel good inspiring films" before, then you've seen Rudy, but for what it is, I felt that this story was better written and better told on screen than other films of this caliber. That's the difference from most "feel good" films. Sean Astin gives a terrific performance, and this one of his best roles. In Lord of the Rings, he was terrific, but slightly annoying. However in Rudy, Astin delivers a great, memorable performance. Rudy is a terrific film and though it's a "feel good" film, it manages to actually make you feel, despite its small imperfections. This is a terrific film about not giving up, and watching Rudy not let anything stand in his way is memorable.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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