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4.8 out of 5 stars127
4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2008
This is Denzel Washington at his best with the added bonus of him being the director. This is a true story about the debate team of Wiley College. Denzel Washington is the Professor who picks and leads the team every year. For the year in question he chooses Samantha, Henry and James Farmer Jr the latter of whom is only 14yrs old. He goes about training them to become an unstoppable force but life is not just about school and debates in the deep south. Black oppression, violence and lynching feature in all their lives and seep into their ties to each other and their families.
This is a movie about inner strength, belief and determination getting you to a better place and a better world. Utterly wonderful movie especially after finding out it is based on true characters who went on to achieve much.
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on 12 April 2008
We saw this film on a flight from the US, and were very moved by it. Denzel Washington is at his most visionary; unyielding in his vision of bringing equal rights to people of the Southern States of America in the 1930's. The film shows him inspiring a generation of black students to find their voices, to stand up and be heard in a series of intellectual debates with other universities - eventually, with "anglo-saxon" universitites; culminating in the most challenging of all. This is a true story; the uncompromising choices the students have to make to hold onto their own sense of worth and justice is riveting. Wonderfully acted, and directed by Denzel Washington himself, in a fine role. In the tradition of 'Dead Poets Society' - but much more profoundly based.
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on 9 September 2008
I personally think this is the absolute best of Denzel. Saw the characters and story line on Oprah and decided to buy it. The Characters were accurate, the acting superb. So brilliant I watched it with my 11 year old daughter to teach her to overcome in the face of adversity. Watched it 3 times since and will watch it again as I always get something new to raise the children with. We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do'! watch it.
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It is 1935, and at a small Negro college in Texas, Professor Tolson (Denzel Washington) is coaching the debate team. Its members include a sweet girl, a ladies' man, and a 14-year old whiz-kid. The students blossom under Tolson's leadership, but his extra-curricular activities may be a problem; at night he is secretly unionizing the share croppers, and the sheriff doesn't like it one bit.

I never expected a movie about a debate team to be intense, scary, or exhilarating, but "The Great Debaters" is all that and more. There are two stories here - one is the debate team and the other is life under segregation; both stories are compelling. The acting is uniformly outstanding; Forrest Whitaker and Washington support some lesser-known, but extremely talented young stars. We get to know their characters and care about them as they overcome their various obstacles to become the top Negro college debate team in the country.

The injustices of segregation are vividly and heartbreakingly portrayed; it was quite a sobering look at the legalized cruelty of that time and place. The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more inspiring. Heartily recommended.
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on 11 March 2011
I loved this movie very uplifting. Makes you realise how lucky we are now with freedom of speech, without lynching involved. Not for the faint hearted but my teenage daugter watched it and now joined debating club at school can be that inspirational. Recommend buy.
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on 16 September 2011
I am a BIG Denzel Washington fan, I have been waiting a very long time to see this film, it has only ever been released as a Region 1 film (America) and finally it has been released as a Region 2 film (Europe) and it has NOT disappointed me. The film is based on a True Story of Wiley College Debate Team. The main stars include the great Denzel Washington (also produced this film) and Forest Whitaker. The lesser known stars were also brilliant, I also found it good as there was no swearing in this film. This film is about winning and determination, not letting anyone stand in your way! Oh and yes there is some sad parts, so get a tissue at the ready!
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on 1 July 2010
Great Debaters (Ws) [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] This is an excellent movie in every word!!! Every young African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean and man of black origin should watch this movie. I was blown away with story, the cinematography, the spoken word and vocal prowess of the characters in the film. Well done Denzel Washington for an extraordinary effort on this movie. Watching this movie will move to do something and you will not be disappointed for the time given to see this highly understated movie of 2007.
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on 30 June 2011
It is such a sad thing that this film did not get a wider cinematic distribution. This is a fantastic film and I would recommend that every home should have it.
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on 27 December 2009
this movie as inspired me to find out more about me roots and to see what my fore parents went through for me, It brought tears to my eyes, and will stay with me for a long time.

No one else can play these roles as Denzel can, he is just the man for these type of movies.
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on 28 February 2012
Much has been filmed and more has been written about the civil rights movement, yet this film manages to bring the issues to new life.

The historical backdrop is detailed without being preachy and is packed with information that really is not widely known

Solid, workmanlike performances from a top notch cast depict characters that the viewer really does come to care about. Rich cinematography and extremely satisfying bonus features bring real historical weight to the film. And the slick screenplay provides some very, very memorable moments: "the time for justice, the time for equality, is always, always right now!"

The wonder is that this film slipped through the awards season entirely unnoticed.

In short this is a must have for anyone interested in the origins of the civil rights movement or for anyone who simply wishes to lose themselves in a vividly evoked past peopled by remarkable individuals who have courage, eloquence and a lot of style.
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