Wide receiver Phil Elliott (Nick Nolte) is fighting to keep his career off the sidelines in this gritty gridiron classic. Elliott has done it all: drugs, booze, playing through injuries. But now he’s asking questions management doesn’t want to answer. North Dallas Forty shows a side of football fans seldom see, from Machiavellian front-office maneuvering to heroic striving and physical pain on the field.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Ted Kotcheff graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto. He began his professional career directing TV drama at age 24 at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, at the time becoming the youngest director in the CBC. After two years there he went to live and work in England, directing in television and the theatre.
He twice won the British Emmy for Best Director, the second time for an extraordinary docudrama about a female derelict entitled, “Edna, the Inebriate Woman” episode of “Play for Today” (1970). The film also won the Best Actress and Best Script Award. Kotcheff’s television work in Great Britain was part of the new wave of working-class actors and drama that changed British theatre and television in the late 1950s. His stage successes include the long-running Lionel Bart musical, “Maggie May.” His film career started in England: Tiara Tahiti (1962), a social comedy starring James Mason and John Mills; Life at… read more
This is not only the greatest football movie ever made, but it is one of the more solid sports films of all time. More importantly, given its main theme (team owners wantonly abusing players' bodies- practically using them as chattle) it is incredibly relevant. Nolte gives a knockout performance as an end who has had enough of ownership who has no regard for their players' well-being.