North Dallas Forty gives true picture of what football was like in 1970s

North Dallas Forty gives true picture of what football was like in 1970s

During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.

North Dallas Forty (1979)

Rated R

Streaming: Amazon Prime

If you ever wondered what professional football truly was like in its wild-west heyday of the 1970s, seek out this acclaimed dramedy adaption of former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Peter Gent’s best-selling satirical novel of the same name.

Nick Nolte (younger readers might remember him as “Blue Chips” coach Pete Bell) portrays battered and aging pass-catcher Phil Elliott, who has become increasingly dependent on pain-killers and booze — and combatant with coaches and front-office types — as his skills and health have deteriorated in the waning days of his career.

Directed by Ted Kotcheff (“First Blood”), the football scenes aren’t necessarily as intricate or high-def quality as latter-day football entries such as Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday.”

Still, “North Dallas Forty” wasn’t intended to be a traditional sports flick as much as an examination of the cold business side of the game and its institutional pressures, especially during that era, when the paychecks usually weren’t commensurate with the pain these disposable players endured.

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