The Program (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Program (1993)

The Program



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Program Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Eastern State University isn't particularly notable for anything except its football program. Lately, even that hasn't been doing too well, and the athletic staff led by Coach Winters (James Caan) are under considerable pressure by the administration and alumni to bring in a winning season. To do that, he has to recruit some able, promising young players out of high school. It's not too surprising to learn that he will do almost anything to get these kids, and its even less surprising that, as long as they keep producing on the field, he and the college will overlook almost any obnoxious behavior the boys can perpetrate to the limit of their ability.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Aaron Latham, David S. Ward
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 29, 2005
Buena Vista


James Caan
as Coach Sam Winters
Halle Berry
as Autumn Haley
Omar Epps
as Darnell Jefferson
Craig Sheffer
as Joe Kane
Kristy Swanson
as Camille Schaeffer
Abraham Benrubi
as Bud-Lite Kaminski
Duane Davis
as Alvin Mack
Jon Maynard Pennell
as Bobby Collins
Joey Adams
as Louanne
J.C. Quinn
as Joe's Father
Andrew Bryniarski
as Steve Lattimer
J. Leon II Pridgen
as Ray Griffen
Mike Flippo
as Coach Humes
Ernest Dixon
as Coach Clayton
George Rogers
as Coach Myers
George Nannerello
as Advisor Smith
Jeff Portell
as Reporter #1
Jim Fyfe
as Nichols
Bernard Mixon
as Reverend Wallace
Mary Lou Holloway
as Alvin's Mother
Robert Fuller
as Tim Waymen
Steven Griffith
as Joe's Brother
John Bennes
as Edward Learnihan
Lynn Swann
as Himself
Robert D. Raiford
as Chancellor Wilson
Chris Berman
as Himself
George Lee
as Fat Cat Alumnus
Rhoda Griffis
as Reporter #3
Tim Parati
as Steroids Dealer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Program

Critic Reviews for The Program

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (8)

Those are fairly standard story lines in a football movie, so that leaves the assorted relationship subplots, which frankly, are worse.

Full Review… | January 24, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Most of the focus is on Sheffer, whose character is too enigmatic, while Epps , Berry and Swanson gamely try to pull for extra dramatic yardage but can't do much with their underwritten roles.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

The Program is a routine Joe College movie, with the added twist that Joe College is Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer), a prime contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

The Program is a mish-mash of cliches.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

As noisy and ludicrous as all this sounds, the movie does have its share of guilty pleasures. Like the kid on steroids, it's revved so high that it's out of control.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

One might want to consider wearing a helmet while watching.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Program


this film was huge with my friends upon its release but its themes were a little silly for me. really just a brainless football film for people who look for cheap tricks.

danny d

Super Reviewer

Here's to a new season.

A college football program has gone a few years without making a bowl game and the pressure is coming down on the coach. We follow the quarterback, star running back recruit, and a defensive player who needs steroids to crack the starting line-up deal with the struggles of meeting program expectations versus real life personal struggles. Can the players block out their personal struggles to save the coaches job?

"Fuck you, dough boy, I can read. You see that shoe, it says Adidas."
"I taught him that."

David S. Ward, director of Major League I & II, King Ralph, Down Periscope, and Cannery Row, delivers The Program. The storyline for this picture is very entertaining and fairly well told. There were some rigid performances and scenes that could have been better told, but the story was worth following. The acting was just okay and the cast includes James Caan, Halle Berry, Craig Sheffer, Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, and Andrew Bryniarski.

"Let's put the women and children to bed and go looking for fucking dinner."

The Program is a movie a lot of us were exciting to see as kids when it first came out. We all would get together and watch this and look forward to our crazy youths in front of us and the lifestyle that was portrayed in this movie. This was amazing then and just above average now watching it as an adult. This is worth watching once but needed a better cast and execution to become a classic.

"If you don't come I'm never going to ask you again."

Grade: C+

Kevin Robbins

A solid sports drama that touches on the pressures of college football. It had a more realistic nature than your typical feel-good football movie. I liked it. (First and only viewing - 1/21/2016)

The Program Quotes

Coach Sam Winters: I used to be Sonny, remember?
– Submitted by Jesse K (3 years ago)

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