Inspired by a true story, The Great Debaters chronicles the journey of Professor Melvin Tolson—played by Denzel Washington—a brilliant but volatile debate coach who uses the power of words to shape a group of students into a historically elite debate team. A controversial figure, Professor Tolson challenged the social mores of the 1930s and was under constant fire for his unconventional and ferocious teaching methods, as well as his radical political views.
In their pursuit for excellence, Tolson's debate team, which hails from a small African-American college in Texas, receives a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard University's championship team. The film is directed by two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington and stars Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Jurnee Smollett, Nate Parker and Denzel Whitaker.
The Great Debaters was written by Robert Eisele and produced by Todd Black, Kate Forte, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Roth. Presented by The Weinstein Company, The Great Debaters will be released by MGM on December 25, 2007.