I’m a Cleveland Browns fan. Pitiful isn’t it? I observed the old Browns stolen and moved to Baltimore by that schmuckster of an owner, Art Modell. As a Browns' fan I’ve endured the sad state of affairs that the new Browns brought to the deforested city. The kind of football played by the new Browns has been insulting to the memory of the two most famous Browns, (Coach) Paul and Jimmy.
The Express is a movie that captures some of the best of the historical, rather than the present hysterical, Browns. The Express is the tragic, yet inspirational, story of what was and what could have been in the 1960s with two great former Syracuse University backs in the same backfield. The Cleveland Browns were so impressed with Ernie Davis and so desired to have these two be a powerful one-two punch that they traded a great wide receiver, Bobby Mitchell, for the rights to draft Davis. Davis was the first black Heisman Trophy winner while at Syracuse University in 1961.
Growing up in Cleveland during the 60s Davis was just a name to me. I did not follow the Browns all that closely and didn’t understand what an outstanding person and player Davis was in college. Everyone knew about Jim Brown’s exploits both on and off the field. The movie version of Brown was quite tame.
It is hard to imaging that it has been almost 50 years since Davis was picked number one in the 1962 NFL draft. Jim Brown helped to recruit Davis to Syracuse. Syracuse Coach Ben Schwartzwalder was a big influence on Ernie Davis’ life.
I rate the movie **** out of *****. Above all, it was based on a true story of a 23 year old black athlete’s life and death. His life was cut short by a devastating disease. But the man achieved some great accomplishments during his short life. There were challenges on the football field and off the field. He was the brunt of intense racial hatred that still stirred openly, especially in the South. The obstacles he faced and overcame were well depicted and displayed in the move.
I recommend this movie to every Browns fan and everyone who loves an inspiring story of courage, fortitude, loyalty and dedication. This movie should be available in rental stores or in public libraries.