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The Longest Yard (21-Aug-1974)

Director: Robert Aldrich

Writers: Tracy Keenan Wynn; Albert S. Ruddy

Music by: Frank De Vol

Producer: Albert S. Ruddy

Keywords: Sports Drama, Football

A former quarterback, expelled from the NFL for point shaving, is serving a stint in prison for drunkenly stealing his girlfriend's Maserati and in the aftermath, assaulting two policemen. The prison warden asks him to prepare a team of prisoners to lose against the guards' semi-professional team. Burt Reynolds in one of his finest roles. Received an Oscar nomination for Best Editing. Avoid the inferior Adam Sandler remake, The Longest Yard (2005).

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NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Eddie Albert
22-Apr-1906 26-May-2005 Oliver on Green Acres
Michael Conrad
16-Oct-1925 22-Nov-1983 Sgt. Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues
James Hampton
6-Jul-1936   Trooper Dobbs on F Troop
Mike Henry
15-Aug-1936   Tarzan, 1966-68
George Jones
Country Musician
12-Sep-1931 26-Apr-2013 Country singer, White Lightning
Richard Kiel
13-Sep-1939 10-Sep-2014 "Jaws" in Moonraker
Ed Lauter
30-Oct-1940 16-Oct-2013 Character actor
Ray Nitschke
29-Dec-1936 8-Mar-1998 Green Bay Packer, Hall of Famer
Bernadette Peters
28-Feb-1948   It Runs in the Family
Burt Reynolds
11-Feb-1936 6-Sep-2018 Moustached Cannonball Run actor
Sonny Shroyer
28-Aug-1935   Enos on The Dukes of Hazzard


Burt Reynolds   ...   Paul Crewe
Eddie Albert   ...   Warden Hazen
Ed Lauter   ...   Captain Knauer
Michael Conrad   ...   Nate Scarboro
James Hampton   ...   Caretaker
Harry Caesar   ...   Granville
John Steadman   ...   Pop
Charles Tyner   ...   Unger
Mike Henry   ...   Rassmeusen
Jim Nicholson   ...   Ice Man
Bernadette Peters   ...   Warden's Secretary
Pervis Atkins   ...   Mawabe
Tony Cacciotti   ...   Rotka
Anitra Ford   ...   Melissa
Michael Fox   ...   Announcer
Joe Kapp   ...   Walking Boss
Richard Kiel   ...   Samson
Pepper Martin   ...   Shop Steward
Mort Marshall   ...   Assistant Warden
Ray Nitschke   ...   Bogdanski
Tony Reese   ...   Levitt
Sonny Sixkiller   ...   The Indian
Bob Tessier   ...   Shokner
Dino Washington   ...   Mason
Ernie Wheelwright   ...   Spooner
Joseph Dorsey   ...   Bartender
Dr. Gus Carlucci   ...   Team Doctor
Jack Rockwell   ...   Trainer
Sonny Shroyer   ...   Tannen
Ray Ogden   ...   Schmidt
Don Ferguson   ...   Referee
Chuck Hayward   ...   Trooper I
Alfie Wise   ...   Trooper II
Steve Wilder   ...   J. J.
George Jones   ...   Big George
Wilbur Gillian   ...   Big Wilbur
Wilson Warren   ...   Buttercup
Joe Jackson   ...   Little Joe
Howard Silverstein   ...   Howie
Donald Hixon   ...   Donny


Review by Walter Frith (posted on 7-Jun-2007)

The black and blue humour of 'The Longest Yard' is transparent to its central theme which is timeless. It stands up extremely well today and hasn't aged one bit. A bone crunching comedy with an athletic theme that makes the sport of football perhaps second best when it comes to having movies made about it. Baseball has its heavy weight movies but look at football. There is this film, 'North Dallas Forty', and while I didn't care for it, Oliver Stone's 'Any Given Sunday', which did its job by exposing truths in pro football to a degree that upset the NFL and impressed a lot of people. The funny thing is that while baseball movies have found massive audiences, football movies have virtually been forgotten by the public. Strange when you consider that football is a much more popular sport in the United States than baseball. Kids are raised to play it from the cradle, it is a religion in small town high schools and the college level outdraws the pros in attendance numbers. 'The Longest Yard' came out in 1974. A time when dirty play in the NFL was so much a part of the game that you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with it if you hadn't seen referees throwing flags frequently. Many thought the dirty play was good in the sport but major injuries forced the NFL to take action to make it the cleanest of all of today's major contact sports. In 'The Longest Yard', Burt Reynolds plays Paul Crewe, an ex-pro quarterback and former MVP who, in the opening scene, has a fight with his girlfriend, steals her expensive car, leads the police on a high speed chase across town, dumps the car in the bay and fights with the two arresting officers who pick him up drunk at a local bar. Sentenced to between 2 and 5 years in a southern prison, Crewe immediately butts heads with the captain of the guards (Ed Lauter), who can't stand Crewe's attitude upon arriving at the prison and lets him know it via his brutality. From there, Crewe is introduced to the warden (Eddie Albert), who is the best thing in the film. Albert's portrayal of the warden is sadistic (without personally landing a single blow), corrupt, power mad and above all, manipulative. Asking Paul Crewe to get involved in his prison football program the guards have organized among themselves seems like a dream to the warden but when Crewe refuses, after being threatened by the captain of the guards, the warden sentences him to work in the swamps and it isn't long before Crewe changes his mind and gets a football program in place. The warden has a brainstorm that Crewe will organize a team of cons to play the guards in a "tune-up" game before the guards' first real game of the season. The colourful portrayal of characters is what makes 'The Longest Yard' work more than any other factor. Notable standouts in the cast are Michael Conrad, who plays the team's head coach who uses intelligent persuasion to get his messages across. James Hampton, a good ol' country boy who is the team's manager and hustler to the authorities to get special treatment for the players via outside pleasures. And, of course, Burt Reynolds, Ed Lauter and Eddie Albert are a treasure load of performers to watch as they interpret the wonderful and hard boiled script written by Tracy Keenan Wynn. Overseeing the entire production is director Robert Aldrich whose other credits include 60's gems such as 'The Dirty Dozen', The Flight of the Phoenix' and 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' 'The Longest Yard' doesn't try for a second to be anything more than a highly entertaining audience picture and it pulls this feat off magnificently. It's also a grand scale of manipulation without insulting the audiences' intelligence. How many pictures have we seen where the bad guys, or those in conflict with the law have been made the heroes of the film? Well, there is 'Escape from Alcatraz', 'The Birdman of Alcatraz', 'The Godfather' and 'Bonnie and Clyde' where you aren't supposed to like the film's shady characters but do! NEVER watch 'The Longest Yard' on network television because it is butchered beyond belief in one of the worst censorship injustices ever to torture audiences. It has to be seen on video or DVD for true appreciation. [Visit Film Follow-Up by Walter Frith]

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