Reel Classics, ESPN Classic's weekly sports movie series, presents Something for Joey on Sunday, October 23, at 8 p.m. ET. This year's Reel Classics lineup will feature an exciting group of films, including "Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story" on October 30. If you love sports and movies, then ESPN Classic is the place to be on Sunday nights. The 2005 schedule is as follows:
"Something for Joey"
Marc Singer plays the 1973 Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti from Penn State in this moving film. When Cappelletti received the award, he publicly "awarded" it to his little brother, Joey (Jeff Lynas), then suffering from leukemia. The movie portrays the deepening relationship between the brothers as John moved upward to fame and Joey's illness ran its slow course toward his eventual death in 1976. Geraldine Page co-stars as Ann Cappelletti.
"Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story"
Rocky Bleier's life story is portrayed from the early childhood lessons of love for family, God and country through his experiences in Vietnam and the consequences of being seriously wounded and finally achieving of his goal to play professional football and winning four super bowl championships with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Robert Urich stars as Rocky Bleier.
"North Dallas Forty"
Ted Kotcheff directs this seriocomic version of Peter Gent's best-seller about life in professional football. Released in 1979, "North Dallas Forty" combines the drama and hysterics that often accompany being a professional athlete. Based on the early 1970's Dallas Cowboys, North Dallas Forty stars Nick Nolte, with Charles Durning and Dabney Coleman in supporting roles.
Based on Dan Jenkins' classic novel, "Semi-Tough" follows the antics of Shake Tiller (Kris Kristofferson) and Billy Clyde Puckett (Burt Reynolds). The gridiron stars vie for the affection of Barbara Jane Bookman (Jill Clayburgh) in this satire of professional football.
"Jim Thorpe: All-American"
Oscar award winner Burt Lancaster stars in this 1951 version of the Jim Thorpe story. Born on an Oklahoma reservation, Thorpe, a native American, rose to national hero status in college football and as an Olympian. But life was not easy for Thorpe. His dreams of coaching were shattered and his life unraveled after his Olympic medals were stripped away on a technicality. Except for his college coach Glenn "Pop" Warner, Thorpe nearly becomes a forgotten figure.
Phar Lap, the legendary Australian racing horse, is as well-known today for his mysterious death as for his fabulous accomplishments in life. Beginning at the end, the film flashes back to the day that Phar Lap, despite his lack of pedigree, is purchased on impulse by trainer Harry Telford. Phar Lap loses his first races, but Telford's faith in the animal is unshakable. Suddenly the horse becomes a winner, thanks to the love and diligence of stableboy Tommy Woodcock. American-promoter Dave Davis arranges for Phar Lap to be entered in several top races, where his "long shot" status results in heavy losses for the professional gamblers. Just after winning an important race in Mexico, Phar Lap collapses and dies; though the film never comes out and says as much, it is assumed that the horse was "murdered" by the gambling interests.
"The Paper Lion"
Starring Alan Alda as George Plimpton, the movie shows the ill-fated attempt by Plimpton to become an NFL quarterback and his interaction with his teammates and other football players. Lauren Hutton co-stars as do a number of football players, such as Alex Karras, Frank Gifford, Lem Barney and Vince Lombardi. Based on Plimpton's autobiography.
"Vision Quest" stars Matthew Modine as Lauden Swain, a devoted high school wrestler. Intent on being the best he can be, Swain trains day and night in order to lose weight so he can wrestle the state champion, two weight classes below him. However, he becomes distracted when an older woman wanders into his life and captures his heart. Swain must decide which is more important, his athletic career or winning the love of a woman. Linda Fiorentino co-stars as Carla, Modine's love interest. Also appearing is Madonna, in her first motion picture, and Forrest Whitaker.
Life in the minors can't be this good. Can it? Kevin Costner plays Crash Davis, an aging ball player trying one more time to get back to the bigs. Tim Robbins is Nuke La Louche. It's 1988 and Nuke's the new pitcher for the Bulls with the "million-dollar arm and the five-cent head." And somewhere in-between Crash and Nuke is a mutual attraction to "Annie," the team "mascot" played by Susan Sarandon.
"Welcome back Mr. Kotter!" It's 1979 again. Gabe Kaplan stars as David Greene, a compulsive basketball fan who dreams of being a big time college hoop coach while he's serving up cold cuts at a deli. Giving up everything, Greene gets his chance at a down and out university. He builds his dream team where the best 'guy' on it is a girl! It was the beginning of women "coming a long way baby" in college basketball! Watch for NBA great Bernard King and UCLA champion Michael Warren, better known to TV fans of "Hill Street Blues" as Officer Bobby Hill.
"One on One"
Lamont Johnson's 1977 film about a high school phenom from a small town struggling to live up to expectations at a big city college. Pressured by his coach to live up to his scholarship, Henry Steele (Robby Benson) becomes overwhelmed and soon realizes his education is also important. However, when a pretty graduate student (Annette O'Toole) becomes Henry's tutor, he takes the strength she possesses and uses it in his fight against the coach, who is trying to rescind his scholarship.
"A Season on the Brink"
Brian Dennehy stars as Bob Knight in ESPN's first made-for-television movie. An adaptation of John Feinstein's best-selling book of the same name, "A Season on the Brink" follows the ups and downs during a season of Indiana basketball -- specifically the difficulties in dealing with Bob Knight.
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli and released in 1979, "The Champ" stars Jon Voight as Billy Flynn, an ex-boxing champion who now raises horses on his farm with his son T.J. (Rick Schroeder). Seeking to give his son a better future, Flynn decides to attempt a comeback in the ring, but his plans are altered suddenly when his ex-wife Annie (Faye Dunaway) comes back into the picture.--->