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When the Game Stands Tall

Popcorn Rating

Movie Info


PG for thematic material, a scene of violence, and brief smoking


Sports, Drama


August 22, 2014


Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig, Laura Dern


Thomas Carter


Sony Pictures

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Review: When the Game Stands Tall

By Hannah Goodwyn
Senior Producer - Faith-based audiences know actor Jim Caviezel for his portrayal as Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. TV watchers will recognize him as John Reese from CBS' current hit drama, Person of Interest. Both camps will be happy to know that he's coming back to the big screen this weekend in Affirm Films' new release, When the Game Stands Tall.

In it, Caviezel embodies the daring and resilient spirit of a real-life "hero", Coach Bob Ladouceur. When the Game Stands Tall tells the remarkable journey of this legendary high school football coach and his unfathomable 151-game winning streak.


The De La Salle High School football team is greatness on the field. The Spartans stand tall with their long-time coach Bob Ladouceur at their backs. When their 12 consecutive seasons of dominating the game is in jeopardy, Ladouceur rallies his wavering team, teaching them to build up their confidence and trust in each other and God. They are a family. Even when doubt and loss hit, they will not fall. They will catch their brother. Together, they will stand.


You might be thinking, ‘Not another football movie!' Granted, sports movies are frequent go-to's for Hollywood studios. When done well though, they can become audience favorites and lucrative for those in the business of making movies. When the Game Stands Tall is such a movie. It has a big heart, is full of faith and doubt, showing the highs and lows of a truly inspiring story.

Caviezel was well casted as Ladouceur. From capturing his quiet strength to the deep struggles of a man lost and found, Caviezel's performance commands attention. His co-stars Michael Chiklis (The Shield), Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games), Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) and the rest of the cast support this weighty story, engaging you all the way through the team's triumphs and tragedies.

When the Game Stands Tall is not a preachy movie, but does revere the word of God, with Bible passages quoted at significant moments. Faith is not portrayed as cut and dry. Just as in real life, there is doubt. There is struggle. There is pain and there are always questions. In the end, sacrifice and love win the day, even if the game is lost.

Rated PG for thematic material, a scene of violence and brief smoking, When the Game Stands Tall is fairly clean of any offensive content. Parents of younger children should be advised that there is a scene of father/son abuse (verbal and physical) and a shooting (though not explicitly shown on screen).


Inspired by a true story, When the Game Stands Tall is one movie to see in theaters. Even if you don't care much for the game of football, this movie will speak to you. At its core, When the Game Stands Tall is a moving story about family, acceptance and perseverance.

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Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Entertainment producer for For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

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