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The Longest Yard is a 2005 American sports comedy remake of the 1974 film of the same name. The movie features inmates at a prison who play football against their guards. Adam Sandler plays the protagonist, Paul Crewe, an ex pro-football quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Burt Reynolds, the original Paul Crewe, plays a major role as Nate Scarborough, the head coach and a former Heisman Trophy winner for Oklahoma in 1955, and Chris Rock as Crewe's cell neighbor and friend known as Caretaker. The ensemble supporting cast includes James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner, Terry Crews and a number of current and semi-retired football players such as Michael Irvin and Bill Romanowski, and professional wrestlers including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Bob Sapp, Brian Bosworth, and Dalip "The Great Khali" Singh Rana. The film was released domestically by Paramount Pictures and released internationally by Columbia Pictures. This was the first movie ever to use the Happy Madison Productions logo of Adam Sandler's production company.


Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), is an former NFL player disgraced for shaving points in a big game, getting in an argument with his rich girlfriend Lena (Courteney Cox) regarding his failure. He locks her in a closet, gets drunk, and goes joy riding in her Bentley Continental GT throughout San Diegomarker. After completely wrecking the car, and disabling several police cruisers in the process, he gets arrested. He is found guilty of grand theft auto and is sentenced to three years in Allenville Penitentiary in Texas, as it was arranged by the prison's warden Hazen (James Cromwell).

In prison, the warden asks Paul to help the prison guards' football team. After being roughed up a bit, Paul (under threat of an extra 5 years in prison for blocking a guard's baton) decides to help him. He informs the warden that what his team needs is a tune-up game: a game where they play a team and "kick the living shit out of 'em, and get their spirits up". This gives the warden an idea: Paul, with the help of fellow inmate Caretaker (Chris Rock), will make a team out of the inmates for them to play as their tune-up game. He starts off with a poorly organized team, before being noticed by another prisoner, former football player Nate Scarborough (Reynolds), who decides to help him by coaching the team.

Paul, Nate, and Caretaker find a rating system on the criminals (up to five stars, depending on how prone to violence they are). They all set out to find and recruit some five star inmates: linebacker Joey Battle (Goldberg); fullback Turley (Singh Rana); and at safety, Torres (Lobo Sebastian), a chain-smoking outsider. But after realizing their team is built on power and nastiness (primarily on defense) and there is no offensive threats on the team, Paul realizes he needs more players. Caretaker suggests that it is due to their lack of "brothers", as they only have one currently on their team: defensive lineman Switowsky (Sapp), an unintelligent, child-like, but large strongman.

They go to the black inmates and approach their leader Deacon Moss (Irvin), who declares that none of them want to play on his team because of Paul's point-shaving history. So Paul challenges them to a 1 on 1 basketball game where if Paul wins, the men will join the team. They play basketball and call their own fouls, with Paul getting physically punished during the game. Despite Paul losing, one of the black inmates, Earl Megget (Nelly), is impressed by Paul's resilience and joins the team. Megget becomes the team's running back by impressing Paul with his running ability.

After a tip from Unger (David Patrick Kelly) that Paul and Megget are the only real offensive threats on the team, Captain Knauer (Fichtner), the guards' quarterback, decides that the guards should try to stop Megget by trying to get him to assault one of them and sticking them in solitary confinement. Three guards Dunham (Austin), Garner (Bosworth) and Engelheart (Nash) try to provoke Megget by using racial slurs and making him pick up books they dropped on the ground repeatedly. The guards give up on this after he stands through their harassment. Witnessing this, Moss and Cheeseburger Eddy (Crews), convince the rest of black inmates to join the football team. The warden and guards go to extreme lengths to stop Paul's squad, even flooding their field, but the team overcomes these obstacles.

