ABC Movie of the Week/Brian's Song

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Brian's Song
Airdate November 30, 1971
Written by William Blinn
Directed by Buzz Kulik
Network ABC
Style 90-minute sports drama
Company Screen Gems Television


Origin USA


Brian's Song (1971) is a TV movie based on the true story of Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, his friendship with teammate Gale Sayers and his death from cancer. It aired as part of the ABC Movie of the Week.

Along with Duel and That Certain Summer, Brian's Song is widely considered one of the highlights of the over 250 ABC Movies of the Week. It is also famous for being one of the rarest types of films: A tearjerker targeted towards men. With its themes of friendship, football and death, it's small wonder that it is considered to be one of the few films which can bring even the most stoic and masculine of men to weeping. It would also launch the careers of its two stars, James Caan (who would be nominated for an Academy Award for his work the following year in the box office record-breaking film The Godfather) and Billy Dee Williams (best known for his work as Lando Calrissian in the trilogy of films begun with another record breaker, Star Wars).

Cast: James Caan (Brian Piccolo), Billy Dee Williams (Gayle Sayers), Jack Warden (Coach George Halas), Bernie Casey (J.C. Caroline), Shelley Fabares (Joy Piccolo), David Huddleston (Ed McCaskey), Judy Pace (Linda Sayers), Abe Gibron (Abe Gibron), Jack Concannon (Jack Concannon), Ed O'Bradovich (Ed O'Bradovich), The Chicago Bears Players (The Chicago Bears Players), The Chicago Bears Coaches (The Chicago Bears Coaches), The Chicago Bears Staff (The Chicago Bears Staff), Happy Hairston (Veteran Player #1), Ron Feinberg (Veteran Player #2), Ji-Tu Cumbuka (Roommate), Jim Boeke (Veteran Player #3), Larry Delaney (Dr. Fox), Stephen Coit (Mr. Eberle), Doreen Lang (Nurse #1), Jeni Kulik (Nurse #2), Allen Secher (Hotel Man), Stu Nahan (Speaker), Mario Machado (Reporter #1), Bud Furillo (Reporter #2), Jack Wells (Toastmaster)

Contents

Plot Overview

Trivia

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Quotes

DVD Release

Title Release Date #
Brian's Song August 8, 2000 1

Awards and Accolades

Emmys

(4 Nominations/2 Wins)

  • Won: Outstanding Single Program - Drama or Comedy
Paul Junger Witt
  • Nominated: Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
James Caan
  • Nominated: Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Billy Dee Williams
  • Won: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama
Jack Warden

Golden Globes

(1 Nomination)

  • Nominated: Best Movie Made for TV

DGA Awards

(1 Nomination/1 Win)

  • Won: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials
Buzz Kulik, Eddie Saeta & Richard Learman

PGA Golden Laurel Awards

(1 Win)

  • Won: PGA Hall of Fame - Television Programs (1998)
Paul Junger Witt

Peabody Awards

(1 Win)

  • Won: Peabody Award

Other Awards

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards, USA

  • Nominated: Best Edited Television Program - Bud S. Isaacs