The Great Debaters

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Released 2008

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Movie Summary

Director:
Denzel Washington
Released:
2008
Rating:
PG-13
From two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and an ensemble cast lead by Washington that includes Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, comes THE GREAT DEBATERS. Inspired by a true story, THE GREAT DEBATERS chronicles the journey of Professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington), a brilliant but volatile debate team coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small African American college in the deep south into a historically elite debate team. A controversial figure, Professor Tolson challenged the social mores of the time and was under constant fire for his unconventional and ferocious teaching methods as well as his radical political views. In their pursuit for excellence, Tolson's debate team receives a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard University's championship team. The film is directed by Denzel Washington and stars Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker, Denzel Whitaker, and Kimberly Elise. THE GREAT DEBATERS was written by Robert Eisele and produced by Todd Black, Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Roth.moreless

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Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Because it is so old-school Hollywood, with a weakness for standard moments and pat situations, The Great Debaters initially comes off as easily dismissible. Largely saving it from...

  • 70

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Tailor-made for maximum inspirational, historical and educational impact, The Great Debaters shines a bright spotlight on a remarkable example of black achievement long forgotten i...

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The wonder is that The Great Debaters transcends its own simplifying and manipulative ploys; it radiates nobility of spirit.

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Drama