• The Great Debaters (2007)

The Great Debaters

Release Date: December 25th, 2007

DVD Release Date: May 13th, 2008

PG-13 |2 hr 7 min

Plot Summary

Poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) teaches at the predominately black Wiley College in 1935 Texas. He decides to start a debate team, something nearly unheard of at a black college. While at first he butts heads with the influential father (Forest Whitaker) of one of his best debators, eventually he is able to form a team of strong-minded, intelligent young students, and they become the first black debate team to challenge Harvard's prestigious debate champions.

Cast: Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Nate Parker, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Denzel Whitaker, Jermaine Williams, Gina Ravera, John Heard

Director: Denzel Washington

Genres: Docudrama

Production Co: Harpo Films

Distributors: Weinstein Co.

Keywords: 1930s , Rise , Quest , Inspiring ,

Ratings & Reviews

  • 88
    Carrie RickeyPhiladelphia Inquirer

    A triumph. Unapologetically old-school, in both the literal and metaphorical meanings of the term, Debaters overlays the story of social underdogs onto the familiar template of the stand-and-deliver saga, the staple of sports inspirationals like "Rocky," "Invincible" and "The Karate Kid." show more

  • 70
    Kirk HoneycuttThe Hollywood Reporter

    An earnest drama about the search for self-esteem and sense of responsibility among young black people that successfully relies on its fine actors. show more

  • 70
    Joe MorgensternWall Street Journal

    Mr. Washington is splendid, as always. So is Forest Whitaker as James Farmer, Sr. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

Awards

Nominated Best Motion Picture - Drama