Drumline Movie Poster Image




Outstanding cast, great message, strong language.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: December 22, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Strong messages about hard work, teamwork, and watching out for your friends -- not just yourself.

Positive role models

The main character initially fights against the discipline of the marching band and is all about himself, but he does a major turnaround during the course of the film. Characters are at first suspicious of the only white student, then supportive.


Tense confrontations.


Sexual references.


Some strong language ("s--t," "ass," "crap," etc.).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Drumline has some very strong language ("s--t" and more), mild references to drinking, and moderate references to sex, particularly comparing playing an instrument to making love. A character is "accused" of being a virgin. Nevertheless, the behavior of the characters is admirable. Laila makes it clear that she is interested in a boyfriend, not a brief encounter. Parents should also know that the movie addresses some racial discrimination concerns, as the one white student in the band is at first looked at with suspicion, but later accepted warmly.

What's the story?

In DRUMLINE, Devon (Nickelodeon's Nick Cannon) is a spirited kid who wins a full scholarship to college for his drum playing. The school, the fictitious Atlanta A&T, has a world-class marching band that hasn't won the big competition sponsored by BET television, and the school's president has put a lot of pressure on the bandmaster, Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones), to do whatever it takes to beat cross-town rival (and real-life marching band champs), Morris Brown College. But Lee believes that his job is to teach his students about music and about character, even at the cost of losing. At the center of this argument is Devon, whose flashy style and buoyant self-confidence put him at odds with the band's most sacred commitment: "one band, one sound."

Is it any good?


John Philip Sousa and all of the Music Man's 76 Trombones never dreamed that marching bands could be this cool. Farewell to the nerdy reputation for "band camp." Drumline makes marching bands as soul-stirring as raise-the-roof gospel and more irresistibly, foot-stompingly, hip-hoppily thrilling than any video currently playing on MTV.

The movie is about more than music, too. The band numbers themselves would be more than worth the price of admission, but the story and the characters hold their own. The story may be an old one, but the details of this unexplored world make it seem fresh and the very appealing performers make it seem real. Orlando Jones is one of the most talented comic actors in movies today, but in this decidedly un-comic role he manages to make Dr. Lee seem dedicated and principled without being priggish or inflexible. Cannon is outstanding, making us believe in Devon's talent and charm. Cannon makes Devon confident and vulnerable at the same time, and lets us see Devon's growth subtly and naturally.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the conflict Dr. Lee faces as he tries to do what is best for the band. What does he decide is most important, and when, and why? Why was it important to show Devon's confrontation with his father? How did that relationship affect his relationships with strong characters like Sean and Dr. Lee? What is it about Devon that Laila is drawn to? Why? What can you tell from the scene where each of the section leaders explains why that instrument is the most important? What does "one band, one sound" mean? Why does Dr. Lee think that honor and discipline are more important than talent?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 13, 2002
DVD release date:April 15, 2003
Cast:Nick Cannon, Orlando Jones, Zoe Saldana
Director:Charles Stone
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Character strengths:Humility, Self-control, Teamwork
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:innuendo and language

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Teen, 13 years old Written byvampireknight023 March 15, 2011
its an awesome movie and you can get addicted to it too
Kid, 12 years old August 3, 2011

So much sex

We watched this in music at school and i don't know in what world the teacher thought this would be appropriate! One quote from the film: "playing the drum is like making love, you can't look down to make sure you've got the flow right". There are some racism and language issues but i cannot stress enough about the sexual things! It's appauling to show this to a child under 10 and still not good to show it to and under 15!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 12 years old March 10, 2011

perfect fo older kids

I LOVE IT!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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