Friday Night Lights (2004)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: An acute survey of the football-obsessed heartland that succeeds as both a stirring drama and a rousing sports movie.


Movie Info

A drama that chronicles the entire 1988 season of the Permian High Panthers of Odessa, Texas, with football players, coaches, mothers, fathers, pastors, boosters, fans and families struggling with ongoing personal conflicts while the team fights for a state championship. A town for sale, Odessa, Texas has seen better days--the financial bust evident in its boarded-up shops and broken lives. Yet one hope sustains the community where, once a week during the fall, the town and its dreams come alive … More

Rating: PG-13 (for thematic issues, sexual content, language, some teen drinking and rough sports action)
Genre: Drama , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: David Cohen , David Aaron Cohen , Peter Berg
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 18, 2005
Box Office: $60.6M
Runtime:
Universal Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Coach Gaines

as Mike Winchell

as Don Billingsley

as James `Boobie' Miles

as Brian Chavez

as Ivory Christian

as Chris Comer

as Charles Billingsley

as L.V. Miles

as Sharon Gaines

as Mrs. Winchell

as Jennifer Gaines

as Comer's Girlfriend

as Trapper

as Skip Baldwin

as John Aubrey

as Odessa Doctor

as Nancy Aubrey

as Booster

as Slammin' Sammy

as Coach Miller

as Booster

as Coach McCutcheon

as Coach Belew

as Coach James

as Coach Harper

as Booster Wife

as Coach Vonner

as Booster Wife

as Coach Smith

as Buddy's Burgers Mana...

as Coach Plunk

as Coach Campbell

as Permian Play-by-Play...

as Permian Color Announ...

as Coach Washburn

as Carter Play-by-Play ...

as Coach Johnson

as Carter Play-by-Play ...

as Midland Lee Assistan...

as Graf

as Coach Miller

as Coach Belew

as Permian Booth Coach

as Permian Booth Coach

as Carter Booth Coach

as Carter Booth Coach

as Carter Booth Coach

as Carter Booth Coach

as Carter Assistant Coa...

as Carter Assistant Coa...

as Marshall High School...

as Marshall Game Refere...

as Cooper Game End Zone...

as Carter Game Referee

as Carter Game Official

as Carter Co-Captain - ...

as Carter Quarterback -...

as C.C. Russeau

as John Wilkins

as Jerald McClary

as Loie Harris

as Marvin Edwards

as State Trooper

as Cheerleader

as Drunk Driver

as Kansas Wesleyan Recr...

as Kansas Wesleyan Recr...

as Recruiter

as Recruiter

as Recruiter

as Journalist Jim

as Reporter

as Skip Baldwin's Camer...

as Young Kid

as Young Kid

as Young Kid

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Football Player

as Police Officer
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Friday Night Lights

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (45)

Few films have shown so powerfully the slashing double edge of sports fever.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Newsweek
Top Critic

A heart-pounding big-screen treatment that captures all the action of a tumultuous season while showing the emotional toll on the players.

Full Review… | March 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The affecting, gruelling result is less a document of recreational sport than one of obligation and ordeal.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

So much more than a football movie.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

What Friday Night Lights offers is the perspective that, for the people and young players caught up in this whirlwind, football simultaneously means everything and ultimately nothing.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Window to the Movies

Friday Night Lights is a feel-good movie, but it's not real. It's a hard-hitting Hallmark greeting card. It's no wonder it appealed to Larry King %u2014 it's safe, easy, conventional, and feigns incisiveness.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Bright Lights Film Journal

Audience Reviews for Friday Night Lights

½

Another film about football, this sports drama has been lauded by critics for its grotesque portrayal of on-field action, its raw emotion, and fighting spirit. It went on to inspire a television show that was a critical darling until its end in 2011, and remains one of the few sports movies that many relate to and love. The film follows the Odessa-Permian panthers in their 1988 season, a real team that was characterized by a book of the same name in which this film was based. It follows the team as their star coach has to grapple after the injury of one of their best players, and the ensuing losing streak. The film becomes an underdog tale as the team struggles to gain a foothold among the other teams competing for the title of state champion. Like other sports movies the action is rather built up, there is the tension of the town's Southern poverty thanks to an oil shortage in that year, and the characters having to traverse the regular hardships of their teenage existence. The town itself has a perverse stake in the football season and this generation's prowess, their interest ever present but most so in the beginning of the film, and though addressed throughout with an ex-champion father to one of the players, now a loud alcoholic played by Tim McGraw, there isn't really any change in that attitude. Instead that small town arrogance permeates the rest of the film and this football team's prominence is covered by the town's radio, television, and public opinion, which is simply sickening. The film also does not represent its characters very well, only briefly looking at their personal lives and more often than others cutting to the football field where they are harassed and abused by their assistant coaches and family members. The characters are badly defined, most often badly acted, and forgettable. "Boogie" is the only empathetic or interesting character, and he barely has anything to do with their season. In the end the attitude of sports being most important prevails, and none of the characters show any growth, only expressing their sadness at never playing again. Besides being an underdog story there isn't much tension, and with all the buildup that's vitally important, which is why this film leaves you deflated.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

A movie is rare when they make a movie as good as Friday Night Lights, and a movie that is the best performance from Billy Bob Thorton ever. The plot is the best sports plot ive seen since Rudy or Hoosiers. The characters were all great, they all gave a backround of themselves by their expression, really good acting. I was surprised to discover the music was tremendous, really well made. The cinematography was really shaky for a football movie. This movie was amazing.

DreamExtractor
Jim Careter

Super Reviewer

Mike Winchell: This is for the state championship. I love all of ya'll, baby. I love all of ya'll. 

"Hope Comes Alive on Friday Night"

As far as football movies or sports movies in general go, Friday Night Lights sets itself apart from most. I don't know if I've seen another movie that captures the emotion of high school athletics as well as Friday Night Lights did. Anyone who's ever played a high school sport knows the emotion that's involved. That last game of the season and for about 95% of the players; the last game of their lives. 

The State Championship sequence is highly manipulative. I'll be the first to admit that. Everything about it is manipulative. But it's undeniably well-made, emotional, and powerful. For many of the players, it is the biggest moment of their life. They aren't going to have another day where 55,000 people are screaming and their only a touchdown away from a state championship. 

The characters are all well developed and are all deeply moving in their own way. Billingsley can't hold on to the football, but he fights through that and ends up being one of the teams best players. Winchell is a hard working and tough quarterback who never gives up on himself or his team. Boobie is the most talented player, but also the most cocky. That is until he goes down for the season. He rallies around his team even though he can't play, and it's killing him. Hell even Billingsley's dad is moving. Yeah he's a piece of crap to his son at the start. But he grows to be a good dad at the end in a pretty emotional shot. We can't hear what he says to his son, but we really don't need to.

If you love sports and know the emotions that are involved; this movie cannot be missed. It's really a spectacular look at one season and how it can affect a town in so many ways.

blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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