Friday Night Lights


1h 57m 2004

Brief Synopsis

As darkness descends over the flatlands of West Texas, every Friday EVENING, from September through December, a dazzling, disorienting glow, visible on the stark horizon for miles around, ignites the blackened sky. Looming over the landscape, Ratliff Stadium, the country's biggest high school football field, overflows with 20,000 spectators, their voices raised in the trademark chant: "MO-JO! MO-JO! MO-JO!" The crowd's jubilation rises to a fever pitch as the Permian Panthers--Odessa's "boys in black"--take to the field like warriors in an ancient coliseum. Once a week during the fall, this town and its dreams are carried on the padded shoulders of these young gridiron heroes. The exalted players are illuminated beneath the autumnal glare of those Friday night lights; the radiant glare serves as a beacon of hope to the townsfolk of this dusty West Texas town. Since their first season in 1959, the Panthers established themselves as the most successful football program, not only in Texas, but in the entire country. Now, in the last days of summer of 1988, the Permian High School Panthers begin the season with one thing on their minds--winning their fifth straight championship in their thirty-year team history. For their coach, Gary Gaines, it all comes down to his definition of perfection: "Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know you didn't let them down. I want you to put each other in your hearts forever--because forever is about to happen. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, with love and joy in your heart? If you can do that, then you're perfect."

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Sports
Adaptation
Release Date
Oct 8, 2004
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 6 Oct 2004
Production Company
Imagine Entertainment; Universal Pictures
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Odessa, Texas, USA; Austin, Texas, United States; Houston--Astrodome, Texas, United States; Odessa, Texas, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H. G. Bissinger (Reading, MA, 1990).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Synopsis

In Odessa, Texas in August of 1988, the Permian High School Panthers football team, headed by Coach Gary Gaines, is under intense pressure to reach and win the state championship. All of Odessa is focused on high school football, showering the team with money, attention, devotion and the concurrent obligation to win at all costs. As pre-season begins, the team is confident, despite the players' overall small size, because of the skill of their star tailback, James "Boobie" Miles. Boobie, arrogant and charismatic, sees football as his ticket out of small-town Texas, and basks in his many college scholarship offers. Even the team's practices are crowded with talent scouts and fans, including Boobie's adoring uncle L. V. and Charles Billingsley, the father of starting tailback Don. Charlie is a former champion Panther who is disappointed in what he sees as his son's inability to stand up to pressure. After one uninspired practice, Don brings a girl home, where his drunken father duct-tapes a football to his hands and beats him. The team's talented quarterback, Mike Winchell, is shy and insecure despite his skill, and is further hampered by his dedication to his chronically ill mother. The man under the most scrutiny, however, is Gaines, who knows he will be forced to move out of town if the team does not succeed, and who stoically accepts the "advice" and vague threats of the town's rabid fans. The whole town attends the first Friday night game, during which Boobie dominates. When they have a comfortable lead, Gaines replaces Boobie with second-string, junior tailback Chris Comer, but the rookie cannot find his helmet and so Gaines returns Boobie to the field. When Boobie is hit, he crumbles, and although the doctor fears he has torn a ligament, an injury that would keep him from playing and possibly ruin his entire future in football, Gaines tells the team not to worry. Without Boobie, the team loses the next game 49-6, and the fans, who blame the coach for Boobie's injury, admonish him to come up with a new plan to win. Gaines exhorts Mike, who feels acutely the burden of fame, to put aside the anxiety of caring for his mother and "get the job done," promising him that if he accepts the challenge, he can be exceptional. The team next plays Cooper, and although at first the rival team advances, when Comer gets the ball, he proves to be a lightning-fast runner and invigorates his teammates. After the win, Boobie goes to the Midland hospital, where he refuses to accept the doctor's recommendation that he recuperate further, and instead lies to Gaines that he is capable of playing. The next game is against arch-rival Midland Lee, and if the Panthers win, they will go on to the state championship playoffs. When Midland is winning by seven with only minutes to go, Gaines bows to coercion and puts Boobie in the game, but the boy is immediately tackled and collapses in pain, his knee crushed. The team rallies under Mike's direction, but they lose in the last seconds. On the way home, Charlie drunkenly kicks out the car windows, excoriates his son and tosses his championship ring out of the car. At the same time, Mike tells Gaines that he feels cursed, and the coach replies that all curses are self-imposed. Because there is a three-way tie for first place, Permian, Cooper and Midland hold a tense coin toss to determine which two teams will go on the playoffs, and Cooper loses. The next morning, Charlie apologizes to Don, explaining that he knows firsthand that this year of glory is all there is to life. Don hands his father his ring and walks away in silence. Soon after, Boobie collects his gear from the locker room, and although he affects his customary cocky attitude, in the car with L. V. he breaks down, sobbing that football is all he has. Permian enters the playoffs, and as they win each game on their roster, so does Dallas-Carter, an all-black, powerhouse of a team. When the two teams are ready to compete for the championship, the coaches gather to discuss the logistics, and the Dallas managers, concerned about racial tension, insist on a neutral stadium and a mixed-race referee staff. They agree to play in the Houston Astrodome, and as the bus leaves to drive there, Boobie arrives, on crutches, and asks to accompany them. The game, which for most of the players marks the climax and conclusion of their football careers, begins, with Dallas taking an early lead. The burly players dominate the Panthers, who return to the locker room for halftime. There, Ivory Christian, typically a quiet, religious boy, delivers a rousing speech, after which Gaines announces that his constant admonition to be "perfect" refers not to whether or not they win but whether or not they extend their strongest effort. Entreating them to think of Boobie, Gaines tells the boys that they are in his heart. The team returns to the field with renewed vigor, lead by a dynamic Mike. A series of spectacular plays put the winning touchdown in their grasp, and with two minutes to go, they move the ball to a mere four inches from the end zone. Gaines calls a special play and Mike, who has been hit repeatedly by Dallas' defense, struggles to maintain his strength. The entire audience rises to their feet when Mike takes control of the ball and scrambles down the field. As the bell signals the end of the game, he lunges for the end zone, missing by inches. The team, as well as the town, is devastated. On the field, Charlie embraces his son, slipping his championship ring onto Don's finger. The next day, as the boys gather their gear and take their final leave of the Permian locker room, Gaines begins to prepare the next year's football roster, unaware that the 1989 team, led by Comer, will have an undefeated season and take the state championship trophy.

