Virginia’s Cinematic Touchdown: Reliving the Legacy of ‘Remember the Titans’

Whether the film is based on a real-life event or not, everyone loves an inspirational feel-good sports movie.

Popular sports films like The Rocky series, Field of Dreams and The Mighty Ducks trilogy are entirely fictional, but the heartwarming tales and drama-filled storylines continue to inspire many to this day.

And then there are critically-acclaimed movies that were based on a true story. Films such as Remember the Titans, Raging Bull, Miracle and Moneyball perfectly told real-life stories of legendary sports figures (coaches, players, etc.) who defied all odds to paint a real-life inspirational tale. That is, stories that were so inspirational that they had to hit the big screen.

23 years after its release, Remember the Titans is still regarded as a timeless classic that countless sports fans continue to enjoy today. Exploring retro film locations takes us on a nostalgic voyage with ‘Remember the Titans,’ while VA sportsbook promos amplify the buzz surrounding this beloved gridiron classic.

“The Old Dominion” launched legalized sports betting in January 2021 — less than three years after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Through the state’s available sportsbooks, customers can take advantage of several special offers such as a first bet offer of up to $1,000 from BetMGM, a $1,000 risk-free first bet from DraftKings and a $100 second chance wager from Unibet.

Though the state doesn’t have any teams in the “Big Four” North American professional sports leagues, Virginians love placing wagers on teams in nearby Washington, D.C. Those teams are the NFL’s Commanders, the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals and the Nationals of Major League Baseball.

What Is Remember the Titans About?

The film is based on the legend of former Virginia high school football coach Herman Boone, who led the T.C. Williams High School (now Alexandria City High School) football team to a 1971 state championship.

Academy-award winner Denzel Washington (Glory, The Equalizer and Cry Freedom), takes center stage as Boone. The star-studded cast also features Will Patton (Bill Yoast), Ryan Hurst (real-life T.C. Williams player, Gerry Bertier), Donald Faison (Petey Jones) and Wood Harris (Julius Campbell).

Future A-list celebrities Ryan Gosling (Alan Bosley) and Hayden Panettiere (Sheryl Yoast) also have minor roles in the film.

Remember the Titans perfectly exemplifies the values of unity, love, teamwork, care, selflessness, dedication and much more. It shows the audience what can happen when people put any differences behind them and work together on building a better environment together.

Despite facing many hardships — including racial prejudice from the public and several threats of Boone losing his job — the Titans continue to power through and dominate opponent after opponent.

Tragically, Bertier was paralyzed from the waist down following a car accident on Dec. 11, 1971. In real life, the accident took place after the team completed its undefeated season.In the film, the car accident occurs before the championship game. 

Bertier’s teammates rally around him and cement the undefeated season by emerging victorious in a thrilling championship game.

Bertier went on to have a successful career as a Paralympian following the accident. Sadly, he passed away at just 27 years of age in 1981 from injuries he suffered in a car accident involving a drunk driver.

This moving, tear-jerking film ends with a heartwarming tribute of Bertier by his family, friends and teammates. An epilogue is then shown to reveal what happened to the main characters after the school’s historic 1971 season.

Remember the Titans received some negative feedback because of several historic inaccuracies, but it was mostly met with positive reviews. It was also a hit at the box office, taking in $136.8 million.

Gosling and Panettiere would go on to become two of the most beloved and accomplished movie/television series stars of the 21st century.

Filming Locations In Virginia

Despite being set in Virginia, the vast majority of the movie was actually filmed in the state of Georgia. 

Some of the prominent filming locations used included Berry College in Rome, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Sprayberry High School in Marietta and the well-known Silver Skillet restaurant in Atlanta.

Remember the Titans was partially filmed around Roanoke, Virginia as well. This included the Victory Stadium, which was actually demolished in 2006. You can visit the precise location now, but the historic venue is no more.

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