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Brian's Song [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

James Caan , Billy Dee Williams , Buzz Kulik    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 5.20
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Brian's Song [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Rudy [DVD] [1993] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden, Bernie Casey, Shelley Fabares
  • Directors: Buzz Kulik
  • Writers: Al Silverman, Gale Sayers, William Blinn
  • Producers: Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: G (General Audience) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Aug 2000
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TJQJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,585 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Gale Sayers joins the Chicago Bears and is befriended by Brian Piccolo, an over-achieving running back. Although they compete for the same spot on the team, and despite the fact that Sayers is black and Piccolo white, they become roommates on the road and very close friends, especially when Sayers is injured and Piccolo helps his recovery. Later, they and their wives must both deal with the harsh reality of Piccolo's cancer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brian's Song 22 Jan 2010
I love sports but generally loathe movies about them. However, this is no ordinary sports movie.

It's based on the true story of American football player Brian Piccolo. But this is not really about men bouncing their bodies around the football field at all. It's about friendship that endures, great courage and unbreakable spirit. The football side of it is, excuse the pun, secondary; almost irrelevant.

(Incidentally, this is the original 1971 movie, not the more recent remake, and this is by far the superior version.)

James Caan plays Piccolo, the would-be pro star who has little going for him physically -- not great size or huge power, and definitely not blinding speed. But what he does have is a heart so big you wonder how it could fit into a football stadium.

When Piccolo joins the Chicago Bears he meets a fellow rookie, a guy who possesses all the physical assets he lacks, and then some. That rookie is Gale Sayers (played by the young Billy Dee Williams). They're rivals, both chasing a slot as a running back. Two football players with apparently little in common, one black, one white, one struggling to make it, one so gifted he eventually is ranked as one of the greats. But despite all that and despite their rivalry they like each other and form a tight friendship.

Piccolo has a seemingly impossible task in seeking to cement a Bears playing spot but won't stop trying to make the climb, no matter how steep the mountains that keep getting dumped in his path.

But suddenly he faces a far tougher battle than going head to head with more naturally gifted athletes on the gridiron. He learns the chilling news that he's been hit by a serious illness. Worse than merely career-threatening, it's life-threatening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brian's Song - James Caan 28 July 2010
I watched this made for TV film many years ago and it remained etched in my memory. A brilliant performance by the (then) young James Caan. Following a family discussion relating to true 'weepy' films I managed to discover that the film was available on DVD and the rest is history! I defy anyone not to be moved by this film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  155 reviews
98 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXTRAORDINARY... 23 Oct 2000
By Richard E. Upton - Published on
I was fifteen years old when "Brian's Song" premiered as a "Movie of the Week" on ABC-TV. I had no interest in sports then (I still don't), and had no intentions of watching this movie, but my dad persuaded me. "Just watch the first few minutes," he said. He knew that this was NOT a sports movie. He had read Gale Sayers' book "I Am Third" (upon which this movie is partially based), and knew that this was a movie about PEOPLE, not about football. The fact that the two lead characters are football players is almost incidental. This is a movie about friendship, love and courage. Needless to say, I watched it from start to finish, and have watched it many times since. Although its roots as a TV movie are obvious (the production values are nothing more than ordinary), "Brian's Song" is one of the most extraordinary films ever made, a particularly remarkable achievement when you consider its length of only 74 minutes. James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, both virtual unknowns at the time, play Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers with a sense of realism, and with respect for their real-life counterparts. Jack Warden is excellent (as always) as coach George Halas, and Shelley Fabares and Judy Pace turn in fine performances as Joy Piccolo and Linda Sayers. David Huddleston and Bernie Casey make the most of their small parts, and even real-life Chicago Bears provide some fine moments, particularly the "hazing" sequence. The sincere performances, along with William Blinn's beautifully-written teleplay, keep the action from becoming mawkish or sappy, Buzz Kulik's direction brought out the best in his actors, and Michel Legrand's score comments on the emotions in the film with exactly the right tone. (Legrand's penchant for marking musical cues to sudden movement onscreen is notable, and the gorgeous theme is one of the most emotionally charged pieces of music ever written.) The film ends on a freeze-frame of James Caan's face over narration by Jack Warden of William Blinn's words, and when that musical theme pulls out all the stops after Warden's narration ends, well...even the Chicago Bears themselves would be dissolved in tears. It's one of my all-time favorite movies, and I would recommend it without reservation to anyone, sports fan or not. Thanks, Dad.
The DVD version includes an exclusive short featurette, "Gale Sayers: First and Goal" in which present-day Gale Sayers discusses the movie and his career. It's interesting, but nothing special. Also included in audio commentary by Williams and Caan. Caan is a cutup and does most of the talking, and little of any real substance is said, but it IS quite entertaining, and definitely worth another viewing.
But then, "Brian's Song" is ALWAYS worth another viewing...
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why re make it??? 30 Nov 2001
By Lee Ann,music lover - Published on
Whe I heard that the folks at ABC were remaking "Brian's song",
I was really upset... Why tamper with success,and why remake one of the most beautiful movies ever! I saw Brian's song during its original broadcast back in 1971, and thought it was one of the best. James Caan and Billy Dee Williams are superb as Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. The supporting cast, including Shelly Fabares as Joy and Judy Pace as Linda are also excellent as is Jack Warden as Papa Bear Halas. If you really want to see this movie go for the original!
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I DARE YOU NOT TO CRY YOUR EYES OUT 27 Dec 1999
By R. Penola - Published on
Brian's Song is one of the saddest movies ever made, based on the too-true story of the black/white friendship between Gale Sayer and Brian Piccolo. James Caan does a credible, if self-absorbed job as Brian -- his sickly scenes definitely do not hold up as well as you might remember, and though this movie definitely looks and sounds dated, it still packs a powerful emotional punch, in the same way that Terms of Endearment does. Beware: you are headed for very rough waters. And that Michel Legrand theme song, a classic for the ages, turns the nozzle to full-tilt. That final still image remains firmly etched in my mind, and the special relationship engendered here carries a special weight as one of the first of its kind ever seen in a film.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most emotional and best stories of all time 29 Jun 2004
By Matthew Edmundson - Published on
I'm a huge sports fan. I want to be a sports writer and it's stuff that Brian's Song that makes me want to do it even more.
Brian's Song is based on the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Both were rookies when they joined the Chicago Bears. Brian Piccolo(Caan) was the funny loudmouth that everybody loved. He wans't the most gifted athlete in the world and his determination made him the player that he was. Gale Sayers(Williams) was the quiet one. He was the easily the most talented player on the team maybe in the league. The two are paired as roomates and the friendship starts.
The two are opposites and don't get along that well at first. Opposites attract and they especially do with these two. They quickly feed off each other though and become the best of friends. They fuel each other and are inspeperable. They become the first white and black roomates in the NFL. They ignore the whole idea of race and are like brothers.
When Sayers tears his ACL the next year Brain gets the chance to step up and show his talent. He however feels for his friend and is determined to get Gale back into his form as the best RB in the league. There bond becomes even stronger during this time as does the friendship of there families.
The tide changes though when Brian starts not to play well. It's a new season and the two are enjoying finally playing with each other as one of the best backfields in the league. Brians play starts to diminsh though and he's sent to the doctor. What the doctor finds is that Brian has cancer and is terminal. It's now up to Gale to help his friend through this most difficult time of his life.
This movie isn't about football. It's about the bond of love and friendship that these two men have for each other. James Caan and Billy Dee Williams play these roles to perfection. Both weren't known all that well at this time in 1971. Caan hadn't delivered his legendary performance as Sonny Corleone and Wiliams hadn't played Lando yet. The two give dramatic performances though that are sure to make anybody cry.
This is one of the greatest tear jerkers of all time. I've never wathced it were a member of the audience isn't sobbing at the end of it. I've cried numerous times while watching this movie.
You can tell it's a tv made movie. It doesn't take away from the quality though and this movie cleaned the Emmy's out in 1971 and in my opinion is the greatest made for TV movie EVER!
I love this movie. It's not about sports but is about life. You won't find a better tale of love and friendship anywhere. Everybody should see this movie at one time or another. It's a cinematic masterpiece. Buy this movie you won't regret that descion.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for the Ages 20 May 2007
By Mary L. Ayers - Published on
I have watched Brian's Song many, many times over the years and with every viewing, I am warmed by this story of friendship, courage and hope. It is based on the true story of Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, two Chicago Bears football players who played back in the 1960's.