Cast

Billy Bob Thornton

Coach [Gary] Gaines

Lucas Black

Mike Winchell

Garrett Hedlund

Don Billingsley

Derek Luke

[James] Boobie Miles

Jay Hernandez

Brian Chavez

Lee Jackson

Ivory Christian

Lee Thompson Young

Chris Comer

Tim Mcgraw

Charles Billingsley

Grover Coulson

L. V. Miles

Connie Britton

Sharon Gaines

Connie Cooper

Mrs. Winchell

Kasey Stevens

Flippy

Ryanne Duzich

Melissa

Amber Heard

Maria

Morgan Farris

Jennifer Gaines

Laine Kelly

Comer's girlfriend

Gavin Grazer

Trapper

Turk Pipkin

Skip Baldwin

Dr. Carey Windler

Dr. Rogers

Tommy G. Kendrick

Odessa doctor

Brad Leland

John Aubrey

Lillian Langford

Nancy Aubrey

Christian Kane

Brian

Buddy Hale

Booster

Ken Farmer

Booster

Marco Perella

Booster

Eloise Dejoria

Booster

Robert Weaver

Booster

Katherine Willis

Booster wife

Angie Bolling

Booster wife

Charles Sanders

Buddy's Burgers manager

Barry Sykes

Permian play-by-play announcer

Clay Kennedy

Permian color announcer

Lewis B. Johnson

Carter play-by-play announcer

J. D. Hawkins

Carter play-by-play announcer

B. T. Stone

Slammin' Sammy

Wade L. Johnston

Coach Miller

Rick Herod

Coach McCutcheon

Paul Mitchell Wright

Coach Belew

Julius Tennon

Coach James

Dennis Hill

Coach Harper

Timothy Walter

Coach Vonner

Robert Scott Smith

Coach Smith

Kenneth Plunk

Coach Plunk

Josh Berry

Coach Campbell

Branson Washburn

Coach Washburn

David Johnson

Coach Johnson

John Hayden

Permian booth coach

Chris Palmer

Permian booth coach

Kyle Scott Jackson

Carter booth coach

C. Anthony "charles" Jackson

Carter booth coach

Kippy Brown

Carter booth coach

Cleveland "chick" Harris

Carter booth coach

Billy Melvin Thomas

Carter assistant coach

Kammerin Hunt

Carter assistant coach

Roy Williams

Midland Lee assistant coach

Gary Mack Griffin

Marshall High School coach

Randy Brinlee

Marshall game referee

Dan Rankin

Cooper game end zone official

Tim Crowley

Carter game referee

Harvey L. Jeffries

Carter game official

Tiki Davis

Carter co-captain, Baird

Everett Smith

Carter quarterback, Whitaker

Ty Law

Carter wide receiver, Graf

Chris Dahlberg

Clancy Kent

Peter Harrell Jr.

