Brian's Song (2001 film)
|Based on||I Am Third|
by Gale Sayers
|Written by||Allen Clare|
|Story by||William Blinn|
|Directed by||John Gray|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Storyline Entertainment|
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
Disney-ABC Domestic Television
Brian's Song is the 2001 remake of the 1971 television film Brian's Song, telling the story of Brian Piccolo (Sean Maher), a white running back who meets, clashes with and befriends fellow Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers (Mekhi Phifer). The movie was adapted from Sayers' own words in his autobiography, I am Third. The television movie, produced by Columbia TriStar Television, was first broadcast in the US on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC.
In the movie, Piccolo is a brash rookie with the Bears. Initially thinking Sayers is arrogant – when he is only quiet and a slight bit anti-social – they rub each other the wrong way from the moment they meet. The movie, taking place from 1965 to 1970, as the Civil Rights Movement grows, places great emphasis on integration, bringing up the conflict of when Brian and Gale room together for their first football season.
Brian and Gale aren't friends in the beginning; in fact they are rivals. Brian, during their first season together with pro football's Chicago Bears, is always one-upped by Gale, never being in the spotlight. After the season, Brian pledges to outplay Gale and take his position on the team.
During their second season, Gale is still the Bears' starting running back. After he is injured during a game and loses hope of ever playing again, Brian personally takes charge of his rehabilitation, on the basis that if Gale gives up, and Brian rises to the top, he would have made it only on a chance and not by his own prowess. The two bond during this time, soon becoming good friends and roommates.
Brian is diagnosed with cancer. The treatments and radiation therapy only do so much, and every time it seems as if everything is getting better, the cancer shows up again, someplace else. Brian dies from the disease at age 26. During this time, Gale stays by his side.
- Sean Maher as Brian Piccolo
- Mekhi Phifer as Gale Sayers
- Ben Gazzara as George Halas
- Paula Cale as Joy Piccolo
- Elise Neal as Linda Sayers
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