We Are Marshall

December 22nd, 2006


We Are Marshall

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Still of Matthew McConaughey, David Strathairn, Huntley Ritter, Anthony Mackie and Kevin Atkins in We Are MarshallStill of Matthew McConaughey in We Are MarshallStill of Matthew McConaughey in We Are MarshallStill of Matthew McConaughey in We Are MarshallStill of Matthew McConaughey in We Are MarshallStill of Ian McShane in We Are Marshall

When a plane crash claims the lives of members of the Marshall University football team and some of its fans, the team's new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 7.0/10 (20,690 voted)

Critic's Score: 53/100

Director: McG

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie

In November, 1970, virtually the entire football team and coaches of Marshall University (Huntington, W.V.) die in a plane crash. That spring, led by Nate Ruffin, a player who was ill and missed the fatal flight, students rally to convince the board of governors to play the 1971 season. The college president, Don Dedman, must find a coach, who then must find players. They petition the NCAA to allow freshmen to play, and coach Jack Lengyel motivates and leads young players at the same time that he reexamines the Lombardi creed that winning is the only thing. The father and the fiancée of a player who died find strength to move on. Can Marshall win even one game in 1971?

Writers: Jamie Linden, Cory Helms

Matthew McConaughey - Jack Lengyel
Matthew Fox - Red Dawson
Anthony Mackie - Nate Ruffin
David Strathairn - President Dedmon
Ian McShane - Paul Griffen
Kate Mara - Annie Cantrell
January Jones - Carole Dawson
Kimberly Williams-Paisley - Sandy Lengyel
Arlen Escarpeta - Reggie Oliver
Brian Geraghty - Tom Bogdan
Tommy Cresswell - Gene Morehouse
Christian Kanupke - Young Keith Morehouse
Nina Jones - Mrs. Morehouse
Kevin Atkins - George Olson
Mark Patton - Bill James

Taglines: In a moment, everything can change...anyone can inspire you...and anything is possible.


Official Website: Official site | Warner Bros. [United States] |

Release Date: 22 December 2006

Filming Locations: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $8,582,508 (USA) (24 December 2006)

Gross: $43,545,364 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The Marshall plane crash followed by 6 weeks a similar crash of one of 2 chartered planes carrying the Wichita State University football team (the plane that crashed carried the upperclassmen, the head coach and other team staff, university officials, and several boosters). The plane crashed into the side of a mountain in Colorado en route to a game in Logan, UT; 31 people were killed, about half of whom were players; there were 9 survivors, including the co-pilot. The surviving team members, plus some freshman players, continued to play for the remainder of the season.

Anachronisms: When Jack Lengyel and Red Dawson are reviewing the Black and White 16mm footage of the "Veer" plays, graciously loaned to them by the WVU coach, the footage is 'pixelated' like a streaming video. There are large square pixels indicating a video blow up from a lower resolution digital source. That sort of distortion would not be possible in 1971 where the only flaws in blowing up a movie would be the 'grains' in the film. This particular optical flaw is specific to the Internet and web casting and is most commonly seen in low resolution user uploaded videos.

Red Dawson: We're not honoring them, Jack, we're disgracing them.

User Review

Truly Moving Picture

Rating: 10/10

I saw this film on November 21st, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.

This film is based on a true and tragic story. On November 14th, 1970, the Marshall University football team, football coaches, athletic staff, key alumni, and friends were flying home to Huntington, West Virginia after an away game against East Carolina. Their plane crashed killing all seventy five (75) aboard.

How do a University and a small town of 50,000 people respond to a massive tragedy that affected so many students and town residents? This movie is about their struggle to come to grips with that tragedy.

Without bitter rancor and with humility, some felt the University should start up a new football team and persevere through a long rebuilding process to honor the dead. Others, again without rancor and with humility, believed that starting up a football team would be too painful a reminder of the tragedy.

It was decided to start a new football team immediately and play the next season in 1971. This movie is primarily about the difficulties of the development of the team.

Matthew McConaughey plays the new Head Coach brilliantly and believably. He is a combination of country bumpkin enthusiastic huckster and a wise man. And he does it simply because he believes – "Maybe I can help." He displays courage and perseverance and makes sacrifices with a career move that could throw him out of his beloved profession, head football coaching, forever.

The town and University have to quickly break the Vince Lombardi-like notion that you play the game of football for one reason only – to win. They learn how you play the game matters, and even simply showing up is a kind of victory too.

This is a compelling story well told and very moving.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.


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