C. C. Russeau

Kevin Page

John Wilkins

Brady Coleman

Jerald McClary

Stephen Bishop

Loie Harris

Bob Richardson

Marvin Edwards

Mark Donaldson

State trooper

Aisha Schliessler

Cheerleader

Evan Bernard

Drunk driver

Rutherford Cravens

Kansas Wesleyan recruiter

Wayne Hanawalt

Kansas Wesleyan recruiter

Brian Thornton

Recruiter

Sam Austin

Recruiter

Mark Nutter

Recruiter

Jeff Gibbs

Journalist Jim

Richard Dillard

Reporter

Robert Flores

Reporter

Terry Parks

Skip Baldwin's cameraman

Talon Smith

Young kid

Taylor Sawyers

Young kid

Bradley Lisman

Young kid

Richard Nance

Buzzard

Aaron Babino

Dean Baldwin

Ben Bronson

Sunny Byrd

John Clark

Bobby Doherty

Chris Fisher

Cedric Foster

Corey Hargers

Tavis Harvey

Deshaun Hill

Ryan Jacobs

Nick Jester

Mike Jones

Tyrone Jones

Mark Llewellyn

Jon Luke

O. J. Mcclintock

Robert Nguyen

Joseph Norman

Dewayne Patmon

Everick Rawls

Brett Robin

Steven Rogers

Ray Ross

Chad L. Stevens

Travis Thompson

Matt Trissel

Brandon Tully

Darrick Wallace

Tim O'connell

Football trainer

Derek Graf

Football player

H. G. Bissinger

Skybox booster

James "boobie" Miles

Permian sideline coach

Crew

Daniel Dalton Akers

Compositor

Dave Alexander

Composer

Kyle Alexander

Sound prod Assistant

Sally Allen

Extras casting

Peter Amundson

Addl Editor

Troy Anderson

Rigging Electrician

Craig Anthony

Set Costume

John Arszyla

Medic

Ronald Asheton

Composer

Scott Asheton

Composer

Sarah Aubrey

Co-producer

Marc Baird

Storyboard artist

Mateo Barnstone

Assistant loc Manager

Tony Barraza

Compositor

Roger Basquette

Video assist

Ronn Basquette

Set Design

Stephen F. Beasley

Electrician

Peter Berg

Screenwriter

Lee Berger

Executive prod [visual eff]

David Bernardi

Associate Producer

Richard Berry

Composer

Patrick Blackard

Dolly grip, 2d unit

James Bluma

VFX Editor

Matt Boatright-simon

Roto/Paint artist

Jo Edna Boldin

Casting, Texas

Peter Borck

Art Director

Jennifer Bourne

Lead roto artist

Brigitte Bourque

Compositor

Jon Brannstrom

Composer

Julian Bratolyubov

Music preparation

Troy Breeding

Head makeup artist

Toni Cobb Brock

Extras casting

Richard Buoen

Storyboard artist

Jacenda Burkett

2d makeup artist

Gary Burritt

Negative cutter

John Bush

Set Dresser

John Cameron

Unit Production Manager

John Cameron

Executive Producer

David Campbell

Orchestration

Murray K. Campbell

Gaffer, 2d unit

Chelsey M. Carpenter

Hairstylist

Ean Carr

Compositor

Douglas Carter

Set prod Assistant, 2d unit

Dwight Cary

Transportation capt, 2d unit

Jeffrey Castel De Oro

Compositor

Rusty Chambers

Craft service, 2d unit

Layne Chaney

Rigging grip

Lance Cheatham

Set Dresser

Audrey Chon

Assistant to Mr. Whitaker

Cheryl Clarson

Rigging Electrician

Peter Clarson

Rigging gaffer

Dennis Clay

Dolly grip

George Clinton Jr.

