“Rudy” came out on Blu-ray this past week to little fanfare. Heck, most stores aren’t even carrying the title out of fear it’ll rob shelf space away from the likes of “Baby Mama,” leading fans like me on a longer hunt than usual for some HD “Rudy” sweetness.
Sure, “Rudy” is hokey, perhaps too earnest, and Sean Astin’s lead performance as the titular Norte Dame dreamer reaches a few points of body-convulsing shrillness I wish were more finely edited. However, while it took me years to appreciate it, I regard “Rudy” today as one of the finest inspirational sports films of all time. It’s a picture steeped in autumnal collegiate football iconography and irresistible emotional cues, executing a reasonably hackneyed underdog story with astonishing confidence and overpowering sincerity. I’m just in awe of the picture, especially when I’m pushed to review similar productions that fail to offer the same wide-eyed wonder.
Jerry Goldsmith’s elevating score contributes so much to “Rudy,” it makes me dizzy. A bold, endearing musical backdrop, the film wouldn’t enjoy the enduring legacy it holds today (a Blu-ray release is nothing to sneeze at) without Goldsmith’s broad sweep and generous themes of melancholy and heroism. The music is near to my heart.
For added fun, if you listen closely to the first track, you can hear a voice singing along with the orchestra for a split-second. The romantic side of me hopes it was Goldsmith, caught up in his own creation to a bursting point where he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm.
Here’s “Main Title”
Here’s “Back on the Field”
And a clip from the movie: