In the midst of both the Great Depression and volatile race relations, a charismatic professor nurtures the confidence, cleverness, and eloquence of four determined students. Inspired by actual events, The Great Debaters celebrates the amazing victories of a unique debating team from all-African American Wiley College in 1935. Four students are chosen to train intensively in argument and persuasion, and the phenomenal success of their modest team attracts the attention of the elite at Harvard University. In his sophomore directing effort, Denzel Washington gracefully guides the action and allows the young stars to shine. His own role of debate coach, poet, and union organizer is powerful, and he is well-matched by Forest Whitaker’s presence as the father of one of the debaters. Distributed by Harpo Films and the Weinstein Company, The Great Debaters is an impassioned story both thought-provoking and satisfying.