The Replacements (film): Wikis


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The Replacements
Directed by Howard Deutch
Produced by Dylan Sellers
Jeffrey Chernov
Steven Reuther
Written by Vince McKewin
Starring Keanu Reeves
Gene Hackman
Brooke Langton
Jon Favreau
Orlando Jones
Brett Cullen
Editing by Seth Flaum
Bud S. Smith
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) August 11, 2000
Running time 118 mins.
Language English

The Replacements is a 2000 American film directed by Howard Deutch. It stars Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton and Orlando Jones.



The film opens with a professional football game being played in Washington, D.C. During the final minutes of the game, commentators John Madden and Pat Summerall (playing themselves) discuss the fact that at midnight, all of the players in the League will go on strike since contract negotiations with the owners have failed, perilously close to the end of the regular playing season. Due to League regulations, the strike cannot extend into the post-season. The Sentinels are poised to continue into the post-season playoffs if they win three of the last four regular season games. Edward O'Neil, owner of the Washington Sentinels, contacts former head coach Jimmy McGinty, recruiting him to put together a team of replacement players during the strike. McGinty agrees on two conditions: that he have no interference in his coaching from O'Neil and that his choices for the replacements be unquestioned. While other teams recruit semi-pro or former pro players, McGinty assembles an eclectic group of players that confuse the other coaching staff.

The team cheerleaders also join the strike, leaving Annabelle Farrell, the head cheerleader, to find a new cheering squad during the remaining four games. The first group of prospective cheerleaders are so untalented that Annabelle eagerly accepts Dawn and Heather, the only two so far to have dance experience or acceptable looks. When they inform her that they dance at a strip club, Annabelle hesitates, then agrees to recruit them. She invites them to send their stripper friends to try out as well. The resulting cheerleading squad, composed of strippers, is uproarious, and their extremely sexual antics prove most helpful to the replacement Sentinels during the San Diego game.

At first, the team suffers from communication problems and disagreements. They lose their first game. But McGinty's unique coaching style and an ensuing barfight with the striking Sentinels team helps the replacements cut through their mistrust and lack of cohesion. Even after winning the San Diego and Phoenix games, the replacement quarterback, Shane Falco, is still choking when the game is on the line. When Eddie Martel, the Sentinels' contracted quarterback, crosses the picket line, O'Neil breaks his promise of non-interference and manipulates McGinty into allowing Martel to play in Falco's place. O'Neil doesn't believe that Falco has the ability to lead the team to victory against the reconstituted Dallas team, whose team is once again composed of regularly contracted world champion players who have all crossed the picket line in order to ensure a playoff bid. Martel's prima donna behavior causes serious problems on the field during the Washington-Dallas game. When McGinty is questioned at half-time by a reporter about what the team would need to win, he replies: "Heart... miles and miles of heart." In addition to quoting "Heart" from Damn Yankees (which also takes place in Washington, D.C.), this is a veiled message to Falco, who is watching from home after being inexplicably cut from the team despite being the backup quarterback. McGinty had told Falco when he was informed about the switch to Martel that Falco had something Martel didn't have: heart. Falco makes it to the game before halftime ends, Martel is thrown out, and Falco leads the replacement team to victory. Though they are precluded from playing in the playoff spot they earned for the Sentinels, the replacement players are able to return to their lives with their heads held higher, knowing that they finally won their moment of glory.

There is a romantic subplot involving Shane Falco and Annabelle Farrell, the head cheerleader. Players and cheerleaders are not allowed to fraternize in professional football, but the temporary status of Shane's position on the team makes the point rather moot (as John Madden puts it, "Yeah, but what are they gonna do, fire him?"). Shane and Annabelle become friendly, then fall for one another. Shane has a date with Annabelle following the Phoenix game, but stands her up after being cut from the team in favor of Martel. When he returns to the team during the Dallas game, he apologizes to Annabelle and they rekindle their relationship at the end of the movie.


