When Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama is controversially desegregated in 1973, Tony Nathan, a gifted black high school football player, joins the school's predominantly white football team along with several other black players. The coach, Tandy Gerelds, tells the team to use their shared anger to unite them, but black and white players clash on and off the field. After a riot at the school, Gerelds consents to allowing traveling sports chaplain Hank Erwin to speak to the team as a "motivational speaker". Hank's speech moves nearly the entire team to accept Hank's invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ, and join together in prayer. Gerelds does not accept the invitation, and is unsure what to make of the event..
This movie marks the second time Jon Voight has portrayed a legendary college coach. In Glory Road (2006), he portrayed Adolph Rupp. See more »
During the game between Woodlawn and Banks where it is pouring with rain, the Woodlawn sideline players and coaches are seen to be wet. However, the Banks sideline players and coaches are dry with dry hair and clothing. The rain can be seen falling in front of them. See more »
I'm asking you to stand up, to make a decision, to change, to forgive, and to be forgiven.
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Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing See more »
Woodlawn is quite an inspirational real-life high school football drama
While there is a Woodlawn High School in my town of Baton Rouge, LA, this one is about a Woodlawn in Birmingham, AL, that seemed in danger of closing because of the racial incidents that happened when it was integrated in the early '70s. The coach employs a motivational speaker-played by Sean Astin-to help heal whatever issues the school football players had with each other and it seems to do the trick, especially when one of the black players-Tony Nathan-suddenly becomes very valuable to the team. I'll stop there and just say this is quite an inspirational true-life drama to watch in light of recent racial strife we seem to be going through right now. Oh, and I also liked Jon Voight's playing of legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, as well. So on that note, I recommend Woodlawn.
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