ⓘ Harvard Beats Yale 29-29


ⓘ Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is a 2008 documentary film by Kevin Rafferty, covering the 1968 meeting between the football teams of Yale and Harvard in their storied rivalry. The game has been called "the most famous football game in Ivy League history".


1. Story

For the first time since 1909, the football teams of Harvard and Yale were each undefeated with 6-0 records in their conference 8-0 overall when they met for their seasons final game on November 23, 1968 at Harvard Stadium. Led by their quarterback captain Brian Dowling, nationally-ranked Yale was heavily favored to win and they quickly led the game 22–0. With two minutes remaining on the clock they still led 29–13. As the last seconds ticked down, Harvard, coached by John Yovicsin, tied the game, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds. The Harvard Crimson declared victory with a famous headline, "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29," providing the title for Rafferty’s documentary.


2. Production

Created essentially as a one-man production, Rafferty followed a simple production plan by inter-cutting broadcast video of the game with interviews hed done with close to 50 of the surviving players. The broadcast video was a color kinescope of the WHDH telecast, with Don Gillis doing the play-by-play. The film was set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1968 game between Yale and Harvard.

The documentary includes game footage with contemporary interviews with the men who played that day, as well as contextual commentary about the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, Garry Trudeaus Yale cartoons, and various players relationships with George W. Bush Yale, Al Gore Harvard, and Meryl Streep Vassar.


3. Cast

  • Frank Champi as himself – Harvard Quarterback
  • Fran Gallagher as himself – Yale Defensive End
  • Robert Dowd as himself – Harvard Tackle
  • Don Gillis as himself – Sportscaster
  • Nick Davidson as himself – Yale Halfback
  • Del Marting as himself – Yale End
  • Kyle Gee as himself – Yale Tackle
  • Joe McKinney as himself – Harvard Defensive End
  • Vic Gatto as himself – Harvard Halfback Team Captain
  • Dale Neal as himself – Harvard Linebacker
  • Brian Dowling as himself – Yale Quarterback Team Captain
  • Bruce Freeman as himself – Harvard End
  • Jim Gallagher as himself – Yale Defensive End
  • J.P. Goldsmith as himself – Yale Safety
  • Bruce Weinstein as himself – Yale Tight End
  • Neil Hurley as himself – Harvard Cornerback
  • Mick Kleber as himself – Yale Guard
  • Jim Reynolds as himself – Harvard Halfback
  • Gus Crim as himself – Harvard Fullback
  • Ken Thomas as himself – Harvard Safety
  • Scott Robinson as himself – Yale Defensive End
  • Dick Williams as himself – Yale Middle Guard
  • Bruce Weinstein as himself – Yale End
  • Mike Bouscaren as himself – Yale Linebacker
  • Bob Levin as himself – Yale Fullback
  • Fritz Reed as himself – Harvard Tackle
  • Rick Frisbie as himself – Harvard Cornerback
  • Ted Livingston as himself – Yale Tackle
  • Mike Ananis as himself – Harvard Cornerback
  • Pete Hall as himself – Harvard Defensive End
  • John Cramer as himself – Harvard Defensive End
  • Alex MacLean as himself – Harvard Middle Guard
  • George Bass as himself – Yale Tackle
  • John Waldman as himself – Yale Cornerback
  • Rick Berne as himself – Harvard Defensive Tackle
  • Ron Kell as himself – Yale Defensive Back
  • Gary Farneti as himself – Harvard Linebacker
  • Calvin Hill as himself – Yale Halfback archive footage
  • Fred Morris as himself – Yale Center
  • John Ignacio as himself – Harvard Cornerback
  • Pete Varney as himself – Harvard Tight End
  • Ted Skowronski as himself – Harvard Center
  • Bill Kelly as himself – Harvard Quarterback
  • Brad Lee as himself – Yale Guard
  • Rich Mattas as himself – Yale Tackle
  • Tom Peacock as himself – Yale Tackle
  • George Lalich as himself – Harvard Quarterback
  • Tommy Lee Jones as himself – Harvard Guard
  • Pat Conway as himself – Harvard Cornerback
  • Tom Wynne as himself – Harvard Safety
  • Ray Hornblower as himself – Harvard Halfback


