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The Great Debaters (2-Disc Special Collector's Edition)

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Product Overview

Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (American Gangster) directs and stars with Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) in this "important and deeply inspiring page from the not-so-distant past" (Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper). Inspired by a true story, Washington shines as a brilliant but politically radical debate team coach who uses the power of words to transform a group of underdog African American college students into an historical powerhouse that took on the Harvard elite. Featuring a superb cast of rising young actors, "The Great Debaters is marvelous entertainment that you should not miss" (Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer).


Studio Universal (Music)
SKU 207379264
UPC 796019811583
UPC 14 00796019811583
Format DVD
Release Date 5/21/2013
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  2.35:1
Name Washington,Denzel
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
David Crockett - Executive Producer
David J. Bomba - Production Designer
Denzel Washington - Director
Denzel Washington - Actor
Denzel Whitaker - Actor
Forest Whitaker - Actor
Gina Ravera - Actor
Hughes Winborne - Editor
James Newton Howard - Original Music By
Jeffrey Porro - Based On Story By
John Breinholt - Editor
John Heard - Actor
John R. Jensen - Art Director
Jurnee Smollett - Actor
Kimberly Elise - Actor
Nate Parker - Actor
Oprah Winfrey - Producer
Peter Golub - Original Music By
Philippe Rousselot - Cinematographer
Robert Eisele - Screenplay
Nominee (2008) Golden Globe, The Great Debaters, Best Motion Picture - Drama,Image Award, Denzel Washington, Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television),Image Award, Nate Parker, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture,Image Award, Forest Whitaker, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture,Image Award, Robert Eisele, Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)
Winner (2008) Image Award, Denzel Washington, Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture,Image Award, Jurnee Smollett, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture,Image Award, The Great Debaters, Outstanding Motion Picture,Image Award, Denzel Whitaker, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review Unfortunately, too many films made about racism during the first two-thirds of the 20th Century in America lose power on two grounds: a tendency to sermonize and an unwillingness to show the true ugliness of what went on. Neither of those faults plagues The Great Debaters, Denzel Washington's chronicle of the rise of a debating team from a small black Texas college during the 1930s. By highlighting themes of individual achievement against a daunting backdrop, Washington provides heroes who can be admired irrespective of their race, even though skin color is a huge part of the story. More significantly, he does not shy from showing the darkest aspects of human nature...Washington makes it evident that racism can be more ghastly than calling someone degrading names...The Great Debaters is ultimately an uplifting movie because it is about triumph. But there are harrowing moments along the way. The journey is affecting and honest without feeling manipulative and the screenplay and direction are handled with care and sensitivity for the subject matter. This is one of the better movies in recent years to address issues of racial inequality and the way in which individuals overcome them.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 9
Review Washington, who also directs, plays Melvin Tolson, a hard-nosed instructor who, in 1935, coaches his co-ed team through racially motivated obstacles while simultaneously protecting a secret that threatens to derail his team's historic run. A self-righteous leader, Tolson fills his vessels with the knowledge that a proper education is their sole ticket to a balanced life...Washington's direction is pedestrian, but his fiery performance injects energy into the conventional teacher-student formula. Eisele makes sure Tolson always has a speech at the ready, and some of them are even good. Washington's passion infects his young co-stars, who are uniformly impressive. Young Denzel Whitaker--who, believe it nor not, is related to neither Denzel Washington nor Forest Whitaker--stands out from Tolson's trio. He plays James Farmer Jr., the sympathetic son of the school's president and the third leg in a love triangle that includes fellow debaters Samantha Booke (Jurnee Smollett) and Henry Lowe (Nate Parker). During the film's finest moments, the oft broken-hearted teenager discovers the strength to persevere, learning the true power behind the right words spoken at the right time. His inspiring delivery swells from within, and that's a fact that can't be debated.
Reviewer Sean O'Connell
ReviewRating 7
DVD, Widescreen
Product Attributes
Actor Washington,Denzel
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer A triumph. Unapologetically old-school...[a] stand-and-deliver saga...
Jack Mathews, New York Daily News The three young actors are good, but the movie is held together from beginning to end by another riveting performance from Washington.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal Mr. Washington is splendid, as always. So is Forest Whitaker as James Farmer, Sr.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune Good story, well told. Interesting concept.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times One of the best pictures of the year! Powerful and inspiring.
Walter Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle An edifying and forthright drama that aims to create a lump in the throat, and succeeds.
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe For a film about the power of speech, it's the quiet moments of rapture that say everything.

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