We Are Marshall Parent Guide
An inspirational football movie about pressing forward in the face of grief.
Parent Movie Review
For much of the country, a 1970’s plane crash in West Virginia was a tragic story on the evening news. But for the community of Huntington, West Virginia, it was much, much more.
The accident claimed 75 lives, including 37 members of the Marshall University’s varsity football team, most of the coaching staff, the game’s announcer, the school’s athletic director, several prominent citizens and five airline crewmembers. Twenty-eight local children lost at least one parent in the burning wreckage of the chartered DC-9 and a whole community was left reeling and stunned.
Understandably, in the aftermath, university president Donald Dedmon (David Strathairn) wants to discontinue or at least indefinitely suspend the athletic program. But for the injured team captain, Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie) and three remaining players who missed the ill-fated flight, the idea of canceling the upcoming season is unacceptable. Rallying the student body, Nate challenges the school officials’ decision.
Still not everyone is ready to see the Thundering Herd take to the gridiron again. Concerned academic administrators, inconsolable classmates and grieving parents feel it’s too soon to field a team. Among them is distraught father and institution board member Paul Griffen (Ian McShane) whose son Chris (Wes Brown) was killed. He refuses to support Dedmon’s appointment of Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) as a new head coach.
Even Jack realizes the position isn’t an enviable one. His arrival on campus is a reminder of everything the community has lost. Yet in spite of the locals’ cool reception, the coach, whose personality is often as loud as the plaid sports jackets he wears, understands the necessity of rebuilding not only a team but also a town.
Following a flush of sports films like Glory Road, Invincible and Gridiron Gang, this movie looks like old news. However, the script offers more than just first downs and quarterback sacks.
We Are Marshall deals with the difficult steps of grief: denial, anger, guilt, and acceptance. The movie follows player, coaches, parents, and community members as they to come to terms with the ordeal.
While the script contains some profanities and one depiction of drinking in the dorm, the story focuses on teamwork, the meaning of success and the inevitable sweat factor needed to accomplish tough tasks. For this under aged, undersized, inexperienced team, winning means more than the points on the scoreboard, it means playing until the final whistle blows. And that’s a worthwhile message for kids caught up in the numbers game.Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Mackie, David Strathairn. Theatrical release December 21, 2006. Updated March 28, 2020
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We Are Marshall
Rating & Content Info
Why is We Are Marshall rated PG? We Are Marshall is rated PG by the MPAA for emotional thematic material, a crash scene and mild language.
Following a loss to East Carolina University, almost the entire Marshall University team is killed in a fiery plane crash. Emotional trauma is depicted as family and friends learn of the tragic accident and endure the funerals and memorial services. A group of boys share a case of beer in the dorm after a football practice. The script also includes moderate amounts of profanities.
Page last updated March 28, 2020
We Are Marshall Parents' Guide
When Jack Lengyel needs help with a new play, he approaches the coach of a rival team for pointers. What does he gain from being willing to ask for something? In what ways does the opposing team show support for the Marshall squad?
Grief is messy. How does each of the characters deal with their own personal heartache? What emotions does each person have to work through? Why does it take different amounts of time for everyone?
Coach Lengyel asks his team to play until the final whistle blows. What does he mean? Why is perseverance an important part of achievement? Is scoring the most points in a game the only way to measure success?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson tells of the every day life of an NFL player- and the problems that go with it.
H.G. Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights follows the Permian High School Panthers football team as they try for the Texas state championship.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis discusses both the changing strategies and dynamics of professional football in the United States, as well as the true story of Michael Oher, a young man who was born in poverty, and how he became a highly sought after prospect in the world of college football.
The most recent home video release of We Are Marshall movie is September 17, 2007. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Hurst, centers on the difficulties African-American coach Herman Boone faces as he tries to de-segregate the local high school football team.
Brian Banks tells the story of Brian Banks, a young man from a tough part of town, who sees football as a way out of his situation.
Dr Bennet Omalu, played by Will Smith in Concussion, is a pathologist from Pittsburgh whose research uncovers some of the serious risks endemic in playing professional football.