Bonnie Petrie

Best Sports Movies: ‘The Big Green’ Tackles Growing Up, Good Sportmanship

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The Big Green (1995) ★★★★★

Comedy Movies | Family Movies | Movies Made in Texas | Soccer Movies
Rated PG, 100 mins. running time
Director: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Starring:  Steve Guttenberg, Olivia d’Abo, Jay O. Sanders
Caravan Pictures (defunct, 1999), Walt Disney Pictures

The Big Green - Caravan Pictures Walt Disney Pictures

Miss Anna Montgomery (Olivia d’Abo) introduces a team of underperforming Texas students to soccer in “The Big Green.” (Credit: Caravan Pictures, 1995)

Two things Disney has always done very well: champion the underdog in both its characters and its audience, and encapsulate adolescence with humor and drama. “The Big Green” chronicles the launch of a school soccer program in rural Texas, where a ragtag bunch of underprivileged students learns to believe in themselves and in their future.

When British import Anna Montgomery (Olivia d’Abo, of TV’s “The Wonder Years”) moves to Elma, she turns the lives of her struggling students upside down as they embrace the sport together.

Employing the help of Sheriff Tom Palmer (Steve Guttenberg, of “Police Academy” and TV’s “Veronica Mars”) for comedic foil, “The Big Green” tackles a lot of heavy topics which are especially relevant today, including unemployment, alcoholism and immigration.

The film illustrates good values for kids, including good sportsmanship, the importance of believing in yourself and the power of friendship.

“The Big Green” is a winning film for families with elementary-aged kids and above, and general audiences.

Watch “The Big Green” Trailer

Interesting Facts About “The Big Green”

  • The movie was filmed in five Texas towns, including Austin, Dale, Elgin, Pflugerville, and Taylor.
  • The movie’s setting of Elma, Texas does not exist. It is fictional.
  • Anthony Esquivel, who portrayed Juan Morales, the son of a Mexican immigrant facing potential deportation, went on to excel in soccer in real life. He is now assistant coach for men’s soccer at Furman University, in South Carolina.
  • The film was also released in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain, nations in which soccer is widely celebrated.

“The Big Green” Soundtrack

Elton Ahi served as a consultant on the film’s score. The soundtrack to “The Big Green” features the following songs:

  • “I Believe In You”
    Written by Richard Rudolph and Michael Sembello
    Performed by Niki Harris
    Niki Haris appears courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Music
    Written by Richard Rudolph and Michael Sembello
    Performed by Michael Sembello
    Written by Richard Rudolph and Michael Sembello
    Performed by Jeff Paris and The Immigrants
    Written by Sammy Llanas (as Sam Llanas) and Kurt Neumann
    Performed by BoDeans
    Courtesy of Slash/Warner Bros.
    By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
    Written and Performed by Alexi Lalas
    Courtesy of SportsNet, Inc.
    Written and Performed by Willie Nelson
    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
    Written and Performed by Richard Mikuls
    Courtesy of Carrie A Melody Records

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