Everybody’s All-American (1988)

Everybody's All-American (1988)

Taglines: Their life story is a love story.

Louisiana football star Gavin Grey had it all. He was an All-American champion who married his high-school sweetheart, homecoming queen Babs Rogers, and who was a hero to his hometown. Yet after a failed professional career, Gavin realizes that fame and success have passed him by and that he no longer is the hero everyone keeps reminding him he should still be. His dissatisfaction with his life leads to strains in his marriage, and Gavin begins to wonder who he is, if he’s not a hero anymore.

Everybody’s All-American is a 1988 American sports drama film directed by Taylor Hackford and based on the novel Everybody’s All-American by longtime Sports Illustrated contributor Frank Deford. The film covers 25 years in the life of a college football hero. It stars Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange, Timothy Hutton and John Goodman.

About the Story

Gavin Grey (Dennis Quaid) is a 1950s star athlete known by the moniker “The Grey Ghost,” who plays football at a Louisiana university. His campus girlfriend Babs Rogers (Jessica Lange), nephew Donnie (Timothy Hutton) who also goes by the nickname “Cake,” and teammate Ed Lawrence (John Goodman) adore his personality and charm. During the Sugar Bowl game, Gavin’s play, defining his competitiveness throughout his career, causes a player from the opposing team to fumble the ball, which he returns to score a game-winning touchdown.

Everybody's All-American (1988)

As his college days come to an end, Gavin ends up marrying Babs, starts a family, and gets drafted by a professional football team. Lawrence opens a popular sports bar in Baton Rouge. Everyone is pleased for Gavin, including his friendly rival Narvel Blue (Carl Lumbly), who might have achieved professional stardom had he chosen an athletic career path.

Reality quickly sets in for Gavin as life in the NFL is difficult, competition fierce, and the schedule grueling. Gavin is a respectable running back for the Washington Redskins, but hardly the idol worshipped by everyone back home during his school years. Concurrently, Lawrence has accrued a number of gambling debts. He is later murdered amid an episode of organized crime, creating more debts for Gavin and Babs, who had invested in Lawrence’s business.

Babs does her best to keep up with her husband’s career and mood swings, and in doing so inherits the role of the wage earner in their household. A sympathetic Donnie finds her frustrated and lonely, as his lifetime attraction to her brings them together for a brief extramarital affair. Gavin’s financial setbacks encourage Babs to seek a job from Narvel to manage his restaurant.

Everybody's All-American Movie Poster (1988)

Everybody’s All-American (1988)

Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, Timothy Hutton, John Goodman, Carl Lumbly, Ray Baker, Savannah Smith Boucher, Patricia Clarkson, Wayne Knight, Shawn Burks
Screenplay by: Thomas Rickman
Production Design by: Joe Alves
Cinematography by: Stephen Goldblatt
Film Editing by: Don Zimmerman
Costume Design by: Theadora Van Runkle
Set Decoration by: Rosemary Brandenburg
Art Direction by: George Jenson
Music by: James Newton Howard
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: November 4, 1988