Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Harry Caesar, John Steadman, Richard Kiel and Charles Tyner

Robert Aldrich

Running Time:
121 mins

Out to buy on DVD 05/09/05

"Now lets beat the guards"

Paul Crewe

After been arrested and sentenced for numerous crimes after his stole his girlfriend's car, ex-NFL superstar Paul Crewe (Reynolds) finds himself heading to Warden Hazen's (Albert) prison. Once he gets there the Warden asks him to help out with his semi-pro guard's team but Captain Knauer (Lauter) has already warned him off, so he respectfully declines. After the Warden puts him in the swamp work detail, Crewe relents and agrees to coach a team of convicts to take on the guards in a warm up game but he has his work cut out to get the team ready in four weeks.

When it comes to American Football movies, none has the cult status of 'The Longest Yard' but is the movie worth such an accolade?

In 1974 Burt Reynolds was about to become the biggest star in the world. His onscreen charm and rugged good looks meant that women adored him and men wanted to be him. The role of Paul Crewe only made this more of a fact. This is a role that really plays to Reynolds' strengths as he turns from a dislikeable down and out drunk to someone you can get behind by the end of the movie.

The premise to 'The Longest Yard' is excellent. Take a disgraced sporting superstar who has one too many run-ins with the law and then actually put him in prison. Then add in a sport obsessed Warden who pulls some strings to make sure the star ends up at his facility. Gathering together some of the hardest inmates imaginable, the superstar then has to put a team together to face the guards of the prison. This premise would make an excellent drama or an extreme funny comedy. The problem is that 'The Longest Yard' doesn't know which one to be.

The film really suffers because of this identity crisis. You move from periods of intense drama to comedic moments, coming mainly from the quality of Burt Reynolds' outliners. This can work in some instances but this movie goes from one extreme to the other far too much. This is also reflected in the American Football game as well. This is hard hitting, no hold barred action and some of the most realistic American Football you will ever see on the silver screen. The hits are solid and the plays are real, as Paul Crewe leads his misfits against the guards. The removal of comedy from this makes the film more realistic but again it changes the tone of the movie.

Burt Reynolds' support is good however. Eddie Albert is excellent as the Warden. He is a villain you instantly dislike and he takes some of the emphasis away from Crewe's bad boy past. Ed Lauter is also good as the Warden's chief henchman Captain Knauer, bringing a real menace to the guards. James Hampton adds some fun as the inmate who can get anything, Caretaker. Michael Conrad is also good as former NFL coach now inmate Nate Scarboro. Throw in some cameo performances from ex NFL players such as Ray Nitschke and 007 favourite Richard Kiel (Jaws), and you have a great supporting cast.

It is easy to see why 'The Longest Yard' became such a cult classic in the US. A no holds barred approach to American Football and a good premise make this a great sports movie for people who love the sport. For everyone else, this is a movie that cannot decide what it wants to be but it is still a good watch anyway.


Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, the transfer is ok but slightly grainy in parts.


Commentary by Burt Reynolds and writer/producer Albert S. Ruddy
The producer and star come together to provide a fun and nostalgic commentary for 'The Longest Yard'. The pair talk about the development of the Paul Crewe character, who transforms from a drunk, women beater into a hero you can get behind. The football is also discussed in great lengths with some funny stories from behind the scenes. This is a really good commentary from two men who clearly love the movie.

Doing Time on The Longest Yard (11.38 mins)
Producer Albert S. Ruddy and stars Burt Reynolds and James Hampton are joined by US sports journalists Michael Silver, Howard Blazer and Bill Simmons come together to talk about the influence that movie has had on the sports genre. The origins of the story behind the movie are discussed and it is revealed how Burt Reynolds became involved with the project. The key characters are also discussed and they talk about how they were developed.

Unleashing the Mean Machine (11.01 mins)
Producer Albert S. Ruddy and stars Burt Reynolds and James Hampton are joined by US sports journalists Michael Silver, Howard Blazer and Bill Simmons and NFL stars Kassim Osgood, Doug Flutie and Tim Dwight to talk about the American Football in the movie. The featurette reveals that the film was shot in a real prison and talks about the real NFL stars that appeared in the movie. The group also talk about the realism of the piece, with Burt Reynolds sharing that fact that he took quite a few hits.

Original Theatrical Trailer (4.08 mins)
Watch the trailer from 1974 and see how old previews virtually showed you the entire movie.

Exclusive Look: The Longest Yard (2005) (3.37 mins)
Go behind the scenes of the 2005 remake of the Burt Reynolds classic. With cast interviews and highlights of the cameos in the film, we see if this can match the success of the original movie.


Paramount has done a good job with the DVD transfer of 'The Longest Yard'. The two featurettes are good and the commentary track is first rate meaning fans of the film should be very pleases. It's definitely a touchdown.


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