Release date: Tuesday December 25, 2007
Running time: 123 min.
Director: Denzel Washington
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Producer(s): Denzel Washington, Joe Roth, Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey, Todd Black
Screenplay: Robert Eisele, Suzan-Lori Parks
Cast: Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise
Official site: thegreatdebatersmovie.com
Rating: PG-13 for depiction of strong thematic material including violence and disturbing images, and for language and brief sexuality
Washington stars and also directs the the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and inspired by a true story, “The Great Debaters” chronicles the journey of a brilliant but volatile coach (Denzel Washington) who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small, modest black college in East Texas into an elite debate team while challenging the social mores of the time, culminating with a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard’s championship team.