Screenplay outline by
Act I (pages 1-26)
14-year old Pete Carroll at the Diamond B Football Camp in Booneville, California is given first "coaching assignment" by Coach Bob Troppmann. He sees John McKay and Marv Goux.
McKay instructs young players with a mega-phone.
Carroll and others young charges are put through the paces by Goux.
Carroll tells Troppmann what an honor it is to have McKay and Goux at the camp. Troppman tells him that's only the half of it.
Carroll and young players stare in rapt attention; pan Goux, McKay, Troppmann and high school football coaches; VO is Bear Bryant telling audience tall tales; in particular to "send yer whiskey-drinkin', skirt-chasin' D students to old Bear and I'll make 'em into football players."
Carroll says good night to other campers and turns out the light in his cabin.
At a local lodge some 500 yards away, in the bar, Troppmann sits with McKay and Bryant. He tells the legendary coaches how honored he is to have them at his camp; to speak; and to endorse him. The conversation; Mike Garrett, a black running back and Heisman frontrunner in upcoming season; race riots in Los Angeles; and Bryant's background.
Flashback to Bryant wrestling a bear; almost getting thrown in jail with a black kid; living on the "wrong side of the tracks"; serving in the Navy; and coaching at Junction.
Bryant tells Troppmann and McKay he tried to recruit blacks and was told "that's the last thing we'll do," and he said, "Wa'al, last is where were fixin' to finish then."
Back at the lodge, another round is served; cigarettes and cigars; Troppmann is a "fly on the wall." McKay tells Bryant but "for the grace of God" he could be in his shoes.
Flashback to cross burning on the Catholic McKay's lawn in West Virginia; McKay a tailgunner in the Army Air Corp; playing football on the G.I. Bill at Oregon; Al Davis almost getting the USC job that he got.
Troppmann interjects. "I didn't realize you were from the South, Coach." McKay says West Virginia was only state not to join the Confederacy; votes Republican. "Still, it explains why you two are friends. You're both a coupla good ol' boys." McKay tells Bryant he does not how he deals with Wallace.
1958: Alabama gubernatorial candidate George Wallace looks at his losing 1958 returns. He tells an aide he tried to campaign like Huey Long, to reach out to blacks, but it only got him beat, and "I'll never be out-niggered again."
1959: a local "citizen's group" (KKK) warns Bryant that he better not play integrated Penn State in the Liberty Bowl.
Bryant and his team run off the field after beating Penn State.
1960: Martin Luther King is jailed in Birmingham. He gets word that Richard Nixon has declined to help with his release, but John Kennedy has intervened, and that Jackie Robinson has switched his support from Nixon to JFK.
Wallace, elected Governor, makes his inauguration speech and vows "segregation now, segregation forever."
Bryant observes from his second floor office as Vivian Malone and Hood are escorted into the admission's office. Bryant tells president of the school it was "all for show," that Wallace made his "stand in the schoolhouse door" to mollify his racist base. "Well, I'll be a son of a gun," says the president, unaware of this, marveling at how Bryant seems to know all.
Joe Namath rifles a pass in practice.
Namath woos a coed with whiskey. Troppmann's VO: "Namath's one of those 'whiskey-drinkin', skirt-chasin' D students' you were talking about."
Namath walks the streets of Birmingham. 13-year old Sylvester Croom observes him and says, "He looks like a cool jazz singer."
Back at the lodge, Bryant tells McKay and Troppmann that he's recruiting players from Pennsylvania, Florida, even California; times are changing; Wallace has Presidential aspirations and there are term limits; and that some day he'll bring in blacks and "it'll be like a high-speed train." "From your mouth to God's ears," says Troppmann.
The sound of a train morphs into the sight of USC running back Mike Garrett running over the opposition. Voiceover description. Song plays: "California Dreamin'" or "Surfin' USA"
Garrett wins the Heisman Trophy.
Photo image of Brice Taylor.
Documentary footage of Jackie Robinson-UCLA vs. USC; John Wooden's Bruins.
Documentary footage of Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey; great black athletes of the 1950s-60s: Willie Mays, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain.
Documentary footage of 1960s California. Voiceover says California seems to have achieved racial harmony. Images of whites, blacks getting along - discos, beaches, schools. Song plays: "Conquest!" Documentary footage of O.J. Simpson, Heisman Trophy, Trojan national championships, Rose Bowl, Traveler, fans wave "V for victory."
Documentary footage of 1960s protests. Music switches to more apocalyptic rock of the era.
Documentary footage of civil rights protests in the South. Music switches to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Alabama football banquet. Christ Vagotis is introduced by alum who says, "We don't know what he is, but he ain't no Negro."
Jim Murray writes his column saying Alabama should not win 1966 national championship.
Crowd shots of Alabama fans - "Notre Dame plays politics."
Final 1966 polls show Notre Dame wins "Catholic vote." Music switches to Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'."
Bear Bryant tells a writer, "Black players are comin' to the Southeastern Conference. I wanna be the Branch Rickey of college football."
Look headline: "Blacks coming to SEC says Bear." End music.
Wilbur Jackson runs for a touchdown for Ozark High School. Black fans cheer.
Pat Dye and Christ Vagotis are the only white faces in the stadium. Dye tells Vagotis that since he is Greek and from Ohio, Bear wants him to handle the Jackson recruitment.
Vagotis recruits Jackson; talks to his family; arguments over how he will be treated. Jackson agrees.
