Movie Ratings, Family Movie Reviews & More!

The Great Debaters


Dec 24, 2007

Latest Home Video

Jan 11, 2011

MPAA Rating



Denzel Washington


Denzel Washington
Forest Whitaker.


2007 Weinstein Company

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: The Great Debaters.

Get Our Full Review


The Great Debaters is based on a true story of Mel Tolson (Denzel Washington), a Texas professor who encourages his African-American students to believe they can take on the world. In 1935, he puts together and coaches a debate team, hoping they can compete against Harvard University in an upcoming championship.

Content Details

Why Is The Great Debaters Rated PG-13?

The Great Debaters is rated PG-13 for depiction of strong thematic material including violence and disturbing images, and for language and brief sexuality.

See Canadian Movie Ratings

Here is additional information on sex, violence and profanity in The Great Debaters...

This inspirational story of a small black college’s debate team during the 1930s provides a glimpse into African American history during the dark years of the Great Depression. Scenes of violence, torture and prejudice toward black people may be disturbing to viewers, although the film never becomes gratuitous in this area. Men are seen beating others, one man is shown with major injuries to his face, and mobs are depicted chasing men and attempting to lynch them. Perhaps the most violent moment is the explicit depiction of a burning body hung from a cross, including close-ups of the man’s legs. The corpse is also seen falling from the cross to the ground. Sexual content includes an encounter between an unmarried man and woman (embracing and kissing in bed is followed by a scene of them waking up the next morning covered only with bed sheets). Language is limited to mild profanities and a few terms of deity, however racial slurs and derogatory names for African Americans are heard many times (spoken both by blacks and whites). Characters are seen drinking alcohol, some to the point of drunkenness (one man picks a fight with another while they are inebriated). A principle character smokes a pipe.

Home Video Viewing Alternatives

Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to The Great Debaters.

Denzel Washington also stars in Remember the Titans, another film about conquering racial prejudice. In Akeelah and the Bee a young African-American girl takes on the challenges of the National Spelling Bee with the help of a dedicated coach.

News & Views About The Great Debaters:

18 Movies to Commemorate Black History Month

18 Movies to Commemorate Black History Month

February marks Black History Month, an annual observance in the United States and Canada. The first celebration of Black History Month took place on Kent State University in 1970. The U.S. government officially recognized it as part of the bicentennial celebrations in 1976. In commemoration of the event we’ve compiled ...

Read more

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Violence, Coarse Language, Sexually Suggestive Scene.
MB PG Mature Theme.
ON PG Violence, Not Recommended for Young Children, Disturbing Content.
Not Rated

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of The Great Debaters...

The Great Debatersreleases on Blu-ray on January 11, 2011.

DVD Release Date: 13 May 2008

The Great Debaters takes to the DVD stage and delivers its message along with an audio commentary, deleted scenes, music videos, and a text/photo gallery. Featurettes on music, casting, costume design and the poetry of Melvin Tolson are also included. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital Stereo (English).

Add Your Comments

Commenting is restricted to members only.
Please log in below or, if you're not yet a member, please register.

Forgot password? | register

Please note: So we can maintain a website with content appropriate for all ages, we moderate all comments and will edit profanities, slanderous remarks and other inappropriate language. For these reasons, your comments may not appear immediately.

There are currently no comments on this review. Be sure to add yours with the form below.

You May Be Interested...

Also On The Web