Directed By: Gary Fleder Starring: Rob Brown Dennis Quaid

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Product Overview

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.


Studio Universal
SKU 210411662
UPC 025195024525
UPC 14 00025195024525
Format DVD
Release Date 2/5/2013
Rating Rating
Football Players
Race Relations
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
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.
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
Empire 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
Gary Fleder
Rob Brown
Dennis Quaid
Cast & Crew
Rob Brown - Star
Charles S. Dutton - Star
Nelsan Ellis - Star
Darrin Dewitt Henson - Star
Dennis Quaid - Star
Omar Benson Miller - Star
Clancy Brown - Star
Charles Leavitt - Screenwriter
Mark Isham - Composer
Robert Gallagher - Source Writer
Kramer Morgenthau - Director of Photography
John Lee Hancock - Screenwriter
Derek Dauchy - Executive Producer
Scott Williams - Screenwriter
John Davis - Producer
Arne Schmidt - Executive Producer
Jeffrey Lieber - Screenwriter
Gary Fleder - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2008
Catalog ID 61103050
UPC 00025195024525
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 130 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Audio Tracks English
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.40:1
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review 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.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
Review 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.
Reviewer Sean O'Connell
ReviewRating 8
DVD, English, Spanish, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader Rob Brown (Stop-Loss) gives a graceful, understated performance as Ernie Davis.
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post The Express finesses a cinematic hat trick: It's entertaining, deeply moving and genuinely important.
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter Thanks to a rock-solid performance by Dennis Quaid...the tried-and-true formula is given a welcome shot of adrenaline.
Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun Many inspirational sports movies provide only junk food for thought; this one contains some authentic reflections of sport in the civil rights era.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times Involving and inspiring in the way a good movie about sports almost always is.

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