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Express (2008)

Director: Gary Fleder     Starring: Rob Brown Dennis Quaid
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Learn more about Express:

Format: DVD
Sku: 210411662
UPC: 025195024525
UPC 14: 00025195024525
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Drama
Inspired by Real Events.
Rising from the humblest beginnings, ernie davis (rob brown) overcame impossible odds to become the first african-american to win college football's greatest honor -- the heisman trophy.

"Rob Brown (Stop-Loss) gives a graceful, understated performance as Ernie Davis.  Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"The Express finesses a cinematic hat trick: It's entertaining, deeply moving and genuinely important.  Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
"Thanks to a rock-solid performance by Dennis Quaid...the tried-and-true formula is given a welcome shot of adrenaline.  Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter
"Many inspirational sports movies provide only junk food for thought; this one contains some authentic reflections of sport in the civil rights era.  Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
"Involving and inspiring in the way a good movie about sports almost always is.  Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Editor's Note
As the first African American to receive college football's prestigious Heisman trophy, Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) is one of the most inspiring--and tragic--figures in the game (he died of leukemia at 23, before his first NFL game) His rise to athletic stardom coincides with the birth of the civil rights movement, and despite setbacks like a speech impediment, biased referees, and fear of white mob reprisals, Davis grabs the glory for a better America. Dennis Quaid plays Davis's coach and mentor, Ben Schwartzwalder, who lays on the discipline and training, first yielding to racist pressures, then supporting and spurring Davis to his peerless heights for Syracuse University's Orangemen. THE EXPRESS would need to work hard to fumble this ball, and it doesn't, making a smooth cinematic touchdown with heart, intelligence, guts, rapid-fire editing, and a minimum of cliché. The gridiron action is vividly and excitingly rendered as is a superb supporting cast, most notably Omar Benson Miller as Davis's wisecracking teammate. Plus, one can't go wrong with having seasoned sports movie go-to guy Quaid as Schwartzwalder; he's got this stuff so down, he could get an audience to stand up and cheer just by reading a grocery list. What sticks in the mind later though is the joy in watching these characters grow, as athletes and as people. And as they mature, they take all of America with them.


Video Features DVD, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Universal
Video Release Date Release Date: 2/5/2013
Video Play Time Running Time: 130 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2008
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 61103050
Video UPC UPC: 00025195024525
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Anamorphic Widescreen  2.40:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review The Express - DVD Review
By: Ed Perkis Cinema Blend DVD Reviews
Published on: 1/19/2009 6:39 PM
Ernie Davis was a college running back from 1959 to 1961 who was the first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy, the highest award given in that realm. He didn't really break down any other doors, so the two plus hours of The Express mostly focuses on how being a black man in the late 1950's sorta sucked. the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Rob Brown
Video Cast Info Charles S. Dutton
Video Cast Info Nelsan Ellis
Video Cast Info Darrin Dewitt Henson
Video Cast Info Dennis Quaid
Video Cast Info Omar Benson Miller
Video Cast Info Clancy Brown
Video Cast Info Charles Leavitt - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Mark Isham - Composer
Video Cast Info Robert Gallagher - Source Writer
Video Cast Info Kramer Morgenthau - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info John Lee Hancock - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Derek Dauchy - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Scott Williams - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info John Davis - Producer
Video Cast Info Arne Schmidt - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Jeffrey Lieber - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Gary Fleder - Director

Professional Reviews

Los Angeles Times
"At times stirring, inspiring and thoughtful, THE EXPRESS tells the story of football player Ernie Davis..." 10/13/2008

New York Times
"[I]t packages a real-life story of athletic triumph and social progress into an accessible, rousing melodrama..." 10/10/2008

3 stars out of 5 -- "Fleder adds nifty '60s period detail....His real MVP is Quaid, who adds an intense emotional core as Davis' mentor." 01/01/2009 p.76

ReelViews 8 of 10
The Express is the latest movie to join an ever-expanding subgenre of the "sports movie" category: fact-based films that explore the impacts of integration into various contests during the latter half of the 20th century. We have already seen productions like Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Pride, and The Great Debaters approach the subject matter in ways not dissimilar to those found in The Express. Although this film is more about an individual than a team, it emphasizes the difficulties encountered by early athletes of color as they broke barriers and blazed trails...The Express, despite including almost every sports movie cliche known to man, tells an engaging and at times powerful tale of one individual's struggle against the system...The film is a little scattershot in its presentation of non-football aspects of Ernie's life. His relationships with his grandfather and mother are glossed over. The Express intimates a relationship between Ernie and Sarah Ward (Nicole Behaire), but never develops the love affair. The script makes it clear that they're more than just friends, but are they lovers? Engaged? Married? The Express has so much ground to cover in about two hours that a lot of the smaller, richer issues that would have fleshed out Ernie's character were either excised from the screenplay or left on the cutting room floor, resulting in a portrait that is skewed and idealized. Nevertheless, as a story of courage and inspiration, this works as well as any sports-related bio-pic. The difference is that, while Ernie's on-field accomplishments were extraordinary, it was the environment in which he struggled to achieve them that makes him the worthy subject of a motion picture. - James Berardinelli 8 of 10
It's an unenviable task, committing Davis' eventful existence to the truncated blueprint of the cinematic biopic. In deconstructing The Express for a two-hour run, director Gary Fleder chooses to glance over Davis' formative years and focus on his collegiate career under Schwartzwalder's tutelage. He casts Dennis Quaid as the coach and Rob Brown in the lead, giving the young actor his most textured role since the maudlin Sean Connery vehicle Finding Forrester...And the moves largely pay off. Quaid hammers the same gruff note, and Brown is built like a football star, having played wide receiver at Amherst College. But it's off the field where Brown shoulders the load, displaying a welcome passion and steely fortitude when faced with the hatred and bigotry Davis encountered while playing during a segregated decade...Race plays a major role in The Express. Growing up, Davis idolized Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier but, in Davis' words, "did a lot without saying nothing"...Fleder steadily builds The Express toward the 1960 Cotton Bowl between Syracuse and the University of Texas, played in a hostile Dallas stadium. It feels like the film's natural conclusion, and even includes a shot of Davis victoriously riding on the shoulders of teammates. Cue the credits, right?...Not yet. Plenty of landmarks remained in Davis' short life and The Express shortchanges them a bit by cramming them into a post-Cotton Bowl coda. This includes his historic Heisman win, his NFL draft day, and his untimely death. The pacing is off, which makes The Express feel longer than it actually is. Think of it this way: the Cotton Bowl is halftime of a commendable biopic that drags slightly, but remains respectful to Davis' remarkable skills and undeniable legacy. - Sean O'Connell

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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