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Take Down (film)

Take Down
Directed by Kieth Merrill
Produced by Kieth Merrill
David B. Johnson
Written by Eric Hendershot
Kieth Merrill
Starring Edward Herrmann
Lorenzo Lamas
Maureen McCormick
Kathleen Lloyd
Maxx Payne
Stephen Furst
Music by Merrill Jenson
Cinematography Reed Smoot
Edited by Peter Teschner
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Unicorn Video
(Home Video)
Release dates
January 1979
Running time
107 minutes
Language English

Take Down is a 1979 sports film released by Buena Vista Distribution Company about an unqualified teacher who finds himself saddled with coaching duties after a small group of high school seniors form a wrestling team in a last-ditch effort to end a 9-year losing streak against a rival school.


Ed Branish (Edward Herrmann), a snooty English teacher who finds his situation at Mingo Junction High School far beneath him and barely tolerable, flaunts his air of superiority over all, including his supportive wife (Kathleen Lloyd), by frequently spouting platitudes from literary masters to validate his often contemptuous viewpoint.

His habit of having as little to do with his school as possible finally gets the better of him when his light schedule makes him the only staff member available to supervise the newly formed wrestling team. Cornered, he lashes out at the first student to cross his path - Nick Kilvitus (Lorenzo Lamas), a reserved 185 lbs. senior who's embarrassed by his near-poverty social status and who's also missed a lot of classes lately. No one realizes Nick's been filling in for his alcoholic father at a steel mill (hauling I-beams) when his dad's too drunk or hung over to show up (which is all too often, and which also keeps Nick busy at night fishing his embittered father out of bars - to be carried home (Fireman's Carry style) across town because they don't have a working car).

Nick hopes he can make up the missed school work in Ed's class to graduate in Spring but instead gets a tongue-lashing on how he should be held back as an example of the consequences of laziness and irresponsibility. In turn, Nick calls Ed an egotistical snob telling him that he is more interested in proving how smart he is instead of teaching. Fortunately, because of the wrestling team, both will cross paths again and discover they each have much more to them than what they were previously aware.

Maureen McCormick of Brady Bunch fame plays a supporting role as Nick's girlfriend, Brooke Cooper.



This was Disney's first "PG" rated film, five years before they launched Touchstone Pictures to expand into the "adult" market. The company's name never appeared on this title though: the only reference to the Disney name was that it was released thru Disney's Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.[1] The film was reportedly a critical and financial disaster. It has barely resurfaced after its original release, except for a VHS home video release by Unicorn Video in the 1980s, long out of print.


Take Down was filmed primarily in Utah, at the old American Fork High School campus prior to its being demolished and rebuilt. Scenes at other schools include a wrestling match shot at Murray High School in Murray, Utah.


  1. ^ investigation at [1], also see discussion page

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