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USA 1979
Directed by
Ted Kotcheff
119 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

North Dallas Forty

Whilst the sports movie is a now direly predictable genre that works the against-all-odds, David-vs-Goliath legend for all it's worth.North Dallas Forty is a terrific instance of a sports movie that does not sacrifice its integrity to crowd-pleasing heroics.

Written by Pete Gent, a former Dallas Cowboy in the 1960's, the film is a convincing look at the world of pro-football at the time – public adulation, wild parties and drug-taking are the upside, physical and emotional desensitization, injury and as a result more drug-taking are the downside.

Nick Nolte is first class as Phillip Elliott, a player nearing the end of his days on the field and with mixed emotions about it. Like the classic Bruce Beresford/David Williamson Australian Rules film, The Club (1980), a major theme is the shift in the modus operandi of the game from “sport” to “business”. Performances are all excellent and the direction by Kotcheff, who would shortly have a major success with Sylvester 'Rambo' Stallone in First Blood (1982) well exemplifies the what-you-see-is-what-you-get aesthetics of '70s American film. As valid as drama as a sports movie, North Dallas Forty deserves to be better known.




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