MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 185 this week

The Great Debaters (2007)

7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 40,671 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 112 user | 113 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 12 Dec 2010
 
a list of 47 titles
created 17 Sep 2011
 
a list of 49 titles
created 29 Aug 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 04 Jan 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 04 Mar 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Great Debaters (2007)

The Great Debaters (2007) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Great Debaters.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Robert Kearns takes on the Detroit automakers who he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.

Director: Marc Abraham
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Alan Alda
Men of Honor (2000)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.

Director: George Tillman Jr.
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor.

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
My Left Foot (1989)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy, learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb - his left foot.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A man's coerced confession to an IRA bombing he did not commit results in the imprisonment of his father as well. An English lawyer fights to free them.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
J. Edgar (2011)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Kinsey (2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.

Director: Bill Condon
Stars: Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell
The Sea Inside I (2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The real-life story of Spaniard Ramon Sampedro, who fought a 30 year campaign in favor of euthanasia and his own right to die.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas
The Aviator (2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes' career, from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
The Queen (2006)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After the death of Princess Diana, HM Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell
Milk I (2008)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Henry Lowe
...
Samantha Booke (as Jurnee Smollett)
...
James Farmer Jr.
...
Hamilton Burgess
...
Dr. James Farmer Sr.
...
Ruth Tolson
...
Sheriff Dozier
...
Pearl Farmer
...
Helen Farmer (as Devyn Tyler)
...
Nathaniel Farmer
...
Deputy
...
Pig Owner
...
Pig Farmer
...
Dunbar Reed
Edit

Storyline

Marshall, Texas, described by James Farmer, Jr. as "the last city to surrender after the Civil War," is home to Wiley College, where, in 1935-36, inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and his clandestine work as a union organizer, Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions. The team of four, which includes a female student and a very young James Farmer, is tested in a crucible heated by Jim Crow, sexism, a lynch mob, an arrest and near riot, a love affair, jealousy, and a national radio audience. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of strong thematic material including violence and disturbing images, and for language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Debate Pela Liberdade  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,604,000 (USA) (21 December 2007)

Gross:

$30,226,144 (USA) (11 April 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was the first since 1979 to be allowed to film on Harvard's campus. See more »

Goofs

At the Harvard debate the radio coverage is announced as WNBC. Those call letters didn't come into use until 1946. In 1935 the flagship station of the National Broadcasting System was WEAF in New York City, which headed up its Red Network. NVC's other network was the Blue Network, headed by WJZ in NYC. See more »

Quotes

Harland Osbourne: This debate is stirring up a lot of excitement. It's going to be broadcast all over America.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: Red Tails (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

How Long Before I Can Change My Clothes?
Performed by Alvin Youngblood Hart (as Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart)
Produced by G. Marq Roswell
Traditional
Arranged by Alvin Youngblood Hart (as Alvin 'Youngblood' Hart)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Though I speak with the tongues of angels, but have not love....
24 December 2007 | by (the big screen) – See all my reviews

"The Great Debaters" is a very fine film.

It reminds us of what it means to be excellent, to stand for something good, to love with all our hearts, and to shine.

The performances, or the cinematography, historical care, or directorship all lift it out of the ordinary.

And in its difficult subject: racial tension and the education and discovery of values by the three young debaters from Wiley College, one of the oldest colleges in America, it creates real excitement and interest.

But the real reason that this is a fine film lies in is its plea that in education lies the reasoning, the power, and the will to change history. That learning lies not just in knowledge but also in applying that knowledge to better yourself, your world, and all of humanity.

The very significant point of the film is at the end. I can forgive the slight drag here and there because the ending is magnificent and explains something crucial about American history by its finish.

From an era when bigotry, racism, and degrading behavior was a wretched norm to our era where values are mutable, where dumbing down has no limits, and taste little place; "The Great Debaters" stands out as being a story that stands against all of these things.

The rating says it all: excellent.


79 of 99 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
These are the kind of black movies... Ozyre Cekda
Great movie, but large mistake made at the end... Metfan2987
Anyone else notice a slightly Communist/Socialist slant to the film? g_wales
The story is a lie jonathanlerner111
The lynch scene rujivachirapong
Academy awards racist neal66
Discuss The Great Debaters (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?