Brian's Song (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

Brian's Song (1970)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Brian's Song Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

One of the best known and most enthusiastically reviewed made for television films of the 1970's, this drama was based on the true story of football greats Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and Piccolo (James Caan) both joined the Chicago Bears the same year, and while it was obvious from the start Sayers had the talent and drive to be a great player, Piccolo seemed destined to be an also-ran on the team. However, Sayers and Piccolo struck up a friendship which brought out the best in both players, and coach George Halas (Jack Warden) chose them for a special assignment -- they became the first interracial roommates in the history of the NFL. When Sayers suffered a knee injury that threatened to end his career, Piccolo took it upon himself to help his friend through rehabilitation so he could rejoin the team. But when Piccolo began having heath problems, it was a problem too great for Sayers to handle -- his close friend had developed cancer. Adapted from Sayers' autobiography I Am Third, Brian's Song also features Chicago Bears legend Dick Butkus as himself.more
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Television, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: William Blinn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 8, 2000
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Billy Dee Williams
as Gale Sayers
James Caan
as Brian Piccolo
Judy Pace
as Linda
Ji-Tu Cumbuka
as Roommate
Jim Boeke
as Veteran Player
Doreen Lang
as Nurse 1
Allen Secher
as Hotel Man
Stu Nahan
as Speaker
Mario Machado
as 1st Reporter
Jack Daniel Wells
as Toastmaster
Dick Butkus
as Himself
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Brian's Song

Critic Reviews for Brian's Song

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1)

Made-for-TV eyewash for disheartened Bears fans to drown their sorrows in.

Full Review… | January 25, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Weepy story of interracial pro football teammates.

Full Review… | December 22, 2010
Common Sense Media

The film's emotions are obvious and blunt, but they get the job done.

January 25, 2008

It remains the best example of the most different of men competing fairly and getting along peacefully ever filmed.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

April 4, 2006
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

November 7, 2005

Audience Reviews for Brian's Song


If you thought this was a bit sappy in 1970 you should watch it again. The thing practically oozes with overt sentimentality. Still, it's an indelible childhood memory for men of my generation and an almost iconic piece of '70s Americana. ...and yes, it still makes me cry (dammit).

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

This is one of the best films I've ever seen -- I lived in Aurora, Illinois when Brian died! I loved him as a Bear, and I was terribly saddened by his death -- I remember all that Gayle Sayers did for him, but I didn't know this much -- A Wonderful film --

Tom Ericksen

Super Reviewer

Oh, How Melo-Drama was enjoyable in the 70's! Now a days, You can't even last a minute with a movie like that. In Brian's song Case, I lasted the whole film, enjoying moderate parts of it. Also, no matter How much, i love football, i do not shed tears, only Old Yeller, can get that close.

Joseph Eastmond

Super Reviewer

Brian's Song Quotes

Brian Piccolo: So, Concannon calls this trap play, and it's just beautiful... 43 yards, wasn't it 43? Ah. So, Halas sees he's tired, and sends me in, so I go in, he comes out. Concannon then figures he's gonna get REALLY foxy... you know, Concannon is... So, he says, 'Um, same play. VERY SAME PLAY.' Now, a trap play is also called, a SUCKER play, because it makes the defense look REAL bad when it works. Now, defenses DO NOT like to look real bad, see... it makes 'em kinda surly... So, anyway, all the linemen go this way, and it's like I am lookin' at a team portrait of the Los Angeles Rams! 'Hey, Deacon! Merlin! How's the family, Rosey?'
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
Brian Piccolo: Well, on uh, Fake Draw Screen Right I uh, pick up the linebacker if he's comin, 'less of course it's Butkus, then I simply notify the quarterback to send for a preacher.
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
Brian Piccolo: I said thank you.
Gale Sayers: I know.
Brian Piccolo: Well, usually when someone says thank you you're supposed to say you're welcome or How's Your mother?
Gale Sayers: How's your mother?
Brian Piccolo: She's doin' fine, thanks for asking.
– Submitted by Erin D (4 years ago)
Speaker: Ernest Hemingway once said 'Every true story ends in death.' Well, this is a true story.
– Submitted by Erin D (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Brian's Song on our Movie forum!