246 user 121 critic

Coach Carter (2005)

2:33 | Trailer
Controversy surrounds high school basketball coach Ken Carter after he benches his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him.


Thomas Carter
1,823 ( 137)
3 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel L. Jackson ... Coach Ken Carter
Rob Brown ... Kenyon Stone
Robert Ri'chard ... Damien Carter
Rick Gonzalez ... Timo Cruz
Nana Gbewonyo ... Junior Battle
Antwon Tanner ... Worm
Channing Tatum ... Jason Lyle
Ashanti ... Kyra
Texas Battle ... Maddux
Denise Dowse ... Principal Garrison
Debbi Morgan ... Tonya
Mel Winkler Mel Winkler ... Coach White
Vincent Laresca ... Renny
Sidney Faison ... Ty Crane
Octavia Spencer ... Mrs. Battle


In 1999, Ken Carter accepts the job of basketball coach for his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA. As much dismayed by the poor attitudes of his players as well as their dismal play performance, Carter sets about to change both. He imposes a strict regime typified in written contracts that demand respectful behavior, a dress code and good grades for players. Any initial resistance is soon dispelled as the team under Carter's tutelage becomes a undefeated competitor. However, when the overconfident team's behavior begins to stray with too many doing poorly in class, Carter takes immediate action. To the outrage of the team, the school and the community, Carter cancels all team activities and locks the court until the team shows acceptable academic improvement. In the ensuing debate, Carter fights to keep his methods, determined to show the boys that they need good values for their futures and eventually finds he has affected them more profoundly than he ever expected. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It begins on the street. It ends here. See more »


Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language, teen partying and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Not only did director Thomas Carter gain fame as a high school basketball player, as James Hayward on The White Shadow (1978), he began as a director on the show as well. See more »


In the huddle during the Holiday Championship Game, Kenyon's headband reads "And 1" in the back, but it switches to the front, then to the back again. See more »

Crazy Credits

The MTV Films logo transforms into a sketch in a notebook before it fades to black, much like the Paramount logo that precedes it. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Inspirational Movie Scenes (2019) See more »


Locked Up
Written & Performed by Akon
Courtesy of Universal Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

Enjoyable tale based on real deeds of Coach Ken Carter, a controversial high school basketball coach
19 September 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A classic tale of self-improvement , triumph and redemption , being based on a true story . It begins on the street and it ends playing a state championship . Sport film with sentimental story and intelligent character studio . Classic story rings true because of Samuel L. Jackson 's complex and sensitive acting and stunningly realized by Thomas Carter . Exceptional Samuel L Jackson who gets a chance job coaching a High School team , displaying a first rate performance reaching an important milestone . It is set in Richmond where basketball is the sport of the Gods ; there a high school basketball team gets an opportunity , thanks to supposedly experienced coach . A coach with an experienced past trains a high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship . Controversy surrounds high school basketball coach Carter after he benches his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him . The coach makes the team and each person in it , better than they thought possible . The physically unsuitable team to achieve for big time , thanks to the coach who triumphs over by odds , but sheer determination helps them attain their dream . The team was undefeated and on it's way to the 1999 State Championship, when Coach Carter received the low grades of his players. The team dreams of playing basketball final , no matter how far-fetched the dream .

This is an agreeable tale based on true events , it contains a classic plot and deals about a slice of American history , and is plenty of good feeling , heartfelt, interesting characters and formidable performances . However , being sometimes some sentimental and predictable but is still pretty amusing . Likable and enjoyable plot about a team and the coach , he carries out a hard challenge : Carter cancels all team activities and locks the court until the team shows acceptable academic improvement ; but both of them face the dual duel of bringing the players to the state championship and redeeming themselves . Splendid film from the filmmaker and writer John Gatins , of another David beats Goliath sports movie in which protagonists assume a difficult challenge . Sentimental plot stretches Hollywood manipulation , but is still entertaining . Samuel L . Jackson delivers an engaging acting as is backed by a good supporting cast such as Robert Ri'chard as his son Damien Carter , Debbi Morgan as his wife , Rick Gonzalez as Timo Cruz , Antwon Tanner as Worm , Vincent Laresca as Renny , Ashanti as Kyra, Texas Battle as Maddux and Channing Tatum who a bit later on would become a first world star ; in fact , Tatum had never played basketball before making the movie so he had to have individual training with the coaches to get up to speed with the other actors. Atmospheric and adequate musical score by Trevor Ravin , plenty of rap music . Fine production design and good sets , filmmakers had trouble filling the FieldHouse with extras for the final game, and needed to move people around when shooting different angles . The motion picture was compellingly directed by Thomas Carter , he's a notorious writer , producer , actor and director , as he realized other films for youth such as ¨Save the last dance¨ and ¨Swing kids¨. Rating : Better than average , worthwhile seeing and it ranked #4 on the highest opening weekend of any release from an MTV Film .

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USA | Germany



Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

All Day Long See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,182,961, 16 January 2005

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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