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The Express (2008)

tomatometer

61

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 115
Fresh: 70 | Rotten: 45

This inspirational sports biopic set in the the civil rights era is interesting even for non-football fans, and features a great performance by Dennis Quaid as tough-but-fair football coach.

61

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 13

This inspirational sports biopic set in the the civil rights era is interesting even for non-football fans, and features a great performance by Dennis Quaid as tough-but-fair football coach.

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 819,921

My Rating

Movie Info

Finding Forrester star Rob Brown steps into the cleats of Heisman Trophy-winning gridiron giant Ernie Davis in director Gary Fleder's inspirational sports docudrama. As a young boy reared not far from the northern Pennsylvania state line, Davis dreamed of blasting through the end zone and scoring a triumphant touchdown while fans rose to their feet and cheered. When Davis later became a star running back for the Syracuse Orangemen, his dreams were finally on the way to becoming a reality. Under

Jan 20, 2009

$9.6M

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (118) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (70) | Rotten (45) | DVD (10)

The sports-movie template is capable of absorbing any story and delivering the same uplift.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rob Brown did a nice job.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Football fan or not, definitely be sure to see it.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comments (3)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film does the job, in its conventional way. But it's geared to throw the prime screen time in the direction of the guy playing the guy coaching the guy who's supposed to be running the movie.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite appealing performances and kinetic football scenes, the storytelling is mostly conventional, except for two outstanding set pieces.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Express may prove valuable to movie historians since it's a compendium of virtually every sports movie cliché ever contrived.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It makes the most of its on-the-field drama, but it tends toward gross generalizations and oversentimentality. ... As a result, the film is burdened with hokiness.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

The movie also has its heart in the right place and it is as earnest as it can be. It simply falls short of being a great movie.

July 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

At times The Express couldn't decide whether it was telling a story of racial tensions, a general inspirational sports film or the tragic biography of Ernie Davis

March 5, 2009 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

The Express is running on two rails at the same time. There's sentiment, which is true. And there's sentimentality, which is not. At its best, The Express is a moving tribute; at its worst, it's conventional manipulation.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

While there's nothing remarkable about the way director Gary Fleder has brought The Express to the screen, this is a solid film that does justice to Davis' legacy.

January 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

While never as trailblazing as its subject, The Express is a worthy addition to the lengthy canon of sports biopics.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A fine example of the form. Cliched and sentimental it might be, but in the case of The Express, these criticisms almost count as plus points.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Full of stirring speeches and manly chins quivering with emotion, every frame is a cliché.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Gary Fleder's sporting drama has its heart in the right place but, sheesh, that title grows more ironic with each crawling minute.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

A tidal wave of corn syrup hardly mars this old-style, populist entertainment.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Fact-based or fictional, no genre sticks to the playbook more rigidly than the sports drama. Creditable addition to the canon though it is, The Express does not buck the trend.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Steams ahead with express-train determination, scooping on to its cow-catcher any cinemagoer hoping he can outrun yet another true-life drama about black sportsmen overcoming bygone bigotry.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The screenplay is stewed in such pieties, served up as warm and homely as apple pie - only there's no taste to it.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Entertaining drama biopic that marshals its collection of sports biopic cliches to winning effect, aided by superb performances from Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown.

December 5, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

No film that's 129 minutes long should be called The Express - how about The Sleeper To Oblivion?

December 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Teletext | Comment (1)
Teletext

There's nothing daring in the least about The Express, which, like most real-life sports stories co-opted by Hollywood, strips the achievements of any individuality or historical worth and renders them all part of the same gumbo of sticky cliches.

November 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's hamstrung by both underdeveloped plot strands and overdeveloped visual style, but it still works in its own way, plowing through potential criticisms much like its titular gridiron hero plowed through tacklers.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for The Express

A surprisingly enjoyable movie, and one that - I think - got lost among a great many football movies, primarily Remember the Titans, Any Given Sunday (in which Dennis Quaid also plays a coach...) and Friday Night Lights. These three aren't the comparables, though; if anything, put this one beside Rudy. It's an underdog story that's a bit formulaic but very well set in its moment, and it tells of a very human experience: though it's about racism - Davis being the first black player to win the Heisman trophy - it's not too heavy-handed, and it's just as much about football, and built on a deep love and understanding of the game. I recommend seeing it once.
October 29, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Another well made true factual sporting film about an all star black American football star in the 50's/60's when racism was a very hot cookie in the States. The whole story, even though its true, isn't very original hehe they do tend to be all the same really,
A poor boy having a hard time growing up as an outcast makes it good in the world of pro football due to his natural athletic abilities, wins over many peoples hearts and support but dies young from natural causes, missing his chance to really make his mark in the world.

I have seen many good sporting films and they are always in the same vein, true or not, but they do seem to turn out well made and always make you feel good at the end or make you think, which is good. This film is no exception, its very very well made, looks really authentic capturing the era and problems of the time, has a great timeless soundtrack, little nuggets of real footage from the actual games and tugs at your heart strings throughout. It is predictable like all sport flicks but the fact its based on true events does make you ignore that, well you have to ignore that.

The cast are all excellent, Quaid is good as the tough supportive coach and Brown is very good as Davis showing real love in his role, Dutton as Davis father is also very good in his short role adding real class to the whole film.

I have to admit Americans sure know how to make a good sporting flick about their beloved national games, although Baseball doesn't fare as well as Football.
February 9, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Although 'The Express' doesn't live up to the standards of movies such as 'Remember the Titans' but it manages to keep viewers excited and thrilled. Its talented cast manages to pull of the inspirational characters.
April 22, 2010
Jason Lalljee
Jason Lalljee

Super Reviewer

The Ernie Davis story; it's told from his child hood back in 1949 up until his death in 1964. For those who are sports fans, this movie is an instant classic in which I would put second only too "Remember The Titans", as we get an inside look at the child hood, life, and career of a true sports legend and those who surrounded him during his journey. It was amazinly done.

For those who are not sportsmans - the movie has a solid plot with personal and life struggles,, it has an alright soundtrack (but ive seen better). Everyone knows that a great film needs a great soundtrack as it what truly brings some of the more emotional scenes alive; the movie however does lack that. It has top notch actors in Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown, and really just barley missed a beat. My only complaint is there is certain parts of the film that seem repeated, as if we seen this earlier in the film, but it happens rarley.

In Conclusion I would say it's lack of soundtrack taking away from some of the better scenes that could be nothing short of amazing; and a storyline that sometimes seems repetive at points - it stands out as better than "Friday Night Lights", but not as quite up to par with Disneys "Remember The Titans".
September 29, 2009
bhobbs1985

Super Reviewer

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