Think you can name all of them? In my opinion, one of these films is possibly the best football movie ever made.

For the next six months, it's non-stop football. The NFL now owns several days of the week, so good luck finding some free time to sneak in watching these,

6 Football Movies That Were Filmed in Illinois

From 1971-2008, six different movies centered around football, were filmed in the state of Illinois.

Some were big box office hits, others were 'made-for-tv' movies. One of these movies is the most entertaining football movies I've ever seen.

Brian's Song (1971)

Starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, and Jack Warden.

Based on the real-life relationship between Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying.

(from Internet Movie Database)

  • Filmed in Chicago
  • Gale Sayers wanted to play himself, but Bears training camp conflicted with shooting.
  • Dick Butkus made his acting debut in this film playing himself in an uncredited role.
  • The Bears are shown playing at Soldier Field in Chicago. While this was indeed the team's home stadium by the time of filming, Brian Piccolo's entire career had taken place while the team was still playing at Wrigley Field.
  • A 2005 readers poll taken by Entertainment Weekly ranked Brian's Song seventh in its list of the top "guy-cry" films ever made.


Coach of the Year (1980 Made for TV movie)

Starring Robert Conrad as Jim Brandon, a former player of the Chicago Bears, has been paralyzed during the Vietnam-war. When he returns, he tries to get a job as a football-coach.

You can watch the entire movie, below.

(from Internet Movie Database)

  • Filmed in Batavia, Illinois
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Lucas (1986)

Starring Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and the film debuts of Winona Ryder and Jeremy Piven.

A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends; Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love, fall for each other.

(from Internet Movie Database)

  • In the climactic football scene, the cheerleaders for the opposing team, The Rockford Rockets, were real-life Chicago Bears cheerleaders.
  • Most of the exterior scenes were filmed at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The administration agreed to allow the school to appear in the film only after 20th Century Fox modified it, changing the rating from R to PG.
  • The chorus featured in the rehearsal scene was the Viking Choir from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois. A scene with the chorus performing "Learning How to Love," an original song written for the film, in the outdoor amphitheater, was cut.


Wildcats (1986)

Molly McGrath's dream is to coach high school football, and when her dream is realized in the form of a tough inner city team, she has a harder time than she expected trying to whip them into shape.

Starring Goldie Hawn, Mykelti Williamson, and the film debuts of Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.

(from Internet Movie Database)

  • Stadium scenes were filmed at Lane Technical High School's athletic field in Chicago, Illinois.
  • The football song Wildcats team performs at the end of the movie when the credits are rolled is a parody of the 1985 Chicago Bears' video of "The Super Bowl Shuffle," the year the Bears won the Super Bowl.

The Express (2008)

Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton and Rob Brown who made his movie debut in Finding Forrester with Sean Connery in 2000.

A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

  • The movie was filmed in Berwyn, Illinois. One of the locations in Berwyn was FitzGerald's Nightclub where scenes from A League of Their OwnAdventures in Babysitting, and The Color of Money were filmed.


Now, the greatest movie ever made about football!

Rudy (1993)

Starring Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton and the film debut of Vince Vaughn

Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.

(from Internet Movie Database)

  • One of the filming locations was St. Rita of Cascia High School 6310 S. Claremont Street, Chicago, Illinois
  • In the movie the players & coaches of Rudy's Joliet Catholic High School football team were actually made up of real high school players & coaches from Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago. The two schools were brother schools formed under the same order of priests and have had an on and off rivalry since the 1920's. They also are the two winningest state championship teams in Illinois and at the time of filming were both coming off championships. The irony that players from Mt. Carmel were dressed in their rival's jersey and then had to act the scene out on the turf of their bitter rival's field (St. Rita), might have to suffice for players from Joliet Catholic who weren't asked to be in the movie, even though they play 30 miles from the filming location. Also, you can hear the coach telling the players at the last practice that they'l need to get ready for the Mt. Carmel Caravan.

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