7.6/10
49,940
119 user 113 critic

The Great Debaters (2007)

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 Now

From $6.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 9 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 7.3/10 X  

Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins.

Director: Denzel Washington
Stars: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant
The Hurricane (1999)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger
John Q (2002)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

John Quincy Archibald takes a hospital emergency room hostage when his insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant.

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Stars: Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Gabriela Oltean
He Got Game (1998)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Milla Jovovich, Ray Allen
Malcolm X (1992)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Director: Boaz Yakin
Stars: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris
Out of Time I (2003)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A Florida police chief must solve a vicious double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzmán
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep
Unstoppable (2010)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Flight I (2012)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle
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)
Trenton McClain Boyd ...
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.


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

On December 19, 2007, Denzel Washington announced a one million dollar donation to Wiley College, so they could re-establish their debate team. See more »

Goofs

When Prof. Tolson lectures his students about the origin of the word "lynching," he refers to the Willie Lynch Letter or Willie Lynch Speech, which are generally considered modern-day hoaxes. There is no historical or archival record of either before the 1990s, when they first appeared on the Internet. No 1930s professor could have cited them. See more »

Quotes

Henry Lowe: A brilliant young woman I know was asked once to support her argument in favor of social welfare. She named the most powerful source imaginable: the look in a mother's face when she cannot feed her children. Can you look that hungry child in the eyes? See the blood on his feet from working barefoot in the cotton fields. Or do you ask his baby sister with her belly swollen from hunger if she cares about her daddy's work ethics?
See more »

Connections

References Bright Eyes (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

I Would Do Anything for You
Performed by Art Tatum
Written by W. Alexander Hill (as Alexander Hill), Claude Hopkins & Bob Williams
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Courtesy of Verve Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Very Good But Familiar
27 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The movie was exactly what I had expected: a compelling story, strong actors and a great message. However, while Denzel delivers another stellar performance, you can't help notice that it has been seen several times before. You can mix the racial tensions of "Remember the Titans" with the underdog vibe of "Hoosiers," "Freedom Writers," and "Stand and Deliver" to understand where this is going. The story has solid pacing, a great cast and an easy to understand plot; a few minor side steps (talented but tormented student, first female student fighting both racism and gender issues, a younger than average student fighting for a father's love/respect while coming of age) but the message holds up and delivers an appropriate but completely unsurprising conclusion. A few frightening images for children need to be balanced with the powerful messages those images represent but overall an enjoyable movie but you will see the third act coming from a mile away....


13 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?