Caretaker suggests that since the guards have been playing dirty that the inmates should start acting more like criminals, such as swapping Engelheart's anabolic steroids for estrogen pills, examining x-rays of guards with broken bones, and stealing tapes of the guards past games. The guards Garner, Engelheart, Holland and Lambert (Romanowski) then decide to do something about Paul, and have Unger plant a bomb, disguised as a radio, in his cell. After the final day of preparation for the big game, Caretaker leaves early and places a gift for Paul in his cell and accidentally sets the bomb (which was the radio) off, and is killed in the resulting explosion.During game day, the inmates (now calling themselves "Mean Machine" with gear provided by the late-Caretaker) overcome a rough start and end the first half with the score tied. The warden is angry, and informs Paul that if he doesn't lose then he would be framed for the murder of Caretaker (another 25 years). Paul says spitefully, "Fine, but you get a 2 touchdown lead and you coast". The warden agrees to Paul's face, but he tells the guards' quarterback to get ahead by three touchdowns and inflict as much pain as possible. After the guards score two touchdowns (and Paul steps out faking injury), they start injuring players before scoring a third touchdown. After the guards injure two of the players, Paul goes back in, but must regain the trust of the inmates. The inmates ignore Paul, letting him get sacked twice and forcing him to run the ball himself. After losing his helmet and still getting the first down, Paul admits his sabotage and they trust him again. They get back in it, but Megget gets hurt. Scarborough comes in for one play as replacement, and scores a touchdown off a trick play involving a fumble called a Fumblerooski. They decide to go for the two point conversion, and the win. They get up to the line and seem to be confused, and Paul and Coach start arguing. The play is really a trick, and then Moss gets the snap and passes it to Paul, who scores the winning conversion. Ultimately Captain Knauer respects Paul's move and lets him know he will testify that Paul had nothing to do with Caretaker's death.

The warden comes over and begins to admonish Captain Knauer for losing a fixed game and notices that Paul is heading towards the exit along with the fans. Pulling a sniper over, he demands that Paul be shot for attempting to escape. The sniper hesitates because of the numerous people near Paul, so the warden grabs the rifle and passes it to Knauer, demanding that he should take the shot. Knauer sights up Paul, but hesitates, calling out Paul's name several times to get him to stop. Paul does stop, but he was actually going to pick up the ball and head back. Knauer angrily hands the rifle back to the warden and leaves, while Paul gives the game ball to the warden, telling them to "Stick it in his trophy case." Paul and Scarborough head back towards the locker room and agree that they should tell the others where Unger is hiding.

As the warden watches them leave, Moss and Battle pour a cooler of Gatorade on Hazen in a mockery of a typical football game celebration. The Warden angrily shouts that they'll receive a week in the hotbox. Battle yells back "who gives a shit?"


Box office

The film did well at the box office. Its $47.6 million dollar opening weekend was the largest of Sandler's career and only second to The Day After Tomorrow as the largest opening by a movie that wasn't #1. The film would go on to gross $158.1 million in the United States and Canada and $190 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing film produced by MTV Films. Despite the large number of remakes released at the theaters, it's worth noting that The Longest Yard is the highest grossing comedy remake of the modern box office era (from 1980 on).

Critical response

The overall critical response was mixed. They generally agreed that it was a play-by-play remake, the greatest complaint from critics was that it replaced the original's dark comedy and grit with juvenile humor and visual gags.

Roger Ebert, in the critical minority with this title, gave it a "Thumbs Up", defending it later in his Chicago Sun-Times review as a film that "...more or less achieves what most of the people attending it will expect." In the print review, Ebert beseeches his readers to " out a movie you could have an interesting conversation about", citing films not in wide release such as Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist and Kontroll, until finally encouraging his readers to "drop any thought of seeing anything else instead" if they can see Crash.


The film also earned Chris Rock a BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Theatrical Film.



Prison staff



Track listing

  1. . Errtime
  2. . Shorty Bounce
  3. . Bounce Like This
  4. . Let 'Em Fight
  5. . Stomp
  6. . So Fly
  7. . U Should Know
  8. . Whip Yo Ass
  9. . Talking That Talk
  10. . Datz on My Mama
  11. . Infultrate
  12. . My Ballz
  13. . Fly Away

Filming locations

The Allenville Penitentiary in Texas was filmed entirely at the New Mexico State Penitentiarymarker on Route 14, Santa Fe, New Mexicomarker. The football game at the end of the movie was filmed at Murdock Stadium at the El Camino Collegemarker in Torrance, Californiamarker. The car chase scene was filmed whereabouts in Long Beach, Californiamarker. Other parts of the film where filmed in Los Angelesmarker and New Mexicomarker.


  1. Comedy Remake Movies
  2. .
  3. Ebert & Roeper Reviews for the Weekend of May 28-29, 2005
  4. Roger Ebert Reviews: The Longest Yard

External links

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