An Epic Al Pacino Drama Just Arrived On Netflix

The Al Pacino football drama Any Given Sunday is now streaming on Netflix.

By Mark McKee | Published

Since developing new and improved media consumption, Netflix has been the streaming gold standard by providing unique, in-demand movies, TV series, and original projects. Their content isn’t only for new movies, though; they have added one of Al Pacino’s best films, starring alongside Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Denis Quaid, James Woods, Bill Bellamy, LL Cool J, and a few NFL players. Netflix now offers the opportunity for fans old and new to check out Al Pacino’s 1999 film, Any Given Sunday

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The hard-hitting football film sees Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) take over her father’s football team with ambitions to turn the franchise around and lead it to a championship. She is left with Head Coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pachino) and his old-school methods before a brutal hit to starting quarterback and face of the franchise, Jack “Cap” Rooney (Dennis Quaid), forces the team into an unknown future. Lucky for them, third-string quarterback Willie Beamon (Jamie Foxx) is ready to step up and take advantage of the next, and probably last, chance for him to become the player he always knew he could be. 

The result sees the group start to reevaluate who they are and their places on the team, including a team of doctors who have found the easy life of professional sports by creating cocktails of painkillers to get players through the season. James Woods and Matthew Modine star as two doctors with conflicting ideologies towards the drugs Woods has been giving the players, which Modine believes is the driving force behind Rooney’s season-ending injury. While it seems like a dreadful turn of events for nearly everyone involved, it was the break that Willie Beamon needed to make Al Pacino’s character face the fact that he has to learn to go with the flow. 

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Tony D’Amato is an aging coach who seems to have lost the love and the drive for professional football as he indulges in both alcohol and prostitutes (one played by former Saved By the Bell student Jesse Spano/Elizabeth Berkley). He seems to be immediately called to the carpet with Diaz, who tells him in no uncertain way that his time with the team lay in the past with her late father and not with her. He finds himself face to face with the reality that he has lost touch with football and his players, as both the game and the real world are moving faster than he can keep up. 

For Cameron Diaz, Any Given Sunday was the last of a string of seven films released in two years, Fear and Loathing in Las VegasThere’s Something About MaryVery Bad Things, and Welcome to Hollywood arrived in 1998, while Man Woman FilmBeing John Malkovich, and this football epic released in 1999. Her character in this film embodies the woman in a man’s world and actually allows it to cloud her judgment as she maneuvers to gain control and respect from her players, only to discover they don’t. While she had established herself as a rom-com actor, this was a welcome departure for her. 

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Jamie Foxx hadn’t done a whole lot of work on the big screen, focusing more on his own TV show, The Jamie Foxx Show, which ran for 100 episodes from 1996-2001. Willie Beamon has spent his entire career in the shadows as a third-string quarterback until a twist of fate causes both quarterbacks above him to go down with injuries, paving the way for him to step up. Foxx mainly focused on comedic roles like In Living Color, making this film a glorious departure from the norm we had become used to from Foxx. 

Dennis Quaid and Al Pacino were well-known actors before Quaid took on Jack Rooney’s role, and the release of Any Given Sunday was sandwiched between The Parent Trap and Playing by Heart in 1998 and Frequency and Traffic in 2000. Rooney feels threatened by the sudden explosion of Beamon, and combined with the mindset of a rattled quarterback, Beamon is strong enough to make him consider the future of his career.

Pacino made his fame in gangster movies with The Godfather and Scarface before landing Any Given Sunday between The Devil’s Advocate with Keanu Reeves and Insomnia with Robin Williams. This film is less about football and more about the lengths people will go to stay on top and to keep their dream alive.