Analysis of Rudy and the life of Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger. Final Grade: A


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"Rudy," was written by the screenwriters of "Hoosiers" -- Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh (who also directed the film.)

This really might be one of the more accurate non-fiction movies ever made. Pizzo and Anspaugh, as they were in Hoosiers, paid extreme care to every little detal. Plus Ruettiger was involved in the project and though he may hold the all-time record for getting the most mileage out of one little tackle, he is nothing if not determined. Therefore this movie appears to be extremely right on the money and even the football scenes look real.

However there are some inaccuracies or implied mistakes in the film

Rudy opened to great reviews in 1993 including getting 3 and a half stars from Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times. Also read the review on Movie Parables. Or a review, 9 years later on Culture Dose.
  • Halfway through the movie, Rudy can be seen sitting in the stands at a Notre Dame- Penn State game with Penn State clearly visable on the scoreboard. Problem is before 1993, the only time the two school met was in 1928.
  • The real Rudy served in the Navy before going to Holy Cross & ND.
Listen to the scene where "Rudy" walks into the ND locker room for the first time and relieves past Irish glory.
  • O'Shaughnessy Hall where Rudy attends classes while at Holy Cross is actually on Notre Dame's campus.
  • The real Joliet Catholic's school colors are brown and white.
  • The character of Mary was a creation.
  • No mention of a Freshman quarterback named Joe Montana (though the real Ruettiger does tell a great Montana story in his inspirational speeches).

But on the bright side, this movie is very factual. Ara Parseghian did leave ND suddenly and was replaced by Dan Devine of the Green Bay Packers. In his autobiography, Simply Devine, Coach Devine acknowledges a friendship with Ruettiger and denounces that he was 'a mean tyrant' as he was portrayed in the film. (Source: "Devine not the devil movie portrays, Summer 2001, Notre Dame Magazine).

Other accuracies:

  • Rudy's game was against Georgia Tech.
  • The NCAA did restrict teams to 60 dressed players back in the 70's.
  • No other Irish player has been carried off the team since Rudy.


The Rudy soundtrack includes a classical theme song by Jerry Goldsmith, and of course, the Notre Dame fight song.

Photo of the real Rudy getting carried off the field. (Courtesy Notre Dame Program.)

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