The Longest Yard (1974 film)

The Longest Yard (1974 film)

The Longest Yard
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Aldrich
Produced by Albert S. Ruddy
Screenplay by Tracy Keenan Wynn
Story by Albert S. Ruddy
Starring Burt Reynolds
Eddie Albert
Music by Frank De Vol
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by Michael Luciano
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • August 21, 1974 (1974-08-21)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.9 million[2]
Box office $43,008,075[3]

The Longest Yard is a 1974 American sports comedy film directed by Robert Aldrich. Written by Tracy Keenan Wynn based on a story by producer Albert S. Ruddy, the film follows inmates at a prison who play football against their guards. Burt Reynolds played Paul "Wrecking" Crewe in the 1974 film and coach Nate Scarborough in the 2005 remake.

The 1974 original was also the basis for the 2001 film Mean Machine (a shortened version of the title used for the original's UK release), starring Vinnie Jones as Danny Meehan, based on the character of Paul Crewe, and featuring association football instead of American football.

External links

  1. ^ (X)"THE LONGEST YARD".  
  2. ^ a b Alain Silver and James Ursini, Whatever Happened to Robert Aldrich?, Limelight, 1995 p 292
  3. ^ "Box Office Information for The Longest Yard".  
  4. ^ Gerhard Falk (2005), Football And American Identity, Haworth Press,  
  5. ^ $21.3 million according to "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 20
  6. ^ French box office results for Robert Aldrich films at Box Office Story
  7. ^ The Longest Yard at Rotten Tomatoes


See also

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in 1975. Reynolds was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, Albert was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture and James Hampton was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor.


In 2015 as Captain Masr, which translates to Egypt's Captain, starring Mohamed Imam, taking place in Egypt and changing the sport from American Football to Association Football.

In 2005 as The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler and featuring Burt Reynolds in a supporting role.

In 2001 as Mean Machine starring Vinnie Jones, taking place in England and changing the sport from American Football to Association Football.

The film has been remade three times.


The film received positive reviews, currently holding an 81% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

The film was popular and earned $22 million in North American theatrical rentals.[2][5] It had admissions in France of 200,738.[6]


A number of the actors had previously played professional football. Henry played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams. Kapp played quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Nitschke was a middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978, four years after release, and Atkins played for the Los Angeles Rams, the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders. Also appearing as prisoners are Wheelwright, who played with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, and Ogden, who played with the St. Louis Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. Sixkiller was a collegiate star as a quarterback for the University of Washington Huskies from 1970-1972, and briefly played pro in the defunct World Football League. Reynolds himself had played college football for Florida State University and was a draft pick to the Baltimore Colts.


Crewe scores the winning touchdown with no time left and the "Mean Machine" wins, 36-35. As the prisoners celebrate and Crewe walks across the field, appearing to escape, Hazen furiously orders Knauer to shoot him with a rifle, but he refuses before Crewe picks up the football and hands it to Hazen.

A depressed Crewe goes back into the game. At first, the prisoners provide him with no protection or co-operation, but he convinces them of his change of heart. The "Mean Machine" gets back into the game, trailing 35-30. Knowing that Crewe needs help, Nate, despite his bad knee, scores one of the touchdowns, but is immediately cut down at the knees by guard Bogdanski, crippling him. As he is wheeled off the field, Nate tells Crewe to "screw Hazen" and win the game. They turn the tables on the guards in terms of the violence, including a clothesline from Samson that apparently breaks a guard's neck.

The "Mean Machine" starts out surprisingly well, and at halftime the game is close, with the guards leading, 15-13. Hazen threatens Crewe as an accessory to Caretaker's murder unless Crewe loses the game to the guards by at least 21 points. Crewe reluctantly agrees, but obtains a promise from Hazen that if he cooperates, the other prisoners will be unharmed. Hazen double-crosses him, telling Captain Knauer to order his players to "inflict as much physical punishment on the prisoners as humanly possible" as soon as they are ahead by 21 points. Crewe makes deliberate mistakes, putting the "Mean Machine" down by more than three touchdowns, 35-13, then takes himself out of the game. Teammates feel betrayed. The guards then take out their anger on the prisoners, causing several injuries.

With the help of the clever Caretaker, former professional player Nate Scarborough and the first black inmate willing to play, "Granny" Granville, plus long-term prisoner Pop — and with an assist from the warden's amorous secretary, Miss Toot — Crewe molds a team nicknamed the "Mean Machine". He agrees to play quarterback himself. After witnessing "Granny" being harassed by some of the prison guards without breaking, the black inmates decide to volunteer their services and join the team. Unger, one of the prison trustees, persistently asks Crewe if he can replace Caretaker as manager of the team, which Crewe refuses to do. In retaliation, Unger attempts to kill Crewe by fashioning a home-made bomb from a light bulb filled with a combustible fluid, designed to detonate inside Crewe's cell when he turns on the light. However, Caretaker is killed instead, when he enters Crewe's cell to retrieve some papers and Unger closes the cell door, locking him in and preventing rescue. Crewe's teammates are given a stern lecture from Hazen about the consequences of any attempted escape after the game. Afterward, Crewe re-energizes the team with a surprise - presenting them with professional uniforms (stolen from the guards by Caretaker before he was killed). They charge onto the field, to the shock of the guards and Hazen, in their new uniforms.

The convicts disrespect Crewe because he was dismissed from the National Football League for point shaving. A sadistic warden, Rudolph Hazen, is a football fanatic who manages a semi-pro team made up of prison guards and wants Crewe to help coach the team and clinch a championship. Responding to pressure from the guards' leader and coach, Captain Wilhelm Knauer, Crewe initially refuses, but eventually relents and agrees to form a prisoner team to play the guards' team in an exhibition "tune-up" game. Crewe forms a team that includes Samson, a former professional weightlifter, and Connie Shokner, a serial killer and martial arts expert.

Paul "Wrecking" Crewe is a former star pro football Citrus State Prison.



  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • Remakes 4
  • Awards 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

The film was shot on location at Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, Ga. It had the cooperation of then-Governor, Jimmy Carter. Filming had to be delayed from time to time due to prison uprisings. [4]