Limited Theatrical Release – Brandon Burlsworth is perhaps the greatest walk-on in the history of college football. Brandon had always dreamed of playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks but was considered too short and too fat to play Division I. Undeterred, Brandon took a big risk and walked on in 1994. Written off by fellow teammates and coaches, Brandon displayed dogged determination in the face of staggering odds. An extremely devoted Christian, Brandon never cursed or drank. He was genuinely humble and low-key. He worked harder than anybody, on and off the field, becoming the first Razorback to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree while still playing. The overly fat kid, who was once an embarrassment to his teammates and an annoyance to his coaches, ended up becoming the most respected player in the history of the program, changing the lives of everyone he touched. Eleven days after being drafted into the NFL, Brandon was tragically killed in a car accident, crushing everyone who knew him. Brandon was “too good to be true.” How could something like that happen to this guy? The age-old question slammed down upon everyone with terrible force: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Brandon’s story is more than mere football. It is the ultimate expression of the question, “Why?” “Greater” will provide hope and inspiration as it strives to wrestle with this challenge and find reasons to trust. It is “Rudy” meets “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“Greater” is a tremendous and inspiring film. It deals with the true-life story of Brandon Burlsworth (Chris Severio). Brandon wound up playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks, even though he was a walk-on at camp. Even as a young boy, although he sometimes over-ate, he knew he wanted to play for the Razorbacks one day. Brandon keeps the faith when others don’t, and he works very hard to put on muscle and slim down. His older brother by 17 years, Marty (Neal McDonough) doesn’t have the faith Brandon does at first, but Brandon wins him over. A running joke in the film is that several people think Marty is Brandon’s father, instead of his brother. Their mother (Leslie Easterbrook) is a strong Christian who influences their lives. Brandon himself influences several people while at college and wins over some rough and gruff football players who used to mock his Christian faith. Soon, they are attending Bible study with him and praying.
This movie features themes of persistent hard work, trust, and standing firm in one’s faith. Brandon wins several coveted awards and is eventually drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. His family endures a tragedy, and an epitaph says at the conclusion of the film: “Our loss is great, but God is greater.” Brandon’s uniform number, 77, has been retired, and a foundation has been set up in his honor. We are extremely pleased to award this wonderful movie our “Faith-Friendly” Seal for ages 12-plus, and five Doves, our greatest compliment.