Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Did The Real Rudy Make A Cameo In The Movie?

Sports films can be a very hit-or-miss affair, but when they hit, there are few genres better equipped to fill the hearts of viewers with joy — while sometimes filling their eyes with tears. For the record, 1993's based-on-true-events football drama "Rudy" is one of the genre's biggest hits. Sure, the film only managed to take in $22 million in its theatrical release (per Box Office Mojo), but in the sports film genre, success cannot be measured purely in dollars and cents. And in the almost three decades since its release, "Rudy" has not only become one of the best-loved sports flicks ever made; its propensity for bringing grown men to tears is also virtually unparalleled in the realm of cinema. 

If you've yet to shed a tear of your own over the film, "Rudy" tells the incredible true story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a "five-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing" nobody from small-town Indiana who, by sheer will and steadfast determination, achieved his all but impossible dream of suiting up and playing for the storied University of Notre Dame football team in the 1970s. Penned by Angelo Pizzo, and directed with unabashed earnestness by his "Hoosiers" collaborator David Anspaugh, "Rudy" pit a never better Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) as the titular dreamer, surrounding him with a killer cast including Jon Favreau, Charles S. Dutton, Lili Taylor, and Ned Beatty. But did the real-life Rudy make a cameo, as many subjects of biopics often do in those films?

The real Rudy made a brief cameo in the film about his life

Daniel Ruettiger does make a cameo in "Rudy," and it comes in the thrilling closing minutes of the film. To fully grasp its importance, we're gonna need to get a little spoiler-y and set the mood. So if you've yet to see "Rudy" and fully intend to, you should probably stop reading.

Now, regarding the beyond emotional final minutes of "Rudy," they're fit to bring tears to the eye of even the most hardened of cynics. That's because they depict in vivid splendor Rudy's dream being fulfilled as the ambitious footballer not only gets to take the field with the team he'd worked so hard to be a part of but actually gets into the game in its final seconds. He even logs a quarterback sack before being carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates as the entire stadium chants his name. 

Liberties were, of course, taken in bringing this moment to life, but for the most part, it's all accurate. And yes, the action unfolds as his disbelieving father (Beatty), a lifelong Notre Dame fan himself, watches from the stands. Per Mental Floss, if you freeze-frame on those cutaways of the Ruettiger family cheering Rudy on in the film, you'll get a clear shot of the real Rudy cheering along just behind them in a blue winter coat with a fluffy lapel. As far as cameos go, it's a minor one, to say the least. But given the emotion of the moment, it's very cool that Rudy himself got to re-live it.