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THE GREAT DEBATERS

 
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At Theaters: 12/25/2007 On Video: 5/13/2008
Rated: PG-13 Length: 2 hr. 3 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 509921
Studio: MGM Pictures
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Storyline Heading
The Wiley College debate team was coached by the brilliant and passionate professor Melvin B. Tolson . It was Tolson’s recognition that the power of knowledge is the greatest advantage of all, which brought these students from underdogs to victors in a time when more than the odds were against them.
DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama - This is an inspirational fact-based drama aimed at moviegoers from teens on up. While the film has built-in appeal for urban audiences and older viewers, it is one that should be seen by teens and young adults as it could be rather inspiring and impactful.
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Cast and Crew Heading
Denzel Washington AMERICAN GANGSTER, DEJA VU, INSIDE MAN
Forest Whitaker THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, PHONE BOOTH, PANIC ROOM
Nate Parker PRIDE, DIRTY CRUEL WORLD
Jurnee Smollett ROLL BOUNCE, GRIDIRON GANG
Denzel Whitaker TRAINING DAY
Jermaine Williams FAT ALBERT
Director: Denzel Washington ANTWONE FISHER
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Production Notes Heading
About The Production
Denzel Washington, Director
Recreating 1935
Harvard University
'The Great Debaters'
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: 4 S-words; a few others.
SEX/NUDITY: Very brief sex with no nudity.
VIOLENCE: Slaps and hits.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol and tobacco.
ACTION: A big foot chase.
COMEDY: Some comic lines and kid humor.
DETAILED CONTENT
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Pictures © MGM Pictures ®
All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
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Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 114 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
How
Many
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
*
Would
Recommend
Movie To Friends
13-19Teens (M)
4
Very High
100%
13-19Teens (F)
5
Very High
100%
20-29Yg Adults (M)
5
High
100%
20-29Yg Adults (F)
5
Very High
100%
30+Adults (M)
33
Very High
100%
30+Adults (F)
62
Very High
100%
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
The positive and negative comments made by moviegoers are very
helpful when selecting a movie that's appropriate for you and your family.

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OPINION GRAPH

OPINION OVERVIEW
The following is the original "What's Worth Watching" write-up for this movie.

Moviegoer Opinions:

Based on a theater exit polling of 114 moviegoers:FANTASTIC REVIEWS FROM VIRTUALLY EVERYONE! All ages, both males and females LOVED "THE GREAT DEBATERS." Highly Recommended! A "Must See"!


D ETAILED S TORYLINE
Professor Tolson (Denzel Washington) carefully chooses his team not only because they're the best Wiley College has to offer but because they carry within them the spark of a new generation. He sets out to instill in them confidence and a sense of responsibility for more than just their own lives. At the same time he knows he must protect them from his own covert activities as an organizer of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union.

Tolson's most eager student is 14 year-old prodigy James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker) who endures the pressure of the team in addition to the towering presence of his father James Sr., PhD (Forest Whitaker), a renowned scholar and towering presence. It is James Jr. who grows up quickly by witnessing the horrific acts of prejudice, feeling the pangs of love and becoming the teacher as his father learns that action and assertion must be practiced in order for knowledge to become power.

In Henry Lowe (Nate Parker), Tolson sees a wild intelligence constantly conflicted between expectations and an exploding temper fueled by his search for justice. His fierce independence often clashes with his professor and teammates. Being part of the debate team may be his first experience with true accountability and the responsibility that follows.

Samantha Booke (Jurnee Smollett) has the honor of being Wiley College's first female on the debate team. She has to deal with not only the prejudice because of her skin but also as a woman forging ahead in a society that has yet to embrace equal rights for the sexes. She's up for the challenge as her confidence grows with each and every debate. 

What is seemingly a disconnected group of students is revealed as the calculated, brilliant and far reaching vision of Professor Tolson. As the team experiences unprecedented success and consecutive victories they work even more diligently to reach the ultimate goal – a groundbreaking debate with the National Champions at Harvard.

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