Composer

David Aaron Cohen

Screenwriter

Timothy E. Cole

Rigging grip

Dennis Collins

[Paint] gangboss

Jack Colmenero

Set Dresser

Larry Comans

Boom Operator

Logan Cooper

Assistant loc Manager

Tim Crowley

Set prod Assistant, 2d unit

April Crump

Set Dresser

Sheri Cruz

Roto/Paint artist

Carla Curry

Set Decoration

Michele Cusick

Set prod Assistant

Jai Dadlani

Compositor

Bobby Dall

Composer

Eric R. Damazio

Grip

Payal Dani

Compositor

David Daniel

Sound mixer, 2d unit

Debbi Datz-pyle

Music contractor

Thadd Day

Cable/Utility

Yann Delpuech

Effects Editor

Shanti Delsarte

Prod Coordinator

John Dj Desjardin

On-set VFX Supervisor

C. C. Deville

Composer

Sean Devine

Dolly grip

Drew Dillard

Loc scout

Patricia Dillon

Set Dresser

Carol F. Doran

Wig stylist

Becki Drake

Key makeup artist

Stephen Drake

Rigging grip

William Drayton

Composer

Tiffany Lynn Drucker

Set prod Assistant

Pauline Wu Duvall

Compositor

Lynne Eagan

Makeup artist for Mr. Thornton/Mr. McGraw

Thom Ehle

Dolby Sound consultant

Barrett Elkins

Stunts

Derrick Espino

Sound prod Assistant

Marcia Evers

Costumes

Explosions In The Sky

Original Music

Fred Fassert

Composer

Gregory Faucett

Transportation capt

Ginna Faulkner

Set prod Assistant

John Claude Fedrick

Office prod Assistant

Elizabeth Finch

Orchestration

Tommy Fine

Foreman

Joe Fisk

Craft service

Christopher Fitzgerald

ADR rec

Cliff Fleming

Helicopter pilot

Jim Flynn

Assistant Editor

Melissa Forney

Key hairstylist

Cedric Foster

Stunt double for Derek Luke

Preston Foster

Composer

Bruce Fowler

Orchestration

Walt Fowler

Orchestration

Douglas Fox

Props Master

Chris Frazee

Boom op, 2d unit

Mike Frevert

Compositor

Robbie Friedmann

Loc Manager

Brian Fuller

Accounting Assistant

Will Gallagher

Loc scout

Courtnee Garcia

Stunts

Sonia L. Garcia

Standby painter

Erick Garibay

Props Assistant

Bill Georgiou

Compositor

Karen Ruth Getchell

Prod Supervisor

Billy F. Gibbons

Composer

Shellie Gillespie

Art Department Coordinator

Sanford Gilzow

Rigging grip

Stan Ginsel

Loc projectionist

Gary Glitter

Composer

Lisa Goldberg

Visual Effects Supervisor

Kayse Goodell

Set prod Assistant, 2d unit

Dwayne Grady

Props Assistant

Allan Graf

Stunt Coordinator

Allan Graf

2d unit Director/[Football coord]

Derek Graf

Stunts

Robert Graf

Co-producer

Gina Grande

Script Supervisor

Brian Grazer

Producer

Don Greenberg

Inferno artist

Robert Grieve

ADR Editor

Joe Grisaffi

Extras casting

Kurt Grossi

Key grip

Steven Guerrero

Grip

Kit Gwin

Casting Associate, Texas

Mark Hadland

Best boy Electrician

Shepard Hall

Editor prod Assistant

Bill Ham

Composer

Chris Hamala

Grip

David Hampton

Office prod Assistant

David Shawn Harper

Assistant video

Dana Hart

Costume Supervisor

Jeffrey B. Hartman

Set Dresser

Eric Harwood

Dubbing rec

Richard Hebben

Craft service, 2d unit

Eric Heffron

1st Assistant Director

John Heller

Lead compositor/Inferno artist

Craig Henighan

Co-Supervisor Sound Editor

Eric Henshaw

Greens gangboss

Veronica Hernandez

Roto/Paint artist

Rob Hicks

Rigging grip

Ryan Hintz

2d Assistant accountant

Shweta Hirani

Compositor

Janet Hirshenson

Casting

Mike Hitch

Transportation co-capt

Richard Hollander

Sr. VFX Supervisor

Mark Hopper

Roto/Paint artist

Jennifer Ann Howard

Compositor

Don Howe Jr.

