In every guy’s favorite true-life sports tearjerker (sorry, Brian’s Song), Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (Sean Astin) proves that not even poor grades or small stature are impediments to getting admitted to Notre Dame and landing a spot on its legendary football team. All it takes is persistence and indomitable will. Rudy simply shows up at the Notre Dame campus one night, meets a sympathetic priest, and through his new mentor, gets admitted to Holy Cross Junior College across the street.
From there, he works his way into good enough grades to transfer to Notre Dame. His refusal to take no for an answer also earns him a position on the team, even though that position is tackling dummy. Finally, that persistence (which Astin would put to good use again later as Middle-earth’s steadfast hobbit Samwise Gamgee) earns Rudy a few moments of glory on the football field – and a movie.