The Longest Yard (1974)

In 2004 Adam Sandler took a classic movie with Burt Reynolds and gave a whole new generation a glimpse into some fun football. It wasn’t that long ago I tried to watch the original Longest Yard from 1974 and never made it past the car chase. I was like this movie won’t be for me, then last week I committed myself to watch this film from start to finish. Now, I will always love the Sandler remake, but after my night with Reynolds and the gang, I can see why both of these movies are some of the best football movies to date.

The Longest Yard really hasn’t aged a bit. Even though the equipment has changed and the presentation of the game has changed drastically, the fundamentals are still the same. I knew a couple of people in the cast which included Ed Lauter and Richard Kiel, but they didn’t bring the laughs like I was hoping. I was expecting a carbon copy story, yet was very surprised some elements were changed in terms of characters and story development. It was a different day and age back then which can explain the differences.

I never quite never understand the whole “Mean Machine” gimmick. After watching the original guys don the black and red, along with the violence they bring to the field, I have a better understanding of how “mean” these guys can really be. Cons will use every trick in the book, while those in authority will do the same exact thing to exhort their strength and power over the inmates.

I fully enjoyed The Longest Yard and grew to appreciate what it meant to football movies during the 1970’s. Obviously, this was a unique story that was worth a remake several decades later. Maybe someday someone else will come along and give us another chance to see Mean Machine in action. 7/10

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