Camera loader

Jeff Howison

Electrician, 2d unit

Christopher Hrasky

Composer

Joey Hudgins

Assistant loc Manager

Jason Hunt

Stunts

Patrick D. Hurd

Digital FX Coordinator

Roy Huth

Set Dresser

Victor Ignatiev

Equipment Manager

Joel Iwataki

Music rec & mixed

Lynn James

Costume prod Assistant

Michael Aaron James

Composer

Jane Jenkins

Casting

Boysie Jereza

Payroll accountant

John Johns

24 frame playback

Marvin Jones

Roto/Paint artist

Richard Jory

Music rec

Doug Juhn

Mont Designer

Emmet Kane

Special Effects Coordinator

Kathy Kaplan

Office prod Assistant

Perry Kass

Compositor

Francis Keao

Assistant to Mr. Berg

Matt Kelly

Compositor

Nell Kennedy

Prod Secretary

Kathy Kiatta

Key Costume

Darren King

Dial Editor

Gregory King

Supervisor Sound ed/Re-rec mixer

Matthew King

2d Assistant Camera

Karen Klein

Roto/Paint artist

Rick Kline

Re-rec mixer

John Knight

Key grip, 2d unit

Peter Kolb

Rigging key grip

Goro Koyama

Foley artist

Gene Kozicki

Digital prod Manager

Mukesh Kumar

Compositor

Cheryl Kurk

Prod accountant

Lisa Kurk

Accounting Assistant

Hoiyue Harry Lam

Compositing Supervisor

Matt Langley

Accounting Assistant

Bill Lanier

Office prod Assistant, 2d unit

Daniel Lanois

Composer

Dwight Lavers

Dolly grip

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Sports
Adaptation
Release Date
Oct 8, 2004
Premiere Information
World premiere in Los Angeles: 6 Oct 2004
Production Company
Imagine Entertainment; Universal Pictures
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Odessa, Texas, USA; Austin, Texas, United States; Houston--Astrodome, Texas, United States; Odessa, Texas, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H. G. Bissinger (Reading, MA, 1990).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Other than the title, all of the credits appear at the end of the film. The initial cast list differs in order from the cast/character list. The picture begins with the written statement: "The following is based on a true story which took place in West Texas in 1988." Voice-over commentary by radio announcers, hosts and guests is interspersed throughout the film. The picture ends with subtitles explaining the future careers of the film's major characters, noting that Brian Chavez went to Harvard and became a lawyer; Don Billingsley remained close with his father and became an insurance salesman in Dallas; Ivory Christian received a football scholarship and went on to work as a truck driver; James "Boobie" Miles played football in junior college and settled in Texas with his twins; and Mike Winchell played football for a year at Baylor University, then became a surveyer.
       Although all other sources list the running time as 117 minutes, New York Times lists 105 minutes. The credits include the written statement: "In memory of Alan J. Pakula." Pakula (1928-1998), who was originally set to direct Friday Night Lights, began his film career as a producer on pictures such as To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962 (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). Later, he directed several award-winning films, including All the President's Men (1976) and Sophie's Choice (1982). He died on November 19, 1998, when a piece of metal tore through the windshield of his car. The end credits thank numerous people and institutions, including the Texas Film Commission, Austin Film Commission, city of Odessa and Permian High School. An end credit for Friday Night Lights states that the film's soundtrack is available on Hip-O Records/UMG Soundtracks.
       H. G. Bissinger's book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, was published in 1990 and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks. It was later named by Sports Illustrated as the greatest football story ever told. Bissinger, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, spent a year in Odessa tracking the Permian High School football season and becoming part of the community. He then took six months to organize the book before beginning to write. The book frankly portrayed the racial and class issues in the community and the fact that the coach made more money than the principal and the local school district budgeted more money for football medical supplies than for the entire English department. As a result, as Publishers Weekly reported in December 1990, Bissinger received death threats and was forced to cancel some personal appearances in Texas. The New York Times critic wrote, "In his telling Odessa proves to be a symbol of almost everything wrong with sports in America."
       As stated in studio press materials, upon the book's publication, Pakula's former assistant, Tova Laiter, introduced the property to Imagine Entertainment producer Brian Grazer. Grazer pitched the film to Universal, which acquired the book rights. The project then underwent years of complications, with numerous directors and writers attached at different times. On November 7, 1990, Daily Variety announced that Pakula would direct and produce the film and mentioned David Ward as a possible screenwriter and Sam Shepard as a star. David Aaron Cohen wrote a script for Pakula that was eventually used as the basis for the final film. According to a September 2004 Los Angeles Times article, Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), which was also set in rural Texas, was Cohen's inspiration.
