Part 4 The Express Long Before There Was Ernie Davis and the Express

Updated: October 9, 2008



Our reviews and

praise for The Express

which finally opens today

begs the question what

other Sports movies

are the very BEST

Unless The Express surpasses it in public opinion and it may not the all time champ of Sports movies in many minds both critics and people like you is “Brian’s Song”. All the way back in 1971, 37 years ago. The Litmus Test may be people still talk about “Brian’s Song” and it still does well on DVD. Will it be the same for the Express in in 37 years, in 2045 ??

If you want to “benchmark”

The Express this is the Film

will be The Express be

around in 2045

YES indeed

What The Express may lack in its focus on inter-personal relationships which Brian’s Song explores so well. Specifically that between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, The Express makes up in context. Brian’s Song explores a powerful, relationship between two athletes one Black the other White so indeed it does explore Race but on a personal level. While The Express explores global issues of Race through the life and personal experiences of Ernie Davis.

Gale Sayers only 4 years younger than Davis, Sayers had his own moniker The Kansas City Comet which compares favorably with Davis’ The Elmira Express. Had Davis lived they would have played against each other in the NFL. Who knows in the fullness of Time maybe they would have found themselves playing together ?

It is easy to imagine were they teammates Ernie Davis and Gale Sayers would have gotten along famously. Both introspective, even intellectuals as Sports heroes go. We can find a very profound Commonality in Sayers relationship wit his dying teammate Brian Piccolo, and Ernie Davis relationship to his own Travails and of course his approaching Death.

There was no Brian Piccolo in Ernie Davis life. But in a profound way Ernie Davis was his own Brian Piccolo, both experiencing his own high quality success while experiencing the Dark Side. Much as Gale Sayers experienced his success but as well very much identified with in fact shared in his friend Brian Piccolo wasting away as Davis did from Cancer.

As for the film Brian’s Song which was a made for TV film not theatrical release unlike The Express – it had a profound if quiet impact on Race relations. Bryan’s Song was released in the wake of Race Riots and Racial Confrontations preceding its 1971 release. There is no way of documenting is impact but the attention it received left no doubt it entered the collective psyche of many Americans Black and White. On this personal level it would have definitely improved interaction between many African Americans and White Americans in the work place, less so but still real in largely segregated neighborhoods and separate Social Circles.

Now The Express 37 years later about the same general era a few years later Gale Sayers while still a victim of Discrimination as he would be as a Black Man, it was not the same factor in his life certainly not in his autobiography “I Am Third” which concentrates so much of its attention on his friendship with a White Man. As the cover says the book is the inspiration for “Brian’s Song.” As for Sayers title it comes from his favorite saying, ” The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third.” Everyone should adopt it.

Turning to The Express

four decades later

We have another riveting movie based on a biography of Ernie Davis’ life titled “The Elmira Express” written by someone else Robert Gallagher. The result is every bit as good in a different way. That is why these TWO movies “Brian’s Song” and “The Express” make such fascinating companions. It would be so easy and so very useful to create learning tools even entire courses made up of the content of both movies. How they relate to each other on different levels. How two SuperStar athletes related to the world around them. And each to their closest relationship with someone White, Davis with his coach at Syracuse, Sayers with Piccolo.

NOW go out and see

The Express TODAY

have the distinction of

seeing the movie on

its 1st day released

BEFORE you leave

go over to Amazon

somewhere else we

don’t care where

place your order


the original 1971

(not the re-make)

a STEAL at $10

SAVOR both

again and





If Universal comes to their SENSE they will release The Express on DVD for the Christmas season NOT absurdly at the very END of the football season on SuperBowl Sunday the first week of February. Does anyone know what Davis has to do with the SuperBowl ??

Anyway if Universal WAKES up what a wonderful low cost Christmas or Kwanzaa gift in these Depressed times both DVDs would make as ONE gift for ……

Young & Old

Black & White

Ernie Davis and

Gale Sayers and

their movies gifts

that keep on Giving