Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Heartwarming fact-based drama about faith, race, football.

Movie PG 2015 123 minutes
Woodlawn Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 10+

Great movie for teaching virtues

We caught this movie recently on Netflix and we were surprised about the very positive messages it had. Beyond the faith and inclusion messages, what we saw was how having parents, teachers and mentors working together for a higher purpose and for love beyond themselves (love for a child, love for the game, love for God), can transform young people under their care and bring about change in society. It's a great movie for teaching character that families, teachers and coaches need to see!
age 7+

Amazing Movie

Most christian movies are great, but this one is Top notch! It deals with family, race, and living for Christ. From a christian perspective this movie is Motivational with football entertainment and contains Nothing kids can't handle aside from racism.

Is It Any Good?

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

Although this isn't a Selma-like retelling of civil rights history, for what it is -- a "by Christians, for Christians" sports drama set in racially charged 1973 Birmingham -- it's executed well. Unlike some faith-based films that have a shoestring budget and seem to employ only a couple of trained actors, WOODLAWN has high production values and a professional cast of talented actors. From Austin and Bishop (an Aussie best known for his primetime TV work on Dominion, Covert Affairs, and Body of Proof) to newcomer Castille and Jon Voight as legendary University of Alabama coach Bear Bryant, there's no shortage of talent in the cast.

As a labor of love for directors/brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin, whose father is the sports chaplain Astin portrays, Woodlawn mixes exciting football sequences with a rather idealized depiction of the team (only one player and his dad refuse to get on board with the conversion and the integration). The directors stay away from edgier aspects of the time's racial divide, although they include a scary scene in which a brick nearly misses Tony's little brother, as well as a brawl outside the high school. One of the most evocative scenes is when Tony refuses to shake the hand of (and take a publicity photo with) Governor George Wallace, who opposed integration. But again, Woodlawn is less about civil rights and more about the height of the Jesus Movement of the early '70s -- and how one team, black and white, played football for their Lord.

Movie Details

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