Fighting Back: The Story of Rocky Bleier (1980)


Based on Bleier’s 1975 autobiography of the same name, it tells the story of how, after becoming a running back for the Steelers in 1968, he was then drafted by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Injured by a bullet to the thigh and a hand grenade to the lower right leg, Rocky is told that he will never walk again. Not only does he walk again after a long rehabilitation, Rocky returns to train with the Steelers. With the sympathy and support of his wife Aleta, Steelers owner Art Rooney, and coach Chuck Noll, Rocky makes the team again, and helps them become Super Bowl champions.

Director: Robert Lieberman.
Writers: John McGrath (adaptation), John McGrath (play).
Stars: Robert Urich, Bonnie Bedelia, Richard Herd, Howard Cosell, Art Carney, Steve Tannen, Bubba Smith, Simone Griffeth, Sandy McPeak, Dennis Howard, Joe Spano, Peggy McCay, John Chappell, Raymond Serra, Enrique Castillo, Jerry Lacy, Barton Heyman.


Note: Many thanks to Dan for the helping hand removing the commercials that were originally included in this copy I found online.

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One Comment

  1. Patrick Trimble
    February 2, 2021

    It may be I have a biase against made-for-television movies. I know how quick & cheaply they are made, I understand the kind of star system they employ, and without question, they rely too much on close-ups and dialogue two shots because they are the easiest (meaning cheapest) to shot. I loved the Steelers in the 1970’s and personal rooted for Rocky Blier, but I refuse to confuse his real accomplishments with this muddled melodrama about yet another athlete overcoming personal & physical handicaps to rise to greatness. Worse, there is little chemistry between the stilted performance by Urich & the argumentative dialogue of his girlfriend, Bonnie Bedelia. Then you have the Irish charm of Art Carney playing Art Rooney like a catholic priest. I want to thank Jon for once again finding a rare television entry and making it available for us cinemaphiles. But surely they cannot all be interesting cinema.

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