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"We cheer the fact that Rudy is able to break through old, defeatist programming."


Raymond Teague is the author of Reel Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
Inspire, Explore and Empower
, from Unity House. 

He is an award-winning
journalist, an editor of spiritual publications, a popular New Thought
speaker, and a lifelong movie buff. 

His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.

  Raymond Teague, 
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews

(1993, 112 minutes, PG)

Touchdown! Inspirational movies don't get any better than this. 

Rudy is based on the life of Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin), a young man from Chicago who is determined to play football for Notre Dame, even though he doesn't have the build, the athletic abilities, or the grades. What he has is a dream and determination.

We know Rudy is going to succeed -- and we're in there cheering him on from the beginning -- but there is great satisfaction in following Rudy's journey to success in this film directed by David Anspaugh and written by Angelo Pizzo.

To start with, we cheer the fact that Rudy is able to break through old, defeatist programming. When he was a young boy, Rudy announces to his family, "After high school, I'm going to play football at Notre Dame." They laugh at him. Such response continues throughout his formative years, and after high school Rudy works in a steel mill with his father and brothers for four years. Only one friend believes in Rudy, and when the friend dies, Rudy realizes that he can't put off his dream any longer.

Rudy tells a priest, "My whole life, people have been telling me what I could do and what I couldn't do. I've always listened to them, believed in what they said. I don't want to do that anymore."

In the lingo of the ancient Toltec wisdom found in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Rudy is changing his agreement with himself. Ruiz writes that the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves, based on what we have accepted from our environment, society, parents, etc. "In these agreements you tell yourself who you are, what you feel, what you believe, and how to behave. The result is what you call your personality. In these agreements you say, 'This is what I am. This is what I believe. I can do certain things, and some things I cannot do. This is reality, that is fantasy; this is possible, that is impossible.'"

But Ruiz says, "If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power."

Making a new agreement with himself, Rudy affirms, "I'll do whatever it takes... I'll study twenty hours a day if I have to." While standing on the Notre Dame playing field, Rudy vows, "Some day I'm going to come out of that tunnel and I'm going to run onto this field... I'm here to play football for the Irish."

Rudy puts considerable action and energy, as well as prayer and faith, into his dream, and during times when it appears as if he won't succeed, Rudy prays and reflectively asks, "Have I done everything I possibly can?" Rudy absolutely refuses to break his can-do agreement with himself. The rest, as they say, is history - and on record at the University of Notre Dame.

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