User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
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  1. ChadS.
    Oct 13, 2008
    6
    The testimonals are in. With regard to the motivation behind the late Don Haskins' recruitment of black players for his Texas Western(now Texas-El Paso) basketball program, by all accounts, "The Bear", was not a racist bear, or a cross-purposes bear who suited up African-American athletes for the sole purpose of winning games. He did so, because, to quote the late Quaker Oats The testimonals are in. With regard to the motivation behind the late Don Haskins' recruitment of black players for his Texas Western(now Texas-El Paso) basketball program, by all accounts, "The Bear", was not a racist bear, or a cross-purposes bear who suited up African-American athletes for the sole purpose of winning games. He did so, because, to quote the late Quaker Oats pitchman Wilford Brimley, "It [was] the right thing to do." For Ben Schwartzwalder(Dennis Quaid), it was the shrewd thing to do. "The Express" is more than the story about the first black Heisman Trophy winner, it's also about a coach who exploited intergration mandates from the vantage point of an opportunist, more so than of a social activist. In the film room, during the recruiting process, his staff reluctantly plays Ernie Davis' highlight reel, even though the Syracuse Orangemen just came off a successful run with future NFL great Jim Brown. Later, when Coach Schwartzwalder tells Ernie(Ron Davis) that "it's not about trophies, it's about games," the filmmaker leaves out the fact that Brown finished fifth in the Heisman voting to Notre Dame's Paul Hornung, a quarterback who led the Fighting Irish to a 2-8 record. While "The Express" purports to be about institutionalized racism, more so than the Cotton Bowl donnybrook with the University of Texas, the film should record this travesty, because the 1956 Heisman race was all about not giving the award to Brown. If Syracuse lost to the Longhorns, they'd lose as a team. Brown, on the other hand, lost because he was black. Ernie Davis' life is a story that deserves recognition, but "The Express" belongs to Coach Schwartzwalder, a man with so many contradictions, he forces the film into collusion, seemingly, in order to keep him within shouting distance of redemption. Soon after Ernie's teammate Jack(Omar Benson Miller) comments on the coach's no fraternization with white girls policy, on cue, a black girl approaches the two student-athletes. If Ernie dated a white girl, it would force the film's hand and go places outside the confines of the inspirational sports movie. Expand
  2. RonR.
    Oct 11, 2008
    10
    This film has come along at a time when America needs to be reminded that great people have strength, character and integrity. I gave me hope and reinforced that people can rise above adversity and negativity. I will see it again in order to balance news about politicians or financial company CEOs.
  3. SharonC.
    Oct 19, 2008
    10
    I truly do not understand why this movie is given such a low rating by the critics. The film portrays our countries attitude towards African Americans at that time with great insight and accuracy. The acting is superb by both Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown. Plus, the supporting cast ain't to bad either. One feature of the film that I really liked was the editing...slicing actually scenes I truly do not understand why this movie is given such a low rating by the critics. The film portrays our countries attitude towards African Americans at that time with great insight and accuracy. The acting is superb by both Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown. Plus, the supporting cast ain't to bad either. One feature of the film that I really liked was the editing...slicing actually scenes into the story. During the 50's, and 60's I watched Jim Brown play for the Cleveland Browns from the stands. Expand
  4. ChuckD.
    Oct 24, 2008
    9
    Excellent flick
  5. msmitty
    Jan 24, 2009
    9
    A very entertaining movie that is well worth the money. Theres a little bit of everything in the movie with very good football attributes.
  6. DonnaT.
    Oct 11, 2008
    10
    Excellent movie A history lesson that demonstrates character, courage, determination, sacrifice, teamwork and excellence ! I'm not even a football fan. Every young person should see.
  7. JerryV.
    Oct 13, 2008
    9
    Very good sports movie probably one of the best.
  8. BK.
    Oct 23, 2008
    7
    Inspiring story told strictly by0the-book. The lead nails the part! Quaid has done this part many times before.
  9. SteveTripp
    Oct 25, 2008
    7
    Good film overall. Didn't have the fluidity that most good piopics have but I still recommend it.
  10. JayH.
    Jan 11, 2009
    3
    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.
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    60
    Crowdpleasing and oh-so-predictable.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    40
    Like all formulaic biopics, The Express sacrifices the details for the Big Picture--hagiography without the humanity.