Friday Night Lights

October 8th, 2004


Friday Night Lights

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Still of Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night LightsStill of Billy Bob Thornton in Friday Night LightsBill Goldberg at event of Friday Night LightsStill of Lucas Black and Jay Hernandez in Friday Night LightsStill of Peter Berg and Brian Grazer in Friday Night LightsStill of Lucas Black in Friday Night Lights

Based on H.G. Bissinger's book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.1/10 (25,782 voted)

Critic's Score: 70/100

Director: Peter Berg

Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke

Odessa, Texas, is a small, town in Texas. Racially divided and economically dying, there is one night that gives the town something to live for: Friday Night. The Permian Panthers have a big winning tradition in Texas high school football, led by QB Mike Winchell and superstar tailback Boobie Miles, but all is not well, as Boobie suffers a career-ending injury in the first game of the season. Hope is lost among citizens in Odessa, and for the team, but Coach Gary Gaines, who believes that "Perfection is being able to look your friends in the eye and know you did everything you could not to let them down", is somehow able to help the team rise up from the ashes and make a huge season comeback. Now on their way to state, the Panthers must go out and be perfect, because they may never matter this much for the rest of their lives.

Writers: Buzz Bissinger, David Aaron Cohen

Billy Bob Thornton - Coach Gary Gaines
Lucas Black - Mike Winchell
Garrett Hedlund - Don Billingsley
Derek Luke - 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

Taglines: Hope comes alive


Official Website: Universal Studios [United States] |

Release Date: 8 October 2004

Filming Locations: Abilene, Texas, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $20,269,025 (USA) (10 October 2004) (2667 Screens)

Gross: $61,188,085 (USA) (26 December 2004)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Derek Luke, who played high school player James 'Boobie' Miles, was actually 30 years old during filming. In the movie, he is portrayed as a teenager.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): In the State Championship game, when one of the Permian "Mojo" Panther players makes an interception the commentator says "He returns it inside the Mojo 5." The "Mojo 5" would have actually been the opposite side of the field. He should have said inside the Carter 5.

Coach Gary Gaines: Hey, hey son! Come here. Where are you going?
Chris Comer: You don't want me to go in Coach?
Coach Gary Gaines: You're not wearing a helmet?
[Comer realizes he has no helmet on]
Coach Gary Gaines: My goodness gracious!

User Review

A sports movie worthy of non-sports people

Rating: 9/10

This movie is not what you might expect. It is not your typical sports movie, where a disparate team comes together to triumph over adversity as the music swells with a dumb sense of pride. This is a movie about people, kind of like Seabiscuit that way, except less happy and with no horses.

This movie is about Odessa, a medium-sized town in Texas with no economy and nothing to do besides obsess about high school football. It is a town where they pay the football coach twice as much as their teachers, where a boy's best chance out is to get a football scholarship to a faraway college, and where these boys are under so much pressure to win because the town seems unable to succeed at anything else.

A movie like this depends on its actors, because it is a character drama at its core. Much noise has been made of Billy Bob, and how he gives a great performance, and this is very true, but he is not the only star in this movie. The boys all do a great job too, especially Lucas Black. I have never noticed this actor before, but he is so intense as Mike Winchell that he makes you really feel for him. The other boys, including Derek Luke and Jay Hernandez, are also note-perfect.

There is a great moment at the end, after their final game, when they talk about what they are going to do next. They haven't graduated yet, but it is already over for them. There is a sense that nothing else matters. Subtitles tell us what happens to everyone. It is sometimes funny, often tragic, and always ironic, and you leave the movie feeling like you've met some new people who are very real.


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