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The Great Debaters (2007) - movie overview

The Great Debaters (2007)

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Original title: Great Debaters, The


BoxOffice: $25.6M

MPAA Rating
Rated PG-13 for depiction of strong thematic material including violence and disturbing images, and for language and brief sexuality.

Country USA

Production Companies
Harpo Films, Marshall Production, Road Rebel, Weinstein Company, The

Studio MGM

More info on IMDb.com

Other Titles
• The Great Debaters (2007)



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Genre: Drama

Tagline: When the nation was in need, he inspired them to give us hope.

Plot: Denzel Washington directs and stars in this uplifting drama based on a true story about a small East Texas all-black college in 1935 that rises to the top of the nation's debate teams in a duel against Harvard. A poet and debating coach at Wiley College, Professor Melvin Tolson (Washington) sees debating as "a blood sport" and recruits the meanest and brightest, including troubled Henry (Nate Parker), driven Samantha (Jurnee Smollet), and the 14-year-old prodigy James Farmer, Jr. (Denzel Whitaker). Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (no relation) plays Farmer's father, the initially unsupportive president of the school. There's tough training, romantic heat over the attentions of fiery Samantha (the first girl on the team), and some no holds-barred racism (including a witnessed lynching) before the big match-up against the Ivy League school, adding to the overall emotional force. Though feel-good historical competition movies like this have been done before, Washington serves up his effort as a lean, mean family dinner, with minimum fuss and maximum nutritional-educational value. Historical accuracy may be thrown to the wind more than once--Farmer is the only real student among the team, and the final debate was against USC, not Harvard--but the acting is uniformly superb. It's great

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 Directed by
Denzel Washington
American Gangster, Inside Man, Man on Fire
 Written by
Robert Eisele
Darkman II: The Return of Durant, 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, Vanishing Son II
 Cast
Denzel Washington
American Gangster, Inside Man, Man on Fire
Forest Whitaker
Platoon, Panic Room, Phone Booth
Gina Ravera
Showgirls, Kiss the Girls, Soul Food
John Heard
Home Alone, Big, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Nate Parker
Pride, Cruel World, Tunnel Rats
Jurnee Smollett
Jack, Gridiron Gang, Eve's Bayou
Denzel Whitaker
The Ant Bully, Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards '05
[more]
 Music By
James Newton Howard
I Am Legend, The Sixth Sense, Batman Begins
Peter Golub
Sublime, The Laramie Project, Wordplay



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