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(2000) (Denzel Washington, Will Patton) (PG)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Mild None Minor None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama: A newly assigned black football coach tries to inspire his recently integrated team to victory during the racial unrest of the early 1970s.
It's the summer of 1971 and racial integration has arrived at Alexandria, Virginia's T.C. Williams High School. The first institution affected by the ruling is the Titans football team, with Herman Boone (DENZEL WASHINGTON), a black coach, being brought in to replace Bill Yoast (WILL PATTON), the longstanding, successful and well-respected white coach.

Tempers obviously flare, with Yoast and his nine-year-old, football fanatic daughter, Sheryl (HAYDEN PANETTIERE) sharing the outrage of his players and the community. Boone, who's just moved to the area with his wife, Carol (NICOLE PARKER) and daughter, Nicky (KRYSTEN LEIGH JONES), isn't crazy about the idea either, but when he experiences the outpouring of support from the local black community, he knows he can do the job.

Although hurt by his sudden demotion, Yoast decides to stay on as Boone's assistant, mainly to keep his white players from quitting the team and thus jeopardizing their chances of continuing in the sport. As such, the two coaches call a reluctant truce and take their players off to summer training camp.

There, Boone hopes to integrate the white players, including captain Gerry Bertier (RYAN HURST) and fellow veteran Ray Budds (BURGESS JENKINS) along with transfer students Lewis Lastik (ETHAN SUPLEE) and backup quarterback Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass (KIP PARDUE) with the new black players including quarterback Julius "Big Ju" Campbell (WOOD HARRIS), running back Petey Jones (DONALD FAISON), as well as Jerry "The Rev" Harris (CRAIG KIRKWOOD) and Darryl "Blue" Stanton (EARL POITIER), into one cohesive team where race has no bearing.

Employing a Marine-like training regimen and trying to keep Yoast's leadership tendencies in check as his new defensive coordinator, Boone makes his various players spend time together, getting to know each other as people and teammates. Successfully completing that, the now unified team returns from camp for the first day of school, only to find that the rest of the student body clearly isn't as comfortable being integrated as they are.

Nonetheless, and despite facing varied reactions from those around them - such as Gerry's girlfriend, Emma Hoyt (KATE BOSWORTH), who has a hard time dealing with his acceptance and defense of his new black teammates as his friends - Boone, co-captains Bertier and Campbell, and their team set out to prove that as a cohesive and disciplined unit, they can overcome any diversity thrown their way as they set out for another victorious football season.

If they're into football or football movies, they probably will.
For thematic elements and some language.
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON plays a black coach who's brought in to replace a white, high school football coach in the name of integration. Having to deal with racist comments, attitudes and actions from some of his white players and others in the community, he strives to create a unified team of black and white players who can overcome whatever obstacles necessary to win.
  • WILL PATTON plays the team's original coach who's understandably upset about being replaced for no reason other than as a pacification tactic reportedly to appease those behind the integration effort. Relegated to assistant coach, he sticks with the team - at first only to keep the white players on it - but then eventually comes around to supporting Boone without any reservations or second-guessing of his coaching decisions.
  • RYAN HURST plays the white captain of the team who initially isn't crazy about the integration or new coach, but quickly becomes a big supporter of both.
  • BURGESS JENKINS plays his friend and fellow veteran player who can't overcome his racist attitude toward the black players.
  • WOOD HARRIS plays the team's black captain who befriends Gerry and tries to hold the team together when the going gets rough.
  • DONALD FAISON plays a black running back with a lot of attitude that gets put into check when he meets and must play under Boone.
  • HAYDEN PANETTIERE plays Yoast's nine-year-old, football fanatic daughter who's initially disrespectful toward Boone (because he replaced her father as coach), but eventually changes her ways (and is only interested in football).
  • ETHAN SUPLEE plays a white transfer student who could care less about skin color and only wants to play football.
  • KIP PARDUE plays a laid-back, white transfer student from California who takes over as the team's quarterback.
  • CRAIG KIRKWOOD plays another teammate who's known as the "Rev" for his inspirational behavior toward life and the game.
  • EARL POITIER plays another African-American player who must deal with the forced integration.
  • KATE BOSWORTH plays Gerry's girlfriend who finds it difficult to accept Gerry's friendship with the team's black players (although she eventually changes her ways).


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief look at the content found in this PG rated drama. Various racist remarks and attitudes (and some brief, threatening behavior) are present as students, coaches and residents deal with the integration of the local high school in the early 1970s and the replacement of the longstanding white coach with a black coach.

