Believe in Me



Sweet, feel-good sports flick is girl-powered.
  • Review Date: September 4, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The overlooked girls' basketball team realizes that they can -- and should -- play as competitively as their male counterparts. Coach Driscoll goes from grumbling about coaching girls to preferring it. The girls demand to be treated just like the boy athletes and command the respect and loyalty of their school and town.

Violence & scariness

The Lady Cyclones get into an on-court fight with another team, and the girls punch, wrestle, and pull each other's hair. A father forces his daughter off the team by physically dragging her away.

Sexy stuff

Mild kissing between the coach and his wife; a high-school student elopes and gets pregnant (causing scandal). In a brief locker room scene, a girl is shown in her bra.


About as clean as a live-action film can get: one instance of "ass," and mild utterances of frustration like "doggonit!"

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is one of the few films in the "inspiring sports drama" genre that deals with female athletes. Battling the sexist double standard that girls' teams don't matter as much as boys' is the movie's central theme. Based on a true story, the film is set in 1960s Oklahoma; men, particularly fathers, are depicted as having complete authority. One of the teenage athletes elopes and has a baby. At first it's a big scandal, but she's eventually accepted and let back on the team. Adoption is discussed as being a peculiar, uncommon occurrence.

What's the story?

Girls? The thought of coaching them seems preposterous to Clay Driscoll (earnest newcomer Jeffrey Donovan), who travels to Middleton, Okla., in the 1960s prepared to coach the varsity boys' team. But that position is filled, so he's forced to coach the girls' team -- the Lady Cyclones. Faced with an underperforming crew of untrained players, the coach begins to treat the girls like boys. They run laps in a closed gym and practice shots and plays they've never tried before -- and eventually their "old-fashioned grit" leads them to a Cinderella season culminating with the state championships. Along their way, Driscoll and the girls overcome several obstacles, most of all, gaining a fan base. Meanwhile, big man in town Ellis Brawley (Bruce Dern) can't stand Driscoll and his newfangled idea of empowering female athletes. Of course, the Lady Cyclones are up to the task of proving Brawley wrong. Driven by their caring young coach, the girls determine to play as hard as the boys, even though they know they'll probably end up "farmers' and ranchers' wives." Can they achieve their winning moment at State? You can only guess.

Is it any good?


Movies about underdog sports teams defying the odds to reach athletic victories are so common that they tend to blur together after a while (was that the one with the first all-black basketball lineup or the first integrated football team or the first season after a tragic accident?). And yet, each manages to be heartfelt, no matter how hokey the Hollywood formula has gotten. Believe In Me is no different -- except that this time the underdogs are girls. Yes, it's predictable and features far less star power than many other sports dramas, but this film is a feel-good history lesson that all kids -- especially girls -- should take to heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the Lady Cyclones weren't as valued as the boys' basketball team. Is sexism still evident in high-school -- or even professional -- sports? What can be done to change that? How did Coach Driscoll treat his players "like boys"? How did the team prove Mr. Brawley wrong? What has changed since the 1960s for young women interested in sports? Can you think of female athletes who serve as role models in various sports? Why don't more sports movies deal with female athletes' teams?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 8, 2007
DVD release date:September 4, 2007
Cast:Bruce Dern, Jeffrey Donovan, Samantha Mathis
Director:Robert Collector
Studio:IFC Entertainment
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild thematic elements and language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 7 years old April 9, 2008

Best Movie I've Seen

I really like this movie because there's a coach that a man and he teaches girls basketball and I think how he interacts with and believe in the girls. This is must see movie for young girls (and boys--would could learn a thing or two from that couach).
Kid, 11 years old February 15, 2010

Way better than I expected!

I saw this movie last night with my family and I didn't want to watch it at all. I was glad I did though, because I enjoyed it a lot. Basically the worst part in the movie is the language (d**m a couple times, a*s, and someone says "doggonit!" in frustration. The violence is fairly low for a basketball movie; just a clean fight on the court that only causes a bloody nose, someone screams in agony because she hurts her knee, someone sprains her ankle, and a father forces a girl into the car and tells her she can't play anymore. The only sexual stuff is one part where many moms kiss the coach on the cheek and his wife is right there, and a girl gets pregnant, but they don't show anything explicit. Overall, you need to watch this movie with your family and see what a great basketball movie about perseverance this is!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written April 9, 2008

This is a must see!

Must see movie! Such an uplifting, heartwarming story! It should be a widespread release! Go see it! I laughed, cried, and felt the urge to clap at that end!


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