       In 1994, Brian Levant worked on another screenplay adaptation, planning to direct it, but according to a November 2003 Los Angeles Times article, "the studio eventually cooled on Levant's version." By February 1996, Hollywood Reporter stated that Jon Avnet would direct the picture, with Pakula as executive producer. The Los Angeles Times piece added that Billy Ray wrote a script with Avnet. However, Daily Variety noted in September 1996 that Universal Pictures had shelved the project, which was "now looking for a new home." On August 15, 1997, a Daily Variety article stated that Richard Linklater was in negotiations to re-write and direct. Daily Variety noted in May 2002 that after Linklater wrote a script, booked locations and cast football players, Universal "pulled the plug." Then in 1999, director Ted Demme was briefly attached to the film, but his death in 2001 once again delayed the project.
       In late July 2003, as noted in Variety, Grazer hired Peter Berg to co-write and direct. The Los Angeles Times article detailed Grazer's initial reluctance to hire Berg, who had turned down previous opportunities to work with Imagine. After Berg asserted his commitment, however, Bissinger, to whom the book rights had since reverted, agreed to a new deal with Imagine. Berg and Bissinger are second cousins and close friends. Berg noted in press materials that Bissinger had showed him the book in galley form before publication, and that as a result Berg had campaigned for years to be allowed to direct the film version. He stated in press materials that his "take on this film is football is combat and these guys are warriors."
       Berg traveled to Odessa every weekend shooting football footage and getting to know the townspeople. At his behest, some scenes were shot at Permian High School, including at the school's Ratliff Stadium. Most of the film was eventually shot on location in Texas, including in Odessa, Austin and the Houston Astrodome.
       According to the 2004 Los Angeles Times article, the role of Coach Gary Gaines was originally offered to Tom Hanks. Billy Bob Thornton, who played Gaines, drew from the experiences of his father, who had been a high school basketball coach. Lucas Black, who played "Mike Winchell," had earlier been directed by Thornton in Swing Blade and All the Pretty Horses.... Berg hired James "Boobie" Miles, one of the football players whose story was told in Friday Night Lights, to play a sideline coach in the film. The film's pressbook notes that Miles was present for the filming of the scene that recreated the most important moment of his life, in which he broke his knee during a game and saw his football career ruined. Lee Jackson made his feature film debut in Friday Night Lights as Christian.
       Out of a pool of 960 applicants, second unit director and former USC football player Allan Graf picked 260 to participate in a three-day tryout camp in January 2004. He eventually chose forty boys to appear in the film. The football unit held a six-week training camp at St. Stephens Academy, playing six hours of football every day. Real-life Permian football trainer Tim O'Connell recreated his job for the production.
       Although the movie hewed closely to the book, some differences emerged. Chris Comer was not highlighted in the book, as he was a junior and Bissinger covered only the seniors. As stated in a September 12, 2004 Los Angeles Times article, in order to receive permission to film in Odessa, Berg had to promise not to portray the town in a racist or stereotypical manner. Therefore, the film's portrayal of the town differs from that in the book. Because of the omission of Odessa's cultural strife, some critics, including the Los Angeles Times reviewer, maintained that the film "throw[s] authenticity to the wind in the name of what's called `dramatic purposes.'" Many reviews, however, asserted that the film dealt expressly with racial and class tensions. The Newsweek review read: "[The film] has lots to say about race, class, celebrity, competition and the way dreams can inspire as well as devour the dreamer." The New York Times critic stated that "the screenplay fiddles very little with the actual events" and "rarely softens the picture."
       Reviews in general were positive, and the picture became a sleeper box office hit. Newsweek magazine and AFI named Friday Night Lights as one of the top ten films of 2004. In May 2006, the NBC television network announced that a weekly series based on the Bissinger novel and the film would be on the network's 2006-2007 Prime Time schedule.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted one of the 10 best films of 2004 by the American Film Institute (AFI).

Released in United States Fall October 8, 2004

Released in United States on Video January 18, 2005

Brian Levant and Jon Avnet were both previously attached to direct.

Alan J. Pakula was previously attached to direct.

Kodak

Released in United States Fall October 8, 2004

Released in United States on Video January 18, 2005