Brian's Song: Everett Collection
EW Staff
November 22, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Why ”Brian’s Song” is a top tearjerker

Yes, it was made for TV. But, really, there’s no way to omit Buzz Kulik’s ultimate straight-male love story, the Emmy-winning true-life drama of Chicago Bears teammates Brian Piccolo (James Caan) and Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams). Mirroring the less refined and even-more-dated ”Bang the Drum Slowly,” this brief tale of two utter opposites whose on-field bond is only strengthened when one develops cancer has always been the tough guy’s best excuse to get misty — and to say ”I love you.”

KLEENEX MOMENT Sayers accepts a courage award by dedicating it to his stricken friend: ”I love Brian Piccolo. And I’d like all of you to love him, too. And tonight when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.” Touchdown.

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