4. Reception

The documentary received numerous positive reviews: Steven Rea of Philadelphia Inquirer wrote "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is a comeback story, a classic underdog yarn. But this winning doc also offers serious reflection on how events from our past continue to loom large in our lives - as regrets still counted, as lessons learned, as triumphs that awe and amaze." J. Hoberman of Village Voice wrote "This may or may not be the greatest instance of college football ever played, but Brians Song, Jerry Maguire, and The Longest Yard notwithstanding, Raffertys no-frills annotated replay is the best football movie Ive ever seen: A particular day in history becomes a moment out of time." Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun called the film "Kevin Raffertys magnum opus". Mark Feeney of Boston Globe called the film "terrifically entertaining". Manohla Dargis of the New York Times found the film to be "preposterously entertaining". Tom Keogh of Seattle Times called it "a delightful documentary". In greater depth, Bob Hoover of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote "Despite his annoying style of lingering a bit too long on his subjects, Rafferty, mainly a TV documentary maker, pries fascinating stories and insights from the now aging players," and Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times wrote "A look at the legendary Nov. 23, 1968, game, "Harvard Beats Yale" is both an irresistible human story and as fine a documentary on football as Hoop Dreams was on basketball", calling the film "a memorable winner". He further notes that the passage of 40 years allowed a unique perspective as the players spoke about "what was not only the game of their careers but possibly the experience of their lives", and made note of how time led to other celebrity for some of the players, with Tommy Lee Jones becoming an Oscar-winning actor, Brian Dowling becoming the character "B.D." in the Doonesbury comic strip Garry Trudeau attended Yale, and player Bob Levin remembering dating a Vassar undergraduate named Meryl Streep."

Underscoring that the film had appeal to more than just sports fans, Bruce Eder of All Movie Guide began his review with "it is only fair of this writer to point out that he cares not one whit about, and has not a scintilla of interest in football. Having said that, we can also say, without equivocation, that Kevin Raffertys Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is a dazzling, engrossing, must-see piece of film all about.football. Except that its also about a lot more."

  • famous headline Harvard Beats Yale 29 29 In 2010, ESPN ranked it No. 9 in its list of the top ten college football ties of all time. Yale came into the
  • against rival Harvard which ended in a tie and resulted in The Harvard Crimson s famous headline Harvard Beats Yale 29 - 29 1968 Yale Bulldogs Schedule
  • The Harvard Yale football rivalry is renewed annually with The Game, an American college football contest between the Harvard Crimson football team of
  • The 2004 Harvard Yale prank was a practical joke performed on November 20, 2004, at the annual Harvard Yale football game in which Yale students perpetrated
  • NewspaperARCHIVE. Harvard Beats Brown 11 to 6, But Barely Escapes Disaster Boston Post. November 11, 1900. p. 9 via NewspaperARCHIVE. Yale Football Champions
  • Yale by a 10 0 score. 1891 Harvard Crimson Schedule and Results SR College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 27, 2017. Harvard Football
  • its rivalry games against both Princeton and Yale Randolph M. Appleton was the team captain. 1883 Harvard Crimson Schedule and Results SR College Football
  • is Harvard Beats Yale 29 - 29 Rafferty is a nephew of US former First Lady Barbara Bush, and a cousin of former US President George W. Bush. Harvard Beats
  • NewspaperARCHIVE. Harvard Barely Beats Amherst The Boston Globe. October 9, 1902. p. 5 via NewspaperARCHIVE. With Many Subs Harvard Defeats University
  • NewspaperARCHIVE. Proud Blue: It Waves Triumphant Over the Crimson Yale Beats Harvard by Score of 6 - 0 The Boston Globe. November 20, 1892. p. 1 via
  • 2017. Harvard Football Yearly Records GoCrimson.com. Harvard University. Retrieved August 13, 2014. Foot Ball: The Harvard Eleven Beats the Institute