North Dallas Forty (1979)
You want authentic pigskin? This is the uncured stuff and it wasnt NFL-certified. Peter Gent, who wrote the best-selling novel about the computerized Cowboys of the 70s, played for Dallas, and his themes (violence, fear, drugs, manipulation, hypocrisy) still resonate. Theres pieces of me scattered from here to Pittsburgh, observes Nick Noltes battered ballcatcher, whose Monday breakfast is painkillers and beer. The cast is flavored with multiple pro players, most notably John Matuszak, whose locker-room rant is riveting. Every time I call it a game, you say its a business, the Tooz tells an assistant coach. Every time I say its a business, you call it a game. - John Powers
Nick Nolte (center), Mac Davis (right), and a cast of NFL players brought pain and grit to "North Dallas Forty."