Movie Music Moment: Remember the Titans ("Kiss Him Goodbye")


"Kiss Him Goodbye" by Cast

as seen and heard in

Remember the Titans (1979)

Perseverance, courage and the brotherhood of man. When Boaz Yakin’s cheer-inducing football film tackled its way into theaters fall of 2000, little did folks know that it would spurn an awakening of the American sports film genre. Many films followed, some achieving the connectivity that Remember the Titans achieved with millions of people around the world.  Most however, did not.

There are many arguments as to why. Much of Remember the Titans' success is attributed to both the screenplay and the actors dynamic feel with each other. Denzel deftly handles the leadership role of Coach Boone without resorting to typically overdone coach and mentor stereotypes. Many of the actors portraying the high school football team convince you that they are veteran onscreen actors, rather than it being their first big break (which was in fact the case).

However, one of the more memorable parts of the story (and I think a big reason for the film’s success) is the music that is chosen to be alongside the film. Composer Trevor Rabin and music supervisor Bob Badami have created an undeniable sense of nostalgia, pumping heart and soul with the sound of the 1970’s. Case in point is the final moment of the film.

The former football team stands in mourning – dressed in black with the years of maturity and hardship – all eyes fixed upon the coffin of their friend and former teammate, Gerry Bertier. Years have passed since the days of their segregation-ending football championship (shown in the scene immediately previous to it), but still they come together as family. As they hold each other close, Julius Campbell, Gary’s best friend, hums this haunting tune:

This is a familiar song to many – in particular American high school and college sports. What I find most fascinating about this song is their decision of placement within the dramatic arc of the story. Instead of simply ending the film with their championship winning game, Yakin and his team continue the story to what seems to be the bitter end. But this is not the end. It was hardship and strife that made them brothers. And with this song being used for the second time in the film, this onscreen sung piece does indeed bid farewell to Gerry, but more importantly, calls upon us to fully bid farewell to hate and disunity. Rabin’s score aptly blends with this sorrowful yet hopeful tune – perfectly closing the tale of brotherhood with a reminder of what happens when love triumphs over hate.

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