Growing up in a large, Catholic working-class family in Joliet, Illinois in the early '60s, young Rudy (Sean Astin) has had one goal all his life: to play football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. But his small stature, lack of athletic ability and poor grades could explain why his father (Ned Beatty), his teachers, his coaches and even his friends all discourage him from getting his hopes up. But Rudy's heart is bigger than his common sense, and, against the advice of his father, he makes the bus trip to South Bend in search of his dream. Once there, he begins the struggle against seemingly impossible odds with the help of a kindly priest (Robert Prosky) and a gruff but good-hearted groundskeeper (Charles S. Dutton). Based on a true story, Rudy transcends the feel-good sports genre to tell a truly inspirational story of the power of dogged determination.