Parents' Guide to

Coach Carter

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Engaging film with a terrific message.

Movie PG-13 2005 100 minutes
Coach Carter Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+

I think is a great movie
age 14+

Feel good, inspiring movie

I realized I'd seen this once before when we started watching this evening, but it wasn't with my (and through the eyes of) my 12 y/o son. There were some scenes that made us both a little uncomfortable: a high school couple is making out on the bed (heading towards sex, but didn't have time); the seemingly endless grinding on the dance floor, the making out with very few clothes on in the hot tub. There was one gang-type shooting, but that was it as far as violence. The language wasn't too bad, but kind of often (no f-bombs though - just lots of "sh**" and "damn." One scene with drinking. One reference to abortion. We fast forwarded through the sexy scenes and had a talk about our stance on abortion. Very inspiring - "you can do it if you work hard enough" kind of message. Good acting.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (21 ):

Based on a true story, this movie compellingly takes the underdog-team-that-comes-from-behind story a step further. Viewers love these kinds of movies because they (1) learn the importance of teamwork, (2) learn the importance of discipline and of respect for themselves and each other, (3) are galvanized by an inspiring leader, or, even better, (4) all of the above. Carter shows his player that the biggest obstacle is their own fear of trying for more than they have. "Starting today, you will act like winners, play like winners, and, most of all, you will be winners." This seems simple and straightforward enough unless you are a sports fan. Or unless you are the kind of person who calls himself a "realist" and thinks these kids are not worth trying to save. Their principal falls into that category. She figures that they are not going to graduate anyway, so the best she can do is give them one great experience they can hold onto for the rest of their lives.

For Carter, this was not about a winning season. It was about a winning life. He wanted his team to qualify for college scholarships. And he wanted them to learn discipline, teamwork, and self-respect. Jackson is terrific, as always, and his talent to mesmerize an audience makes him a great choice to play a coach who can give hope to people who gave up a long time ago. Just the way he says, "Sir," insisting and inspiring his team to call him "Sir" as well, tells you everything about his character and his relationship to the players. The young cast members in Coach Carter are more sure of themselves shooting hoops than they are showing emotion, but Jackson holds the screen so well that he gives them extra focus and presence.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: January 14, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming: June 21, 2005
  • Cast: Ashanti , Channing Tatum , Samuel L. Jackson
  • Director: Thomas Carter
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Female actors, Black actors
  • Studio: Paramount Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: violence, sexual content, language, teen partying and some drug material
  • Last updated: September 16, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate