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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 14th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1993

Rudy - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook

Overview -

Never bet against the little guy. One of the greatest sports dramas - at least dedicated to collegiate football - scores a big win on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Rudy celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a lovely two-disc SteelBook release from Sony offering up the Theatrical Cut and new Director’s Cut in 4K Dolby Vision with a wonderful Atmos mix, and a fine assortment of extra features. Highly Recommended

All his life, people have told Rudy he's not good enough, not smart enough, not big enough. But nothing can stop his impossible dream of playing football for Notre Dame. From the time he's a young boy, Rudy (Sean Astin) is determined to join the Fighting Irish. But his blue collar family only laughs at his ambitions - they know Rudy will follow his father and brothers to the local steel mill. And, for four long years after high school, he does just that. But some dreams won't die, as Rudy proves when he goes to heroic, occasionally hilarious, lengths to win admission to Notre Dame. Once there, he becomes a walk-on player, serving as little more than a human tackling dummy against the starting players. Bloodied but unbeaten, Rudy wins the respect of legendary coach Ara Parseghian and the other Irish players, who give him one shot at gridiron glory. An incredible true story from the creators of Hoosiers, RUDY is an unforgettable testament to the power of dreams and the triumph of the common man. 

DISC DETAILS & BONUS MATERIALS 
"I’m so pleased to share this new version of RUDY, now in its full and intended Director's Cut presentation. It's a different movie, but in a very good way! The 4K and Atmos upgrades also perfectly enhance the experience, making this the ideal gift for RUDY fans everywhere. Never give up!” -    David Anspaugh, Director

4K ULTRA HD DISC

  • NEW: 127-minute Director’s Cut of the film
    • Also includes the original 114-minute Theatrical Cut of the film
    • Both versions of the film remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative and presented in 4K with Dolby Vision
    • Both versions also include all-new Dolby Atmos immersive audio mixes
    • 4K picture and Atmos sound mix approved by director David Anspaugh
  • Also includes English 5.1 for both versions + 2-channel surround for the Theatrical Cut
  • Special Features:
    • NEW: Feature Commentary with Director David Anspaugh and Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo (Director’s Cut Only)
    • NEW: 5 Additional Deleted Scenes
    • Theatrical Trailer

BLU-RAY DISC

  • Theatrical Cut presented in High Definition
  • 5.1 audio
  • Special Features:
    • Rudy: The Real Story Featurette
    •  Production Featurette
    • First Down with Sean Astin 

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Director’s Cut Approx. 127 minutes / Theatrical Cut Approx. 114 minutes
Video Resolution/Codec:
Both versions of the film remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative and presented in 4K with Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
Both Versions: English Dolby Atmos, English DTS-HD MA 5.1. Theatrical Version: English 2-Channel Surround
Release Date:
November 14th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Some people are born legends. Some become legends through all-American grit and determination. For college football fans, the story of Dan “Rudy” Ruttiger is well known. Even if you're not a sports fan if you were a kid growing up in the 80s if you didn’t read his book about his determination to play football for Notre Dame, he may have dropped by your school as a motivational speaker. Reuniting the team behind another classic sports drama Hoosiers, Director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo with composer Jerry Goldsmith set out to tell the tale of how one poor working-class kid fought his way to play for the Fighting Irish.

Rudy may not be 100% historically accurate with a forgivable amount of dramatic license, but it’s a damned wonderful film and it’s been making red-blooded sports-loving men of all ages weep for three decades. Now it’s a little richer and more dramatically pleasing with Anspaugh turning in his new Director’s Cut. At its core, Rudy is a character drama masquerading as a sports drama. Starring Sean Astin as the titular go-getter, the film features a terrific cast including Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton, Robert Prosky, Jon Favreau as well as Jason Miller, Chelcie Ross, and Vince Vaughn. 

We first meet Rudy (Sean Astin) as he’s finishing high school. From a steel-working family, his father Dan Senior (a lovely turn from Ned Beatty) loves Notre Dame football, but can’t believe his young son – or any Ruttiger could ever attend the university. But little Rudy has a dream and he’s ready to prove himself to anyone and everyone that doubted him. Beyond getting accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the country, he’ll also have to make it onto one of the hardest-hitting most competitive football teams in the country. 

Full disclosure, I come from Wolverine country and the sight of the Irish blue and gold is usually a rage-inducing eyesore. But for Rudy - I love this film. Rudy is to college football as Rocky is to boxing. It’s a human drama first with sports as a backdrop. A classic underdog story, it’s a movie that inspires you to try to achieve your dreams and then in the face of repeated failures - keep trying. I saw this film in theaters and I’ve watched it countless times since. It’s remained a rousing inspirational film three decades later. It also happens to feature my very favorite Jerry Goldsmith score. 

Now when this film was announced for 4K, I was just happy to have the version of the film I’ve known and loved for three decades. But to sweeten the pot, Sony includes Anspaugh’s new Director’s Cut (via seamless branching) for a longer and I have to admit more fulfilling film. Not just frivolous scene extensions, the new cut gives more weight to a variety of characters. We see more of Robert Prosky’s Father Cavenaugh, he doesn’t just disappear now in the second act. We see more of Rudy trying to fit in with the Notre Dame team setting up their antagonistic struggle earlier while also giving them more time to ease into their redemptive actions in the final stretch. More interesting and meaningful, we see more of Greta Lind’s Mary. Thankfully this cut doesn’t force Rudy and Mary into a silly weightless romance but instead bolsters a more valuable friendship through to the end. 

Of course, if you’ve paid any attention to the background of the film, namely any of the humorously salty interviews with Joe Montana, you know the film Rudy isn’t exactly 100% true. As Rudy himself stated it’s closer to 92% true but if we’re really going to be honest, it’s probably only 85%. If you’ve read the book there are a number of details altered for dramatic license to make the film bigger and more cinematic. And that’s really the point here. Rudy is an exciting, dramatic, and incredibly entertaining character-driven sports drama. It’s designed to inspire a big audience with Sean Astin delivering an incredible emotional and physical performance. You watch this movie and you can’t imagine anyone else helping Frodo carry the One Ring to Mordor. 




Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Sony celebrates 30 years of Rudy with a brand new two-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook. The Theatrical and Director’s cuts are pressed on a BD-100 disc with the same BD-50 from 2008 standing in for the 1080p version of the Theatrical Cut. So take note there, there isn’t a 1080p of the new Director’s Cut. Also included is a digital copy code that is Movies Anywhere compatible. The 4K disc loads to a “Version” selection menu before proceeding to a static image main menu.

Video Review

Ranking:

Rudy makes a tackle in 2160p with an excellent Dolby Vision HDR (HDR10 also included) transfer that easily runs over the old 2008 disc. Now what’s really impressive is how seamless the reintegrated footage for the Director’s Cut looks compared to the original. Now there are a couple of slightly softer-looking shots there, a couple where the film grain is a titch noisier looking but nothing terrible or anything so severe as to hinder your enjoyment of either version of the film. Compared to the 2008 disc it was nice to see that the additional sharpening is gone giving the line a cleaner feel without looking so crunchy. Likewise, fine film grain is more cinematically appealing and cleaner looking than before (save for the very few previously mentioned moments).

Next on the list of praises, the Dolby Vision grade is quite striking. Much more natural appearing than before, colors are rich evoking the perfect earthy fall shades indicative of the college football season. While I may not love the Irish, I’ve seen a few games there and the HDR and new transfer really does justice to that beautiful campus. Primaries are rich and vivid with skin tones healthy and human. All around a damn wonderful transfer for a catalog release.

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, the film kicks off with a rousing Atmos mix. Not to say the older 5.1 track was a bad experience, this one just feels bigger and more present. Dialog is clean and clear throughout without any issues. The biggest benefit I felt was how spacious this track feels. From the quieter high school classrooms to the big rousing final game, the amount of immersion in this mix is quite something. It may be quiet and conversational for long stretches but then when those guys get in their helmets and pads, the hits and crunches land with greater impact and oomph. Likewise, this new mix gives more care and attention to Goldsmith’s music letting that thundering percussion really rattle and rumble the subs for some effective LFE. Height channels are primarily used to add atmospheric effects for extra space and echo in various locations, but for big scenes like the steel mill accident or again that big final game, those height channels pick up a lot of great activity. I’ll say it again, that Goldsmith score sounds magnificent.

Special Features

Ranking:

On the bonus features side of things, we have a nice mix of new and old. For the new stuff, Director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo team up for a new Director’s Cut exclusive audio commentary. It’s a lively discussion about making the film, their long working relationship, and comparing the versions of the film. Then we come to a little over three minutes of deleted scenes that are separate from the new cut. They’re interesting in their own right, but I can see why they wouldn’t make it on either cut. Then we have the film’s trailer all on the 4K disc. Then we come to the archival material that’s housed on the included Blu-ray. 

4K UHD 

  • Audio Commentary (Director’s Cut only) featuring David Anspaugh and Angelo Pizzo
  • Deleted Scenes (HD 03:14 Total)
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Disc

  • Rudy: The Real Story
  • Production Featurette 
  • First Down with Sean Astin

As big a fan as I am, in the crowded pantheon of sports films, Rudy may not be the greatest of the pack, but it’s an emotional heavy hitter. Truthfully one would need to be a pretty jaded individual to not connect to this story in some way. Sean Astin is amazing as he headlines an excellent cast for this true (mostly) story of grit and determination winning the day. I’ve loved this film for three decades now and it’s a genuine pleasure to see it look and sound this good in 4K - in two cuts no less! For fans of the film, this is a no-brainer essential pickup. Newcomers will need to invest in a few boxes of tissues. Highly Recommended

Order your copy of Rudy on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook