26 September 2023

Under the Stadium Lights

Start the conversation

Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Todd Randall, Defiant Screen Entertainment.

This uplifting film (out on DVD) follows the players, coach and team chaplain of a high school football team in Abilene, Texas. The motivating true story is of a small-town team fighting against the odds to turn their lives around and win their state championship.

They face doubts and personal challenges, both on-and-off the field, and they must work together to discover what they can achieve when they stand united as a team.

Everyone counted the Abilene Eagles out of title contention after a crushing defeat ended their prior season.

It took the guidance of their team chaplain (Milo Gibson) and a surrogate father figure (Laurence Fishburne) for them to realise what they can achieve when they become united.

Milo (All the Devil’s Men, Hacksaw Ridge) plays Chad Mitchell, the team chaplain and co-author of the novel this film is based on (Brother’s Keeper) together with Al Pickett. Milo is the son of actor, Academy Award-winning film director, producer and screenwriter Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Lethal Weapon).

Fishburne (Mystic River, The Color Purple) is Harold Christian, who was somewhat of a local celebrity in Abilene and owned a restaurant (Harold’s BBQ), which fed the players each Thursday night during the season. What Mitchell did to inspire and support the team is commendable, in particular three outstanding players, who had troubled home lives.

The Abilene Eagles ascended once again in an incredible comeback that will be long remembered in sports history. Under the Stadium Lights is a heartfelt tribute to a winning Texas 2009 high school football team.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.