Stomp the Yard



Well-intentioned film steps up the melodrama.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: May 14, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Protagonist is initially aggressive, then both chastened and frustrated by his brother's murder; aggressive competition between fraternity steppers; very positive and welcome affirmation of African-American historical legacies; doing the "right thing" by his girl wins honor for the hero in the end.


Early scene shows the murder of the protagonist's brother by gunshot (bloody, upsetting); stepping routines are aggressive (one team uses a live snake to show "potency," another wears wolf masks and costumes).


Several scenes feature college-age students dancing provocatively (in clubs and in competitions) with girls wearing midriff/cleavage-baring outfits; sexual connection between characters; romantic slow dance leads to a kiss on the dance floor; DJ makes fun of his own flirting with April by making kissy noises in the library; start of their sexual relationship is signaled by her entering his dorm room and him shutting the door on the camera; handsome, well-toned step team goes jogging in slow motion, sweaty and shirtless; couple does homework in underwear and T-shirts.


A couple of uses of the "N" word (by African-American characters); other language includes "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "hell," and "damn."


Coca Cola logos (film is set in Atlanta); MTV News (Sway "covers" and narrates the final competition).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking (beer, shots, other liquor) in clubs; background characters smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film's second scene is violent, then sad: A fight between groups of boys (featuring hectic editing and aggressive camerawork) ends when the main character's brother is shot and killed (bloody wound is visible). Characters discuss sex (one young man shows his selection of condoms) and use sex-infused slang. Aggressive language includes "bitch," "s--t," "hell," "asshole," and derogatory terms; a couple of African-American characters use the "N" word to show hostility. R&B singer Ne-Yo is one of the film's stars.

What's the story?

STOMP THE YARD focuses on competing fraternity steppers at fictional Truth University. L.A.-based DJ (Columbus Short) channels his anger at "the system" though crunk dancing, and his innovative moves make him a crowd favorite. But when a fight with a rival team leads to his brother Duron's (Chris Brown) murder, DJ feels guilt and despair, which turns -- no surprise -- into more anger. Shipped off to Atlanta to live with his uncle and aunt, DJ finds new athletic, dance, and competition possibilities in stepping. At Truth, DJ is recruited by two fraternities who think his skills will help them win the national championship. He selects Theta Nu Theta because its leader -- the very earnest Sylvester (Brian White) -- extols the virtues of brotherhood more than winning the title (though of course, everyone focuses on winning).

Is it any good?


Heavy-handed and well-intentioned, Stomp the Yard proposes that step groups (and similar organizations) provide structure and inspiration for students in need of guidance and a sense of belonging. It's a decidedly masculine melodrama. Not only does DJ contend with paternal disapprovals (his uncle thinks stepping is a waste of time, and April's dad warns him that "My daughter is not some shorty for you to mess with!"), but he must also come to terms with his own competitive hostility and Duran's death. At the same time, he has to come up with a killer step routine for the group. Luckily, DJ is inspired by Truth's amazing array of sorority and fraternity alumni, who are enshrined in Heritage Hall -- the list includes Esther Rolle, Hines Ward, Michael Jordan, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King, among others. Yes, it's a strained conceit, but Sylvain White's movie does well to remind all of us of these powerful embodiments of resistance, motivation, and "truth."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about black fraternities' role in preserving and teaching about African-American history. How does DJ's exposure to Heritage Hall show him the "value" of fraternities? What audience is the film trying to reach and what is it trying to tell them?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 11, 2007
DVD release date:May 15, 2007
Cast:Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Ne-Yo
Director:Sylvain White
Studio:Screen Gems
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:a scene of violence, some sexual material 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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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 15, 2011
i hate it its a bunch of low life losers that talk about condoms and junk its about a bunch of black kids in a dance competition.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byFlamingskullroxy13 February 13, 2009

This is my favorite movie!!!!!

I LOVE DJ!!!!!!!!EW Chris Brown!:( Not a lot of sexuality or profanity.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


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