The Express


Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27

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Critic Reviews

  1. Rob Brown (Stop-Loss) gives a graceful, understated performance as Ernie Davis.
  2. Reviewed by: Stina Chyn
    Even if you already knew the facts, you won’' be able to help but reflect in awe at how much progress in the fight against discrimination has been made on a societal level.
  3. 75
    While Ernie's on-field accomplishments were extraordinary, it was the environment in which he struggled to achieve them that makes him the worthy subject of a motion picture.
  4. 75
    Involving and inspiring in the way a good movie about sports almost always is.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Despite appealing performances and kinetic football scenes, the storytelling is mostly conventional.
  6. Deserves plenty of credit for exploring racial issues story in more realistic terms.
  7. Thanks to a rock-solid performance by Dennis Quaid, nice historical touches and energetic direction by Gary Fleder, the tried-and-true formula is given a welcome shot of adrenaline.
  8. 70
    The Express finesses a cinematic hat trick: It's entertaining, deeply moving and genuinely important.
  9. 70
    If a movie of this kind didn't traffic in overstatement, it wouldn't be doing its job, which is to provide a strong dose of simple, rousing emotion.
  10. Has Dennis Quaid really never played a college football coach before? With his handsome, craggy face and likable intensity, he was born for the job, and he's the main attraction in The Express.
  11. Though The Express may stretch the limits of probability, holding up Davis as an athletic superman incapable of losing, it's also that rare sports film that isn't afraid to dabble in personal and social ambiguity.
  12. 63
    A decent football movie, just about good enough to be the 40th best episode of "Friday Night Lights" . . . which has aired 39 episodes.
  13. 63
    Many inspirational sports movies provide only junk food for thought; this one contains some authentic reflections of sport in the civil rights era.
  14. Davis led an unquestionably inspirational life, but The Express, however heartfelt, is uninspired.
  15. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Crowdpleasing and oh-so-predictable.
  16. Sports biodramas generally take one of two tacks: gauzily sentimental or scrappy tale of struggle. The Express runs the thin line between the two and, to its benefit, more often than not hits the first mark.
  17. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    While never as trailblazing as its subject, The Express is a worthy addition to the lengthy canon of sports biopics
  18. It's a fine moral and an admirable statement, but it's the portrait of an icon rather than the story of the person thrust into that position.
  19. Maybe the real Ernie Davis really was this perfect, but the movie plays as if the filmmakers didn't want to offend his family.
  20. Too often The Express sidelines its own main character in favor of the lemon-sucking, jaw-jutting glower patented by Quaid.
  21. The Express eventually reaches its triumph-of-the-human-spirit climax, but it yanks too hard on the heart strings during the long journey there.
  22. 50
    Long on inspiration, short on specifics.
  23. 50
    If one will pardon the obvious analogy, The Express ends up feeling like a fumble at the goal line, coming across as simple-minded and melodramatic.
  24. 50
    This movie is especially egregious since it bundles the civil rights era, garden-variety bigotry, and the achievements of Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.
  25. Any one of these narrative components might have made for a worthy picture. But that would have taken a more imaginative writer than Charles Leavitt and a more sensitive director than Gary Fleder.
  26. The Express may prove valuable to movie historians since it's a compendium of virtually every sports movie cliché ever contrived.
  27. 40
    Like all formulaic biopics, The Express sacrifices the details for the Big Picture--hagiography without the humanity.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. msmitty
    Jan 24, 2009
    A very entertaining movie that is well worth the money. Theres a little bit of everything in the movie with very good football attributes.
  2. JayH.
    Jan 11, 2009
    Endless and boring, a good hour could have cut and it wouldn't matter. I have seen all this SO many times before. It is so cliche ridden Endless and boring, a good hour could have cut and it wouldn't matter. I have seen all this SO many times before. It is so cliche ridden it is ridiculous. The acting and the story are way too melodramatic.Totally predictable. Full Review »
  3. SteveTripp
    Oct 25, 2008
    Good film overall. Didn't have the fluidity that most good piopics have but I still recommend it.