Act II (pages 26-91)
Hear a phone ringing. Headline: "NCAA adds 11th game." McKay answers: "Coach McKay . . . "
McKay approaches Craig Fertig. "Craiger, let's go."
Car edges onto Santa Monica Freeway. "Which way, Coach?" asks Fertig. "West," says McKay.
Car appraches San Diego Freeway. "Where to, Coach?" asks Fertig. "405 south," answers McKay.
Car approaches LAX exit: "We're goin' to the airport" says McKay. "Recruiting trip?" asks Fertig. No answers.
Car approaches LAX: "Short term or long term parking?" "Short term." "Ah, short flight."
Horizon Room, Western Airlines: "He'll be here in a couple minutes." In walks Bear Bryant. Conversation takes place, and Alabama vs. USC game is set. 29 MINUTES.
Meeting between Bryant and coaches; announces USC coming to play. Much discussion.
John Papadakis loses job to Sam Cunningham. Charlie Evans and Cunningham still compete. Evans fumes.
Practice scenes of Scott Hunter, Johnny Musso, John Hannah (The Cage).
Practice scenes of Charles Young, Charlie Weaver, Tody Smith, Dave Brown, Jimmy Jones.
Ty Hudson talks to Michele McKay. Young tells him to "cool it."
Whites take grievances to white coach; blacks to black coach. Tom Kelly notices.
Jeff Prugh, Jim Murray, Bud Furillo at practice.
Hunter and Musso talk.
Clarence Davis's uncle, a Christian minister. Show the cross. Evangelical music plays.
Whites churches. End music.
Fraternity; fight between Tody Smith and white fraternity.
Young and Graf in car.
Bryant-McKay in a duck blind.
Bryant, McKay, wives. Alumni says Bear over hill.
1970 Marin Courthouse killing.
Documentary footage, 1968-70: Civil rights movememt; Christian to militant.
Jimmy Jones' apartment.
Hannah and The Cage. Players falling about.
Hannah falls asleep. Voiceover. Bryant's voiceover: "You see how human body can recover."
Jim Murray, Jeff Prugh meet with Bryant.
''Bama fan respects McKay, USC as private, conservative school; reason why Bear scheduled game. Says 'Bama boys are "dirt poor," SC is school of "wealth and privilege." Show scenes during his VO.
USC send-off with Marv Goux; cheerleaders, band. Blacks are still hesitant, fearful.
Dave Brown approaches McKay about Fellowship of Christian Athletes "demonstration."
FCA meeting. Tody Smith does not participate.
On plane, John Vella sees Tody Smith's gun.
At the airport, Alabama's Million-Dollar Band meets the team.
Highway; players are quiet in bus. Music: "Sweet Home Alabama."
Bear Bryant "walks on water" on billboard.
Scenes of roadside poverty.
Dave Brown says, "God help them."
Hotel; sign welcomes Trojans.
Lobby; strange reaction.
Blacks walk/run past pool.
Room - Carter, Papadakis and the little kids.
Jones' room; gun argument.
Vella sees gun with Smith. Vella confronts Smith.
Smith leaves gun. Voiceover: Dave Brown/FCA.
Act III (91-129)
Legion field: Confederate flags.
"Bear meat" taunts.
Alabama walk-through. Hannah is still on team.
Fertig observes Bear.
Bear approaches stands, kisses a baby; pagan idolatry.
On field taunts of USC.
Black bar; game on the radio.
Popping sound in stands worries SC's black players.
McKay-Bear meet at mid-field.
Goux's pep speech in locker room - "wrecking crew."
Fertig: "Give it to Sam."
Prugh in press box, Alabama fan.
Halftime; Bryant tells 'em "we have class."
Second half progression.
Crowd quiets - hear outside.
Shouts of USC players on field.
Close-ups of celebrating Trojans. McKay says to Fertig: Sometime you'll be on the other siude of the field and know how it feels."
Sound of blacks outside stadium.
Blacks outside stadium; gathering, cheering.
Blacks at Birmingham bar, cheering.
Bryant-McKay at midfield.
'Bama fan leaves stadium; "Bryant oughta get some of them blacks."
Locker room celebration; enter Bryant.
Bryant approaches Fertig to "borrow" Sam.
Bryant takes Sam.
Hallway scene; "this here's what a football player looks like."
Prugh and the fan.
Bus, bibles, candles. Voiceover: Murray's column.
Prugh at coffee shop; 'Bama fan overheard.
End voiceover of Murray's column.
Golf course: Bryant, McKay.
McKay brags about John Mitchell. Bryant excuses himself.
Bryant on phone at clubhouse; "get me John Mitchell."
L.A. Coliseum: TITLE" "The re-match. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 1971."
Mitchell runs past McKay, Fertig. McKay turns to Fertig: "Well, that's what you get."
Scoreboard: 17-10, Alabama.
USC beats Notre Dame, 1971. Voiceover of Dave Brown's FCA.
1972 national champs. Anthony Davis runs for score. End voiceover.
1978 Bama wins AP title 1978.
Documentary footage; Wallace shot.
South rises again, Olympics.
Cunningham, Hannah - teammates.
Cunningham, Papadakis return to Alabama for 2003 USC-Auburn game.
Shots of McKay at Julie's. Voiceover: SC-'Bama dominate the 1970s.
Winner of game was America.
Possible additional scenes
Black fraternity at USC
McKay, USC banquet
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism