The Great Debaters
The Great Debaters (2007)

True story of professor Melvin B. Tolson who formed a debate team at a small, African American college in the 1930s. The team went on to beat Harvard in the national debate championships.

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 25, 2007
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
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Critic Score: 79% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A wonderful cast and top-notch script elevate The Great Debaters beyond a familiar formula for a touching, uplifting drama.

Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly

Despite its transparent manipulations, the film is more decent than it deserves to be, particularly when the kids step up to the podium and get passionate

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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Great Debaters is well-acted, deeply felt and delivers a positive message about the importance of education.

Heather Huntington

Washington directed as well as starred, and it is clear he has no trouble wearing both hats at once

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

As for Mr. Parker and Ms. Smollett, there's no debating what awaits them -- stardom, very soon.

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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

The film may be manipulative in its construction, and cliché-ridden in some of the incidents it recounts, but it has a good, large heart.

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Austin Kennedy
Sin Magazine

This is a wonderfully acted and directed movie, that has something important to say

Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor

The Great Debaters succeeds in bringing a lump to the throat without, as is de rigueur these days, insulting our intelligence.

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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

...The Great Debaters soars with words and feeling.

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Kevin McCarthy

I was having mediocre day and I walked out of the movie totally pumped up and ready for the rest of the day, even though it was 10pm at night.

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More reviews for The Great Debaters

Flixster Audience Score: 86% Flixster User Reviews
Daniel Perry
Inspiring American story that''s told much like a sports movie - very much a "feel-good" film, not amazing but quite enjoyable.
erika bruhns
The great debaters are based on a true story about an all black debate team journey to the top. Over time they all white debate teams that are prejudice of the… More
danny d
an amazing film without question. let me start with my disclaimer, denzel admitted to knowingly and willfully changing major facts in this story for the… More
familiar stranger
I wanted to see it since long, but wasn't much eager due to its (boring) title. I wasn't too keen to watch a bunch of teams debate. However, after… More
Raymond Wieser
When it comes to the racial issues touched upon in this film, we only skim the surface, but when it comes to the art of debating, this film is more than a… More
Josh Lewis
A smart film that deals with racism and many other themes with an unflinching and humane touch. Great performances from everyone, including the newcomers, helps… More