Like many movies based on life, certain aspects of the story are fictionalized. For example, Brian did not have cancer in his right lung as the movie attests, but embryonal cell carcinoma in his chest cavity that eventually metastasized to his left breast and left lung, heart and liver--and even into his jaw. He did not die as easily or look nearly as healthy as Cann does; his illness and death are really sanitized and "Hollywood-ized". Also, although Brian and Gale were good friends in real life, they were not best friends. However, Caan and Williams do a brilliant job portraying their characters and it is easy to believe from their performances that these two characters do indeed care for one another.

There are several moving moments in this movie. The locker room scene is particularly touching because many of the players featured in this scene had heard the *real* Gale Sayers tell them that "Pic is sick. . .real sick" only a year and a half before, so we can assume the tears welling up in the players' eyes are genuine. Ed O'Bradovich and Dick Butkus, both of whom were friends of Piccolo's (and were pallbearers at his funeral), make appearances in the film.

Another great touch is the archival footage of Sayers and Piccolo running the ball and making touchdowns. Not only does the footage remind us of what an amazing player Sayers was and the dogged determination to succeed that Brian possessed, it reminds us that these people were real, that they did indeed exist. These "real life" touches adds a lot of poignancy to the story. Most of the footage of the real Brian comes from a game the Bears played against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 9, 1969--the only game the Bears won that season. Although he did not know it, Brian was already very sick with cancer during this game, yet he played his heart out and even scored a touchdown--which is captured in the movie. This was the second to the last game he ever played. He was diagnosed with cancer only a week and a half later.

A final touch that really "makes" the movie is the musical score by Michal Legrand. The Brian's Song theme is a perfect blend of hope and sadness and is enough to make you cry all by itself. Interestingly, the real Brian's wife, Joy, said that Legrand was one of his favorite composers.

The DVD contains a few "extras" including a so-so audio commentary by Billy Dee Williams and James Caan. The commentary is witty in some spots, but it does not provide much insight into the movie's "behind the scenes" elements. Caan reminds us that the movie was made only about a year after Brian Piccolo's death and several times he mentions that he felt the "weight" of playing the role of a person that the entire Chicago Bears team dearly loved.

If you enjoy this movie, I highly recommend that you read Jeannie Morris' biography of Brian Piccolo entitled Brian Piccolo: A Short Season. It tells the whole story of Brian's life both on and off the field and goes into great detail about his illness and the tremendous courage and humor with which he faced it.
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