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The Great Debaters

  PG-13 HD Closed Captioning

Denzel Washington

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Plot Summary

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.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

79%
  • Reviews Counted: 129
  • Fresh: 102
  • Rotten: 27
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: There are enough things to admire about The Great Debaters, the heavily fictionalized true story of The Little Debate Team That Could, that your impulse is to forgive the movie its shortcomings. – Stephen Holden, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: ...The Great Debaters soars with words and feeling. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: The film may be manipulative in its construction, and cliche-ridden in some of the incidents it recounts, but it has a good, large heart. – Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, Oct 18, 2008

Rotten: It's ultimately less a movie than a high-gloss civics lesson. – Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star, Oct 18, 2008

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Never gets old

I am shocked how unpopular this movie is because it is truly an amazing movie that should not go unnoticed. It isn't like "any other racism movie," but instead a movie with a touching storyline that has powerful actors and has a genuine storyline. Highly recommended to anybody!!

This movie deserves more credit!

i saw this movie in my english class and at first i thought "oh great another movie about racism". i was wrong. this movie not only showed the true story of the great debaters(exeot 4 the fact tht they debated against usc not harvard) but showed the art of debating. not only is denzel washington great as always but all of the cast are amzing. i actually didnt believe wehn i first saw that there were no reviews. well i am honored to be the first to write th first review of an amzing movie

OMGH

This movie is amazing! i saw it in English class and i was blown away! it is so deep and has such an amazing message! i strongly encourage you to buy it not only on iTunes, but also in stores. It is a great movie!

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