Replacement Sentinels

  • Nigel Gruff #3 (K) (Rhys Ifans) — A Welsh footballer (soccer player) and pub owner, nicknamed "The Leg" because he can kick a soccer ball (and later football) the entire length of the playing field. He also has a tendency to smoke on the field and has a crippling gambling addiction.
  • Shane Falco #16 (QB) (Keanu Reeves) — Former quarterback whose opportunities in football dried up after he choked during the 1996 Sugar Bowl during his senior year at Ohio State University. He was drafted by Seattle, where he was thrown into the pro spotlight with no preparation, when he should have been holding a clipboard. His professional career washed out soon afterwards. Falco was given the nickname "Footsteps" for his nervousness and fear of the blitz and pass rush. He now lives on a boat and earns his living scraping barnacles and other debris off the boats tied at the marina.
  • Walter Cochran #34 (RB) (Troy Winbush) — A firm believer in the power of the Lord. Cochran played one game in the pros and blew out his knee.
  • Earl Wilkinson aka "Ray Smith" #42 (CB) (Michael Jace) — A former star defensive back/kick returner with Minnesota serving a prison sentence for assaulting a police officer. He's allowed to play with the permission of the governor of Maryland.
  • Daniel "Danny" Bateman #56 (LB) (Jon Favreau) — A reserved, almost reticent man during normal interaction with people, but when placed in an adversarial situation, goes completely berserk, particularly if he sees the color red. Linebacker and defensive captain. He was a walk-on player at Michigan State and later a Gulf War veteran. Current member of the Washington D.C. SWAT team.
  • Jumbo Fumiko #68 (OT) (Ace Yonamine) — A Japanese sumo wrestler turned offensive tackle with a passion for food.
  • The Jackson Brothers — Brothers and former offensive linemen turned bodyguards for rapper ODB who only seem to excel when they play on the same team.
  • Clifford Franklin #81 (WR) (Orlando Jones) — A stockboy in a mini mart who can outrun anyone, but cannot catch anything.
  • Brian Murphy #86 (TE) (David Denman) — An excellent football player from Gallaudet University who would have been a first round draft pick had he not been born deaf.


  • Annabelle Farrell (Brooke Langton) — Head cheerleader for the Washington Sentinels and owner of a bar on 8th Street in Washington.
  • Heather (Sarah Ann Morris) — One of two strippers who come to try out for the Sentinels' cheerleading squad during the strike.
  • Dawn (Caroline Keenan) — The second of the two strippers who come to try out for the Sentinels' cheerleading squad during the strike.

Other characters

  • Edward O'Neil (Jack Warden) — Owner of the Washington Sentinels. O'Neil is the epitome of the double-talking, manipulative businessman who is only interested in accolades and doesn't think twice about reneging on a deal if it will earn him a more desirable result.
  • Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) — Former head coach of the Washington Sentinels. Once fired from his coaching job by O'Neil, he is asked back to coach the replacement players. Seeing this as an opportunity to put together his personal fantasy football team, McGinty offers his recruits a chance at glory and truly believes in his players.
  • Eddie Martel #7 (Brett Cullen) — Regular first-string quarterback for the Washington Sentinels.
  • Pilachowski and Banes (Gailard Sartain & Art LaFleur, respectively) — Jimmy McGinty's coaching staff. Skeptical about the replacement players, they nevertheless follow McGinty's recommendations and find ways to work with the ragtag group of players.
  • John Madden and Pat Summerall portray themselves, offering commentary on all the games.


M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens football team, was used as the Sentinels' stadium.

The movie was loosely based on the 1987 NFL strike, with the Washington Redskins, who won all three replacement games without any of their regular players, going on to win Super Bowl XXII at the end of the season.

The multiple-fumble touchdown for the Sentinels against the Phoenix team was based off of the real-life Holy Roller between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers in 1978. John Madden, who along with Pat Summerall played himself throughout the movie and was "calling" the Sentinels's touchdown in detail, was the head coach of the Raiders at the time of the Holy Roller play. The National Football League changed the rules for the 1979 NFL season only allowing the fumbling player to advance the ball on fourth down or on any play after the two-minute warning in either half. However, for entertainment purposes, the play in the movie was legal.

Breakdown of games

  • Pre-Strike Game — Miami Barracudas versus Washington Sentinels: Sentinels QB Eddie Martel could have run in for the winning score at the last second, but opted for sliding down before the goal line to avoid possibly getting hurt.
  • Game 1 — Detroit Ironmen versus Washington Sentinels: The Sentinels lose 14–10 after Falco disregards the play Coach McGinty calls in. Instead of a pass, he audibles to Cochran, because of his history of losing important games. Cochran then gets tackled at the one yard line.
  • Game 2 — San Diego Stallions versus Washington Sentinels: Sentinels win 17–16, with a little help from some quite distracting cheerleader dancing and a last second FG by Gruff. The team begins to develop chemistry on the field.
  • Game 3 — Washington Sentinels at Phoenix Scorpions: Washington's only road game. Sentinels win 22–21 by sheer luck... and a little stickum.
  • Game 4 — Dallas Ropers versus Washington Sentinels: The entire Dallas roster crossed the picket line so the replacement Sentinels have to play a team of full-time professionals. Sentinels win 20–17, coming back from a halftime score of 17–0, Dallas. Winning this game ensures that the Sentinels will have a slot in the playoffs.


The film opened at the third position at the North American box office making $11,039,214 USD in its opening weekend, behind Space Cowboys and Hollow Man which was on its second consecutive week at the top spot.


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