6.8/10
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12 user 3 critic

Knights of the South Bronx (2005)

TV-PG | | Drama | TV Movie 6 December 2005
The movie is based on the life & times of David MacEnulty who taught schoolchildren of the Bronx Community Elementary School 70 to play at competition level, eventually winning New York ... See full summary »

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(teleplay), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Jimmy
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Kenya Russell
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Cokey
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Darren
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Arnie
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Richard's wife
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Kasparov
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Dolly
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Philip Akin ...
Asst. Princpal Hill
Cameron Ansell ...
Jimmy's Opponent
Brandon Bally ...
Peach Thug #2
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MD (as Yves Michel-Beneche)
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Parent #1
Brad Borbridge ...
Player #3
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Storyline

The movie is based on the life & times of David MacEnulty who taught schoolchildren of the Bronx Community Elementary School 70 to play at competition level, eventually winning New York City and the New York State Chess Championships. The screenplay portrays whistle-blowing and a mid-life crisis that combine to remove Richard Mason (played by Ted Danson) from his old job & current lifestyle. He becomes a substitute teacher and is assigned to a fourth-grade class in a South Bronx school. In the class are students with parents who are drug addicts or in jail or just scrambling to pay the bills. Few of them see a purpose in school other than meeting society's requirements, and he struggles, mostly in vain, to reach them. Then a student whose father is in jail sees Mason in the park playing a simultaneous exhibition, and beating fourteen opponents at once. He asks to learn the game. One thing leads to another, and soon the entire class is interested in the game. Mason convinces them that ... Written by Donald Gulledge

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

6 December 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Spiel des Lebens  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

It took producer Diane Nabatoff 5 years to get this movie made. See more »

Goofs

A boom mic is clearly visible in the shot of Kenya after she beats the girl from Boston as she is about to tell the girl that she played a good game. See more »

Quotes

Bullied Kid: You thought I didn't have backup, but I did.
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User Reviews

 
Pleasant enough -- no surprises.
7 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The genre of "inspired and unusual teachers who impact the lives of their students" goes back at least to "Goodbye Mr. Chips" (1939) and perhaps farther than that. Many of us still remember our reactions to "To Sir, With Love" (1967) and "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969). The present effort, based on the founding of "Chess in the Schools" by David MacEnulty, doesn't rank with these "greats," but it's a respectable sentiment piece and makes up for its formulaic plot to some extent with notably excellent acting. I think Ted Danson is generally underrated, and his performance here is skillful and convincing. I don't know what the real-life MacEnulty was like, but I can imagine him being just about like Danson's portrayal. The five young people who constitute the "Knights" chess team are the heart of this movie, and all are serious actors, though a bit long-in-the-tooth to be in the fourth grade. One gets so accustomed to that misrepresentation, especially in American films, that it goes almost unnoticed. If you watch enough movies, you start to wonder why the real kids you know are so LITTLE! Anyway, this is a not-bad film with a good story to tell, and it won't give anybody nightmares.


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