We Are Marshall

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We Are Marshall
We-are-marshall-lores.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMcG
Produced byBasil Iwanyk
McG
Screenplay byJamie Linden
Story byJamie Linden
Cory Helms
StarringMatthew McConaughey
Matthew Fox
Ian McShane
Anthony Mackie
Kate Mara
January Jones
Brian Geraghty
David Strathairn
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyShane Hurlbut
Edited byPriscilla Nedd-Friendly
Gregg London
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22)
Running time131 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$65 million[1]
Box office$43,545,364
 
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We Are Marshall
We-are-marshall-lores.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMcG
Produced byBasil Iwanyk
McG
Screenplay byJamie Linden
Story byJamie Linden
Cory Helms
StarringMatthew McConaughey
Matthew Fox
Ian McShane
Anthony Mackie
Kate Mara
January Jones
Brian Geraghty
David Strathairn
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyShane Hurlbut
Edited byPriscilla Nedd-Friendly
Gregg London
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22)
Running time131 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$65 million[1]
Box office$43,545,364

We Are Marshall is a 2006 American historical drama biopic film directed by McG. It depicts the aftermath of the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 football players on the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, along with five coaches, two athletic trainers, the athletic director, 25 boosters, and a crew of five. It also addresses the rebuilding of the program and the healing that the community undergoes (shown in a post-credits scene).

Matthew McConaughey stars as head coach Jack Lengyel, with Matthew Fox as assistant coach William "Red" Dawson, David Strathairn as university president Donald Dedmon, and Robert Patrick as ill-fated Marshall head coach Rick Tolley. Then-governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue has a cameo role as an East Carolina University football coach.[2]

It was scored by Christophe Beck and written by Jamie Linden.[3] Dr. Keith Spears was the Marshall University consultant.

Plot[edit]

Southern Airways Flight 932 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 that Marshall University chartered to transport the Thundering Herd football team to Greenville, North Carolina, via Stallings Field in Kinston, North Carolina, and back to Marshall's campus in Huntington, West Virginia. On the evening of November 14, 1970, the aircraft clipped trees on a ridge just one mile short of the runway at Tri-State Airport in Ceredo, West Virginia, and crashed into a gully.

The team was returning from its game against the East Carolina University Pirates, a 17–14 loss. There were no survivors. In all, 75 people lost their lives. The deceased included the 37 players; head coach Rick Tolley and five members of his coaching staff; Charles E. Kautz, Marshall's athletics director; team athletic trainer Jim Schroer and his assistant, Donald Tackett; 25 boosters; and five crew members.

In the wake of the tragedy, President Donald Dedmon leans towards indefinitely suspending the football program, but he is ultimately persuaded to reconsider by the pleas of the Marshall students and Huntington residents, and especially the few football players who didn't make the flight, led by Nate Ruffin. Dedmon hires a young new head coach Jack Lengyel, who with the help of Red Dawson, the sole surviving member of the previous coaching staff, manages to rebuild the team in a relatively short time, despite losing many of their prospects to West Virginia University. Dedmon travels to Kansas City, where he pleads with the NCAA to waive their rule prohibiting freshmen from playing varsity football (a rule which had been abolished in 1968 for all sports except for football and basketball, and would be permanently abolished for those sports in 1972). Dedmon returns victorious.

The new team is composed mostly of the 18 returning players (three varsity, 15 sophomores) and walk-on athletes from other Marshall sports programs. Due to their lack of experience, the "Young Thundering Herd" ends up losing its first game, 29-6, to the Morehead State Eagles. The loss weighs heavily on Dawson and Ruffin, who had been hurt in the first play of the game. The Herd's first post-crash victory is a heart-stopping 15–13 home win against Xavier University in the first home game of the season.

Cast[edit]

Filming[edit]

Filming of We Are Marshall commenced on April 3, 2006, in Huntington, West Virginia, and was completed in Atlanta, Georgia. The premiere for the film was held at the Keith Albee Theater on December 12, 2006, in Huntington; other special screenings were held at Pullman Square. The movie was released nationwide on December 22, 2006.

Several aspects of the film were changed for dramatic purposes,[4] although the gist of the story was retained.

Home media[edit]

We Are Marshall was released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray in the United States on September 18, 2007.

Lawsuit[edit]

Deborah Novak and John Witek, who produced the 2000 documentary Marshall University: Ashes to Glory, filed a $40 million lawsuit in federal court in California accusing Warner Bros. and others associated with the We Are Marshall film of fraud, copyright infringement, and breach of contract.[5] Novak, who directed Marshall University: Ashes to Glory, is a Huntington native and Marshall alumna. In October 2008, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in a summary judgment in favor of Warner Bros.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 49 percent out of 124 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 5.8/10 and the site consensus stating: "Matthew McConaughey almost runs We Are Marshall to the end zone, but can't stop it from taking the easy, feel-good route in memorializing this historic event in American sports."[7]

The film's directing was criticized by many reviewers. Peter Hartlaub, from the San Francisco Chronicle, blamed director McG for "half of the movie problems" and went further on saying that "He has a kinetic and kitschy style that could make next year's "Hot Wheels" movie a surprise hit, but he's completely out of place here."[8] Peter Howell from the Toronto Star said the film lacked genuine drama or conflict.[9]

McConaughey's performance was, according to some critics, one of the film's highlights. Roger Moore from the Orlando Sentinel gave it 4 stars out of 5 and said in his review that "We Are Marshall (it's the rally cry of the team) doesn't always have a handle on the grief, but it does keep emotions close to the surface. That allows McConaughey to be the most refreshing, funny and believable he ever has been."[10]

Allusions[edit]

The memorial at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia to the victims of the Southern Airways Flight 932 crash was the site of one of the film's pivotal scenes.

Cameos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "We Are Marshall". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Jamie Linden". IMDb. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  4. ^ ""We Are Marshall" And "The Marshall Story" - Hollywood vs Reality". Corn Nation. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Deborah Novak et al v. Warner Bros Pictures LLC et al". Justia Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Josh Grossberg, Warner Bros. Wins Marshall Suit, E! Online, October 28, 2008. Accessed January 3, 2014
  7. ^ We Are Marshall. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  8. ^ "'Marshall' fumbles in telling moving true story". SFGate. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "'We Are Marshall': Predictable pigskin tale". thestar.com. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  10. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]