The Great Debaters


Released in 2007, the movie is about how an underdog team from a small, black college goes on to challenge a highly reputed college in the national championship in debating. Set in the 1930s, it is based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
 
The school's English professor, Tolson, played by Denzel Washington, is a hard taskmaster who wants to drive only the best results from his debate team. For that, he holds grueling auditions and zeroes down on four people.
 
With Tolson’s strict teaching techniques and his disciplinary methods, he counsels and leads them to clinch many trophies that brings them face to face with Harvard in the national finals.
The film is not just about how an underdog team defeats the national champions. If you look at the bigger picture, the movie is about how the team members, the coach, the school and the community on the whole, believe that education is the only way to get out of the clinches of racism and discrimination.
 
With his flawless acting performance, Denzel Washington (who has directed the film as well), successfully puts across the point that 'an unjust law is no law at all', a strong message indeed.