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Friday Night Lights 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars (45) IMDb 7.3/10

Billy Bob Thornton stars in this stand-up-and-cheer true American story of how one legendary Texas town made hope come alive under the exhilarating glare of Friday Night Lights.

Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black
1 hour, 57 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure, Sport
Director Peter Berg
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black
Supporting actors Garrett Hedlund, Derek Luke, Jay Hernandez, Lee Jackson, Lee Thompson Young, Tim McGraw, Grover Coulson, Connie Britton, Connie Cooper, Kasey Stevens, Ryanne Duzich, Amber Heard, Morgan Farris, Laine Kelly, Gavin Grazer, Turk Pipkin, Carey Windler, Tommy G. Kendrick
Studio Universal Pictures
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I don't like American football. I don't understand how it works. And yet I was completely won over by this film.
High school sport is huge in America, particularly Texas. In the dustblown oil city of Odessa, on the flat, arid Texas plain, it's the only game in town. This film makes absolutely clear the kind of pressure that's put on high school kids - they are reliving their parents' dreams and aspirations. The bland country singer Tim McGraw makes a huge impression in this film - a superb portrayal of a drunken abusive ex-player, who says to his son something like "This is it - you have one year - everything's downhill from there on". And that sums up the film: a bunch of 17 year old kids must carry all the hopes and fears of an entire town - to a climactic battle in the Houston superdome that even if you don't know anything about American football will still leave you with your heart in your mouth.
The story's told in snatches of conversation, radio commentary, little telling scenes. It takes you a while to work out who the characters are, but don't worry - you'll get there. You are given just enough detail to work with and no more than you need. Lucas Black stands out as the strong, silent kid with too much responsibility, but all are good.
I just can't believe how good this rather unpromising film was. I'm still thinking about it two weeks later. The ending - well, read the captions carefully. There's a lovely, ironic twist to look out for.
It's based on a true story, apparently. It feels like it. It really is one of the best American films I've seen in ages... if you're at all interested in the fact that America really is a foreign country, watch this film.
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Format: DVD
I live in Minnesota, where high school hockey is the state religion and the right of passage for seniors is to go to the State Tournament, even if there school does not make it that far. Parents (not just fathers) send their sons to live in other school districts so they can get more playing time or play with a better team. Everyone who has seen "Hoosiers" know that in Indiana it is high school basketball that is the subject of such devotion, but if you needed to see "Friday Night Lights" to know that neither of those state religions holds a candle to high school football in Texas, then you are just not a true sports fan. Even before H.G. Bissinger's Pulitzer Prize winning book, "Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream," I knew the people of West Texas took their high school football seriously (I lived in New Mexico when I went to high school, so it would have been hard not to notice).
Director Peter Berg's film version of "Friday Night Lights" is based on the true story of the Odessa-Permian Panthers and their 1988 season. What "true" means in this case is that the name of the coach and the key players are accurate, as are the number of losses the Panthers had that year (although the scores are different, as is one of the opponents).
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Format: DVD
For an appreciation of this excellent film see the beautifully written review by D. Mikels. What I want to do here is present a counterpoint. I played high school football too and might have sat on the bench a little less except that I was a slow-footed T-quarterback at a school that ran the single wing. Yes, it was that long ago.
The football presented in this film by director Peter Berg is a little different. In fact it is a whole lot different. Here high school football is the most important thing in the world, not just for the players and coaches, but for the entire town. If you drive through a west Texas town or an Oklahoma or even an Indiana town on a Friday night in the fall, the town will be deserted (as in the movie) while the stadium at the high school will be lit up like a gigantic Christian revival meeting in which it might be fully expected that Christ will appear to perform the Second Coming.
It is no exaggeration to say that in the heartland of America the rites and rituals of football, joined into by almost the entire populous, take on all the trappings of a most zealous and evangelical religion. What Peter Berg has done here is capture that maniacal devotion and idolatry--that oh, so American way of life in a quasi-realistic way.
I say "quasi" because there is some license taken with reality by the film makers. First of all, and most importantly, the players are too old. Derek Luke, who plays star running back Boobie Miles (and does an outstanding job), was 29 when the movie was filmed. Jay Hernandez who played Chavez was 25. Anybody who really plays football or coaches it can tell you there is a world of difference between a young man of seventeen or eighteen and one of twenty-five or thirty.
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