The Great Debaters movoe photo

The Great Debaters

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.

-- Box Office --
Released: Dec 25th, 2007
Budget: N/A
Revenue: N/A

The Great Debaters Main Cast

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Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington
plays Melvin B. Tolson
Nate Parker
Nate Parker
plays Henry Lowe
Jurnee Smollett
Jurnee Smollett
plays Samantha Booke
Denzel Whitaker
Denzel Whitaker
plays James Farmer Jr.
Jermaine Williams
Jermaine Williams
plays Hamilton Burgess
[More Cast]

Movie Trivia/Goofs

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  • Movie Goof (anachronisms): When Prof. Tolson lectures his students about the origin of the word "lynching," he refers to the Willie Lynch Letter or Willie Lynch Speech, which are generally considered modern-day hoaxes. There is no historical or archival record of either before the 1990s, when they first appeared on the Internet. No 1930s professor could have cited them.
  • This movie was the first since 1979 to be allowed to film on Harvard's campus.
  • Movie Goof (continuity error): When James gets home after being selected for the debate team, he is holding his books with their spines towards his left arm. But when he sets them down to go speak with his father, the spines are towards his right.
  • Movie Goof (factual errors): In 1935, Marshall, Texas, was major rail center, not a one-track whistle stop.
View All: Trivia - Goofs - Quotes


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