Release date: October 3, 2008
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown, Nelsan Ellis
Directed by: Gary Fleder
Writers: Scott Williams, Jeffrey Lieber, Charles Leavitt, John Lee Hancock
Based on the Book "Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express" by: Robert Gallagher
Produced by: John Davis
Executive Producers: Ezra Swerdlow, Derek Dauchy
Based on the incredible true story, The Express follows the inspirational life of college football hero Ernie Davis (Rob Brown), the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Following his draft by the NFL, tragedy struck the star athlete and he was never able to take the professional field. But his tale would forever change the face of professional sports.
Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania coal-mining country, Davis overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to become an unstoppable running back for the Syracuse Orangemen. Under the guidance of coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid)--a hard-nosed surrogate father with an obsession for winning a national championship--Davis would develop from an impressive high-school athlete into a legend.
While everyone agreed Ernie Davis was a miracle player, few thought this quiet young man would become an icon for the burgeoning civil rights movement dividing America in the early 1960s. Refusing to play by the unspoken racist rules of the day, Davis broke through one barrier after another to alter the way fans looked at men of his color.
Though leukemia struck the player a terrible blow in the prime of his life, his spirit soared when most would crumble. Forcing his bull-headed coach to re-examine a life lived in color-based privilege, Davis would join the ranks of black pioneers who inspired a movement that smashed barriers on and off the playing field.