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Brian's Song

Yeah, Brian's Song is a chick-flick for guys. You got a problem with that? The made-for-TV tearjerker first aired in 1971 and was a television milestone, dealing as it did with cancer, racism, and even daring to utilize the "n" word during prime time. The story of the friendship between Chicago Bears players Gale Sayers (a trim and youthful Billy Dee Williams) and Brian Piccolo (a trim and furry James Caan), Brian's Song is a fervently heterosexual man-man love story. Meeting as rookies, gregarious Piccolo and shy Sayers compete for the same position on the team, with Sayers edging Piccolo out in speed and talent. When Sayers is injured during a game, Piccolo coaches him back to a full recovery. Piccolo finally makes the starting lineup, too, and all is happy — until Piccolo is diagnosed with cancer. Once you get beyond the '70s hairstyles (check out Bernie Casey's 'fro!), polyester shirts, and the wokka-chikka TV-movie soundtrack, Brian's Song is well-written and heartfelt, with a chemistry between the two leads that rings so true that you can't help but weep when Billy Dee delivers his famous "I love Brian Piccolo" speech. Columbia TriStar's DVD edition of Brian's Song presents the movie in its original full-frame, mono glory (albeit with crisp, digitally mastered audio and video) with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean or Thai. Commentary track by James Caan and Billy Dee Williams, the featurette "Gale Sayers: First and Goal," trailers, cast and crew notes. Keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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