Watch 12 Mighty Orphans
- 1 hr 58 min
"12 Mighty Orphans" is a heartfelt and inspiring sports drama based on the true story of a group of orphans who become a high school football team in Depression-era Texas. The film stars Luke Wilson as Rusty Russell, an innovative football coach who comes to the Masonic Home and School for orphans in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1927. Rusty is determined to teach the boys more than just football â he wants to instill in them a sense of purpose, teamwork, and self-respect.
The film begins with a young Rusty Russell telling his mentor, legendary football coach Amos Stagg (played by Martin Sheen), about his dream of coaching a team made up of orphans. Several years later, Rusty gets his chance when he is hired as the football coach at the Masonic Home. There, he meets a group of boys who have been through tough times and have little hope for their futures. Rusty sees potential in the boys and decides to form a football team, even though the school has never had one before.
The team is made up of just 12 boys, hence the name "12 Mighty Orphans". They are all scrappy and undersized, but Rusty believes they can be champions if they work hard and trust each other. He teaches them his innovative offensive strategy, which involves using the forward pass as a primary weapon. The boys are initially skeptical of Rusty's methods, but as they start to win games, they gain confidence in themselves and their coach.
The film also introduces us to several other characters, including Vinessa Shaw as Juanita Russell, Rusty's wife who is a nurse at the Masonic Home. Wayne Knight plays Frank Wynn, a wealthy businessman who becomes a benefactor to the team, providing them with uniforms, equipment, and even a bus to travel to games. Frank is also a mentor to Rusty, helping him navigate the politics and challenges of coaching in a conservative Texas town.
As the season progresses, the Mighty Orphans face various obstacles, both on and off the field. They play against bigger and more experienced teams, and some of the boys struggle with personal issues such as addiction and abusive backgrounds. Rusty must also deal with detractors who question his methods and his motives. The film does not shy away from the harsh realities of the time, including racism, poverty, and corruption.
Despite the challenges, Rusty and the boys persevere. They win several games and attract the attention of the media and the public. The film builds up to the championship game against reigning state champions, the Poly Panthers. The game is played in front of a record crowd at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and the Mighty Orphans face their toughest test yet.
"12 Mighty Orphans" is a moving and inspiring film that celebrates the power of sports to bring people together and overcome adversity. It is a tribute to the real-life Mighty Mites, who defied the odds and captured the hearts of a nation during a difficult time in history. The film is beautifully shot and features strong performances by the entire cast, including Luke Wilson in one of his best roles to date. It is a must-see for fans of football, history, and uplifting stories.
12 Mighty Orphans is a 2021 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 44.