(1970)3.5Ryan ShriverAt 74 minutes, Brian's Song is one of the most effective and efficient television movies ever made. Documenting the true and tragic friendship between legendary Chicago Bears stars Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo (played by Billy Dee Williams and James Caan, respectively), the film also manages to overcome the trappings of a typical buddy film or sports drama of this sort by also addressing some of the larger social issues -- primarily racism -- of the time period. That said, director Buzz Kulik simply doesn't have enough time to adequately explore these topics -- considering the ground he attempts to cover over the course of the film's spartan running time. Instead -- and rightly so -- emphasis is given to the unique, socially defiant relationship the two men had, the success of which rests squarely on the performances of Williams and Caan. And both actors rise to the occasion and then some with amazing portrayals layered with a tremendous psychological depth, as well as a profoundly touching camaraderie. While far from a superior film, Brian's Song is still a moving dramatic document that holds a special place in the hearts of American-style football enthusiasts everywhere.