Young Rudy Ruetigger (Astin) is the son of a mill worker (Beatty) who has always dreamed of attending Notre Dame and donning the colors of the "Fighting Irish" football team. What Rudy lacks in build (he is short), intellect (his grades are marginal) and support (his blue-collar family has no money), he compensates for in unflagging drive and perseverance, single-mindedly hurdling any obstacle in the way of his ambition.
Directed by David Anspaugh ("Hoosiers") and based on a true story, this triumphant film recounts the incredible odyssey of Ruetigger (played by a pitch-perfect Sean Astin), from dyslexic, small-town nobody to Holy Cross student, stadium groundskeeper, and unlikely tryout for the fabled Fighting Irish. Rudy's rugged path to achieving his dream is an admirable, uplifting journey, and Astin is tremendously likeable in the role, winning your heart and respect. Ned Beatty (as Rudy's humble dad), Charles Dutton, and Jason Miller round out a top-notch cast in this skillfully executed crowd-pleaser.