(2015) (Caleb Castille, Nic Bishop) (PG)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: An African-American high school student of the early 1970s must contend with racism as he becomes a star football player, all while the team, coaches and community become united through Christianity.
- It's 1973 and Tandy Gerelds (NIC BISHOP) is the football coach at Woodlawn High School in the racially charged city of Birmingham, Alabama. Tandy and his assistant coach, Jerry Stearns (KEVIN SIZEMORE), have long operated in the shadow of Coach Shorty White (C. THOMAS HOWELL) and his rival football team at Banks High School, led by star quarterback Jeff Rutledge (RICHARD KOHNKE). But now they must contend with other issues when Woodlawn becomes integrated as black students are bused to the school, much to the chagrin of racist parents, students and even some players on the team.
Initially taking some of the brunt of that is junior Tony Nathan (CALEB CASTILLE) who's suddenly thrust into the star spotlight when he proves his prowess on the field through his speed and elusiveness. His parents, Louise (SHERRI SHEPHERD) and Junior (LANCE NICHOLS), are thrilled, and Tony ends up drawing the romantic attention of fellow student, Johnnie (JOY BRUNSON), but Board of Education official Gene Whitehurst (BRETT RICE) isn't pleased about the rising racial tensions.
In steps Christian religious crusader Hank Erwin (SEAN ASTIN) who offers to help, much to the chagrin of Coach Gerelds who isn't a religious man. But when he sees how Christianity unifies his team, he becomes a believer, and his team starts an unlikely winning streak. That draws the attention of legendary University of Alabama head coach Bear Bryant (JON VOIGHT) who wants to recruit Tony to attend his school and play on his team. As Tony's junior and then senior years progress, he must make a choice about that, all while Christianity continues to unify the community and even the players and coach at Banks High School.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- The high school football meets religion angle might draw in some.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
- For thematic elements including some racial tension/violence.
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