"Victory on the Field and in the Heart"
What You Need To Know:
Based on a true story, REMEMBER THE TITANS depicts the reality of forced integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971 and the impact of having courage tempered by good character. Though the movie’s racial theme is not always easy, the casting and performances by Washington, Will Patton as the assistant coach and Donald Faison as one of the players are excellent. Despite a few questionable elements, this movie gives an important life-lesson about exchanging hate for loyal friendships. It is a refreshing and uplifting, often humorous, look at the antics of high school football
(BBB, CC, Ro, V, N, M) Strong moral worldview of characters learning to overcome prejudice by building deep friendships & other moral undertones with some Christian & romantic elements such as implied team prayer with depicted “Amen,” man says, “I’m not a savior, I’m a football coach,” Christian character called “the Rev” who wants to be a pastor, recital of Isaiah 40:31 in a song, & some characters’ actions are done on a whim; no obscenities or profanities but some uses of ‘coon’ & other racial epithets, depiction of boy vomiting & implied vomiting; football violence, young girl kicks man in shins but no injury, rioting with depicted bottle thrown through window, large group brawl later rebuked, depictions of bruises & black eyes, parents riot with depicted shouting & anger, rock thrown through family’s window, & depicted car crash with bruises & scratches on character; no sex; upper male nudity in locker room; and, racism & male kisses other male briefly, in a non-homosexual context, as a joke.
Denzel Washington stars as Herman Boone in REMEMBER THE TITANS. Boone is a young black coach given the head coaching position at an all-white high school that has merged with an all-black school because of forced integration. Met with disdain, anger and a divided football team of racial foes, Coach Boone must teach them unity.
As a result of the forced integration, white senior head coach Bill Yoast, played by Will Patton, is dropped from his position and replaced by Coach Boone. This not only upsets Coach Yoast, but also his daughter Cheryl, a girl who would rather help her dad coach football than play with dolls. Herman, though aware of his own capabilities, doesn’t want Yoast to be left out and offers him an assistant coaching position. At first, Yoast refuses, but when told by the white players on the team that they won’t play if he leaves, he decides to do it.
The players go head to head with each other, fighting and bickering over having to play with the others. As the team prepares to leave for football camp, two players confront Coach Boone, who puts them in their place. It is this moment that shows the other players not only that he’s in charge, but that he’s a tough coach. Once at camp, the boys are forced to live, practice and eat with one another. Tempers flare, but little by little, confrontations turn into accomplishments not only for the team, but also for the two coaches as well.
Returning from camp united, the team realizes they are back in the world, with the first day of school filled with protesting parents, glares and fighting. Realizing the need to stay together, many of the players take courageous stands against the racial bigotry and remain close with their teammates. Even so, Coach Boone must deal with the opposition as well as the school board when it tells him that, unless he wins every game, he will be out of a job. Amid the many trials that the players and coaches face, it is clear in REMEMBER THE TITANS that the real victory lies in changed hearts.
Based on a true story, REMEMBER THE TITANS depicts the reality of forced integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971 and the righteousness of having courage tempered by good character. Though the movie’s racial theme is not always easy, the casting and performances by Washington and Patton are excellent, as is a particularly outstanding performance by Donald Faison as Petey, one of the players.
Despite a few questionable elements, this movie clearly takes a step back from other recent movies in its ability to carry out a compelling story without senseless violence, sex, nudity, and foul language. There is one scene in which a player, teased about being “different,” kisses his antagonist (another player) to throw him off balance. This is done as a joke, not as a homosexual element, but parents should be aware of it.
Ultimately, REMEMBER THE TITANS gives an important life-lesson about exchanging hate for loyal friendships. One of the best movies of the year, it is a refreshing and uplifting, often humorous, look at the positive side of high school football.