Teenagers at a juvenile detention center, under the leadership of their counselor, gain self-esteem by playing football together.


Phil Joanou


Jeff Maguire, Jac Flanders (film "Gridiron Gang")





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dwayne Johnson ... Sean Porter (as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson)
Xzibit ... Malcolm Moore
L. Scott Caldwell ... Bobbi Porter
Leon Rippy ... Paul Higa
Kevin Dunn ... Ted Dexter
Jade Yorker ... Willie Weathers
David V. Thomas ... Kelvin Owens (as David Thomas)
Setu Taase Setu Taase ... Junior Palaita
Mo McRae ... Leon Hayes (as Mo)
James Earl ... Donald Madlock (as James Earl III)
Trever O'Brien ... Kenny Bates
Brandon Mychal Smith ... Bug Wendal
Jurnee Smollett ... Danyelle Rollins
Michael J. Pagan ... Roger Weathers
Jamal Mixon ... Jamal Evans


In the Kilpatrick juvenile detention center, the supervisor and former football player Sean Porter sees the lack of discipline, self-esteem, union and perspective in the teenage interns and proposes to prepare a football team to play in one league. He is supported by his superiors and his successful experience changes the lives of many young kids. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


One goal. A second chance.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some startling scenes of violence, mature thematic material and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Sadly, after 20 years at Camp Kilpatrick, the stellar football program featured in the film was sidelined in 2014 pending the outcome of a study on the long term benefits thereof; despite helping to send multiple former Mustang players to college. See more »


Willie would not have been sent to a Juvenile Detention center for shooting his mother's boyfriend. With the boyfriend having already abused Willies mother in the past, the physical violence against her that evening, his physical violence against her in the scene, the physical violence and threat against Willie himself, and then rushing Willie; Willie was within his legal right of self-defense and the rightful defense of others for his actions to not be prosecuted. See more »


Malcolm Moore: Man, that kid's always smiling!
[laughing at Bugs]
Sean Porter: Yeah... but I wonder if he was laughing when he stabbed that old lady for her purse?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scenes are shown from the 1992 documentary "Gridiron Gang" which inspired this film. See more »


Spoofed in The Comebacks (2007) See more »


Written by Robert Kool Bell (as Robert Bell), Ronald Bell, George Funky Brown (as George Brown),
Eumir Deodato, Robert Spike Mickens (as Robert Mickens), Claydes Smith,
, J.T. Taylor (as James Taylor), Dennis D.T. Thomas (as Dennis Thomas) and Earl Toon (as Earl Toon,
, Jr.)
See more »

User Reviews

Not Just Another 'Team Sports Cure Every Evil' Film
19 January 2007 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

It seems like the past few years have seen a run on sports films that demonstrate the power of learning sportsmanship on a team level can alter the lives of the misbegotten youths suffering from the angst of society's perceptions. We've been through soccer, baseball, tennis, dance, track and football: GRIDIRON GANG uses football as the pivotal point, but due to the presence of a fine script by Jeff Maguire who adapted Jac Flanders documentary film, and cohesive poignant direction by Phil Joanou who knows how to move a large cast around and keep it personal, and most of all due to the overpoweringly fine performance by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson this film is so honest and uplifting that it doesn't leave a dry eye in the audience.

The story is well known: Probation Officer Sean Porter (Johnson) is frustrated that the boys in his camp for young criminals when released to the streets show 75% returning and a large number dying in gang related violence. He sees this trend as being due to the lack of self-esteem in kids whose lives outside are demeaning and encourage failure. He gathers support from his fellow workers Malcolm Moore (Xzibit), Paul Higa (Leon Rippy) and Ted Dexter (Kevin Dunn) and gradually builds confidence in his project to organize a football team of his inmates. We wisely get to know the background of a few of the more difficult incarcerated boys, a fact that makes the project more full of tension and understanding of the problems to be resolved. Though most of the cast are unknowns, they are fine actors in this film: Jade Yorker, David V. Thomas, Setu Taase, Mo, James Earl, Trever O'Brien, Brandon Mychal Smith, Danny Martinez, Joe Seo, and Joey Lucero.

Through the team's growth as a unit they confront and manage to cope with problems and grow into goal-driven, good spirited young men. The presence of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is stunningly underplayed and all the more powerful for it. This is a sensitive performance that places Johnson in an all new category of respect as an actor. The film is overly long (120 minutes) due to repeated games the team plays and for devotees of Football that will be a positive aspect. But far more important than the games is the quiet growing of trust and faith that shows in the faces of this fine cast. Recommended viewing, especially for those who think they have seen too many sports related do-good films! Grady Harp

54 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 144 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

15 September 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gridiron Gang See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,414,630, 17 September 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed