Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Uproarious, moving and thrilling.
  2. 100
    This may or may not be the greatest instance of college football ever played, but "Brian's Song," J"erry Maguire," and "The Longest Yard" notwithstanding, Rafferty's no-frills annotated replay is the best football movie I've ever seen: A particular day in history becomes a moment out of time.
  3. Filmmaker Kevin Rafferty makes the case for remembrance and for the art of the story in his preposterously entertaining documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29, preposterous at least for those of us who routinely shun that pagan sacrament.
  4. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    90
    How many thrillers could put the outcome in the title and still provide as many white-knuckle moments as Harvard Beats Yale 29-29?
  5. Not just a great sports movie, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 captures a pivotal moment in recent history.
  6. The aura of shock-and-awe surrounding this game is laid on a bit thick, and sometimes you feel like you're just watching an ESPN special. Still, it's fun. The interviewees include Harvard's stone-cold-serious Tommy Lee Jones and Brian Dowling, Yale's wonder-boy quarterback who became the model for B.D. in classmate Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury."
  7. 80
    A ripping good yarn, like a Fitzgerald short story rewritten by John Updike, with an uproarious, impossible Hollywood ending.
  8. Both an irresistible human story and as fine a documentary on football as "Hoop Dreams" was on basketball.
  9. 78
    Even if you're familiar with the details of the game, Rafferty's suspenseful editing draws you to the edge of your seat and beyond, back into 1968 itself.
  10. The film isn't much as cinema, but it doesn't really matter. The final half-hour, in particular, generates the sort of suspense you rarely get in a sports documentary.
  11. 75
    The larger point Harvard Beats Yale makes, perhaps, is about the inevitability of loss. Many of these men, now in their early 60s, look terrific. Others, let us say, do not. Either way, all of them look very different from the helmeted young athletes of 40 years ago. A sense of mortality shadows the documentary. On or off the gridiron, time is the only opponent who always wins. Even at Harvard, even at Yale.
  12. 75
    An engaging chronicle not only of a memorable game but also of an era that seems at once more innocent and combustible than our own.
  13. 70
    The 37 Yale and Harvard players Rafferty interviews are such a rich and articulate cast of characters that the season leading up to the game and the game itself become an epic story.
  14. 67
    Much like the recent "remember when" documentary "Man On Wire," Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 builds strong momentum in its home stretch, and sends the audience out on a high.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. John
    Aug 6, 2009
    10
    Great! It is difficult to understand why this movie would be so riviting given that this is Ivy league football and 40 years ago. But the Great! It is difficult to understand why this movie would be so riviting given that this is Ivy league football and 40 years ago. But the players are great characters and the game may be the most suspenseful of all time. Must see! Full Review »
  2. EdwardK
    May 8, 2009
    9
    An excellent documentary. As a Yale graduate, I hated the ending, of course, but I loved the film. It's really about the players and An excellent documentary. As a Yale graduate, I hated the ending, of course, but I loved the film. It's really about the players and their roller-coaster of emotions during and since The Game. Except for "Man on Wire" it's the best documentary I've seen in years. Full Review »