North Dallas Forty (USA 1979, Ted Kotcheff) – By Sandro Forte (for Cinetalk.net)
Ted Kotcheff’s North Dallas Forty, from the book by ex-NFL player Peter Gent, and starring Nick Nolte, is a semi-fictional comedy-drama on professional American Football players of the 70’s. The team of the North Dallas Bulls is clearly based on the real life NFL football team of the Dallas Cowboys, which Gent played for between 1964 and 1968.
A great sport Film, North Dallas Forty offers an inside look to a strange culture that leads to these famous Sunday clashes without any complacency . At the time it was one of the first film to deal with drugs, hidden wounds, the demeaning pressure by the staff. Nolte offers a great performance as an aging player trying to survive the weekend and the surroundings between the games. If the film shows love for the game it’s also being critical of it and Kotcheff keeps a great balance between humor and drama with limited means (the final game is obviously played in an empty stadium). You do believe it happened this way.
Critical of a system, 30 years before the movie Concussion (2015), North Dallas Forty shows that cinema is a memory by being very contemporary.
An ideal film to start your Super Bowl Weekend.