    That leads to some fighting between the players, and some minor property damage. Standard, bone-jarring football violence occurs on the field, and a person's car is suddenly, but accidentally hit by a large truck, resulting in the first driver being paralyzed from the waist down. Profanity consists of only a handful of expletives, while a few colorful phrases are also present.

    One male player kisses another male player, but it seems more in a goading rather than romantic/sexual fashion, we see and/or hear some vomiting and a few miscellaneous characters drink. The film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. That said, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings.

  • Some adults may have drinks at a rally, but the contents of their beverages couldn't be ascertained.
  • Some people have wine at a reception.
  • We briefly see one of the players vomit.
  • We hear Herman vomit before a game.
  • A truck accidentally smashes into a car at an intersection, resulting in the driver of the car being paralyzed from the waist down (and we later see him in a hospital with some bloody cut, scrapes and bruises on his face).
  • Various people, such as Yoast's assistant coach and various white players (on their and opposing teams) behave in a racist manner and make some racist remarks such as calling Herman or other African-Americans, "animals," "boy, "Sambo," "monkey" and "coons," and some neighborhood people remark that all it takes is for one (black person) to move in and then the neighborhood will be overrun.
  • Sheryl initially has a bad attitude toward Herman, not because he's black, but because he replaced her father as the head coach (and because she's a huge football fanatic).
  • Gary initially has a bad attitude toward Herman - as he makes his own demands that aren't met - but he quickly changes his ways and becomes one of the stalwart defenders of the black players and integration.
  • Forced to get to know one another, one white player asks a black player if he has a daddy and then if he has a job.
  • From a coaching standpoint, Yoast is disrespectful to Herman by occasionally questioning his authority and decisions in front of the players (although this changes as the story progresses), and some may see Herman as being too tough on his high school players.
  • Emma is disrespectful to the black players and students, refusing to shake Julius' hand (although she eventually comes around, changes her ways and does shake his hand).
  • A white restaurant owner won't serve several black players.
  • Someone throws a brick through Herman's window trying to intimidate him.
  • Some officials and referees conspire to call fouls against Herman's team to make him lose, and then throw out Yoast's nomination for the state Hall of Fame for standing up to them about that.
  • A white coach calls Herman a monkey and says that his white players will knock the "chocolate" out of the black players.
  • A truck accidentally smashes into a car at an intersection, resulting in the driver of the car being paralyzed from the waist down (and we later see him in a hospital with some bloody cut, scrapes and bruises on his face).
  • Shotgun: Retrieved and held by Herman after someone throws a brick through his window, but otherwise not used.
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "Coons," "Cracker," "Jerks," "Fruitcake," "Busted his butt," "Don't give a damn" and "Go to hell."
  • It's possible some kids could repeat/imitate some of the racist remarks and attitudes directed toward the black players, coaches, etc.
  • Someone throws a brick through Herman's window trying to intimidate him.
  • None.
  • A tiny bit of ominous sounding music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 2 damns, 1 crap, 1 hell, 1 incomplete S.O.B. and 2 uses of "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • Ronnie plants a kiss on Gerry in the locker room, but we don't know if it's serious or just trying to goad him on.
  • None.
  • Talking as the film's narrator, Sheryl states that her mother left her father due to his preoccupation with coaching football.
  • The historical accuracy of and/or artistic license taken with the true story.
  • Racial integration and racism.
  • Whether it was right for Herman to replace Yoast as the head coach.
  • During a racial protest, someone throws something through a storefront window.
  • Little Sheryl kicks a man in the leg after getting upset with him.
  • Gerry and Julius struggle in their room with Julius elbowing Gerry in the gut. Gerry then holds Julius down and punches him, with Julius then punching him back. Other players then race into the room and struggle with each other.
  • The football players get into another scuffle.
  • After Ronnie plants a kiss on him in the locker room, Gerry tries to punch him several times with a person being knocked to the floor.
  • Various instances of on-field football violence take place during the games (players violently tackling, hitting others, etc.).
  • Some players get into a fight with some punches being thrown before they're separated and other students get into a scuffle.
  • Someone throws a brick through Herman's window trying to intimidate him.
  • We see a montage of players hitting an old car with a sledgehammer, but it's apparently for some sort of charitable event.
  • A truck accidentally smashes into a car at an intersection, resulting in the driver of the car being paralyzed from the waist down (and we later see him in the hospital with some bloody cut, scrapes and bruises on his face).

  • Reviewed September 12, 2000 / Posted September 29, 2000

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