It happened more than 40 years ago, but when a story is this good, it never stales. Now this legendary true sports tale is hitting movie screens with a lesson on life and humility.
The documentary "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29" takes us back to 1968 when life was uncertain in our country. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had been assassinated that year. There was Vietnam, anti-war rallies, sex, the pill and drugs. But on this one day, at this one football game, the collective life experiences of the players commanded the field and wove a story that is now a snapshot of a generation.
November 23, 1968: the Harvard-Yale match-up is historic. Both teams are undefeated and are playing the final game of their season. A feat unrivaled since 1909. Yale is the odds-on favorite. Harvard is determined not to be shamed at home.
At first glance you may think: "I'm not a sports fan, why bother?" But this is more than a sports story. And while the ending is in the title, the drama is on the screen.
Fifty ex-football players tell their stories to documentary filmmaker Kevin Rafferty. Original play-by-play game footage is woven through the interviews. As Yale trounces Harvard, the reflections of a generation take shape and the true heart of the film is revealed.
You'll hear actor Tommy Lee Jones -- a Harvard offensive linemen -- dryly recall the sophomoric phone-antics of roommate Al Gore. Yale undergraduate Garry Trudeau uses the football team as inspiration for his early Doonesbury strip. While a Yale player tells the tales of roommate turned president, George Bush.
As Yale appears to be running toward victory, the stories become more reflective. There is talk of Vietnam and the deep scars felt by a veteran who returns to school to play college ball. A once cutthroat player reveals why he was out for blood and how revenge taught him a life lesson.
But with each turn, the film never takes its eye off the ball. Forty-two seconds left in the game and Yale leads 29 to 13. Harvard makes its last stand in what Sports Illustrated calls one of the best five college football games ever.
It is those 42 seconds, the leadership of a second-string Harvard quarterback and his fearless teammates that put you on the edge of your seat. It may even have you yelling at the screen. It is intense. It is heart pounding.
This is no ordinary game.
Harvard beats Yale 29-29 is in limited release. Please check the Harvard Beats Yale website for dates and movie theatres.