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Coach Bill Courtney, Montrail "Money" Brown, O.C. Brown, Chavis Daniels

Set in the inner-city of Memphis, Undefeated chronicles the Manassas Tigers' 2009 football season, on and off-the-field, as they strive to win the first playoff game in the high school's 110-year hist... read more read more...ory. A perennial whipping boy, in recent decades Manassas had gone so far as to sell their home games to the highest bidder, but that all changed in the spring of 2004 when Bill Courtney, a former high school football coach turned lumber salesman, volunteered to lend a hand. -- (C) Weinstein

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88% liked it

5,059 ratings


96% liked it

94 critics

PG-13, 1 hr. 50 min.

Directed by: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

Release Date: February 17, 2012

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DVD Release Date: February 19, 2013

Stats: 226 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (226)

  • June 27, 2013
    Undefeated to my surprise was not cliched and not cheesy. If you have The Blind Side in your mind then get it out, this is genuinely tender and uplifting. Bill Courtney belongs on the 'cinemas greatest heroes' list. What he does is so inspiring, the fact that it is American footb... read moreall doesn't really matter, so if you're not a fan don't worry, I'm certainly not but it didn't matter. It's a film about people, not sport or winning or being the best, just people. It's a great documentary and I can see why it won at the Oscars.
  • June 5, 2013
    A coach in a depressed Memphis school inspires his players to be better people and better football players.
    This film is inspiring. Yes, it is full of aphorisms and simplistic half-truths, but in a tough world where truth is immutable, half-truths are good substitutes for the wh... read moreole thing. It's hard to resist getting choked up when Coach Bill informs one of his players about a mysterious benefactor, and the documentary drills in concepts of character and integrity with a frequency that makes these words a happy life's song.
    Overall, while I can't drink the Kool-Aid without my eyes open, there's a lot to like, and the documentary effectively presents a man worth admiring in a world that is anything but admirable.
  • March 23, 2013
    Check in 3/28 at for my review.
  • June 22, 2014
    "Undefeated" is a highly involving documentary about the football program at Manassas High School in North Memphis, Tn. Once, it was so bad, they could hardly even win a single game, and were often paid to be the homecoming patsies for wealthier high schools. Then, along comes ... read moreBill Courtney, a local businessman, to volunteer as head coach and they start to turn things around. After a couple of years, they win four games in a season and sensing the potential a talented group of eighth graders decide to stick around instead of transferring. Four years later, of the players, even with academic problems O.C. has a chance to get an athletic scholarship to a university while Chavis has definite issues.

    Unlike other sports documentaries, "Undefeated" is less interested in the team winning, although admittedly there is plenty of that. What the documentary does so well is getting to the issues lying just underneath the surface that often have more to do with class than with race. With these kids, it is not so much a lack of a father but a lack of any kind of social safety net for them, as there is actually an excellent case for high school sports made here. So, it is lucky for the school district that there are dedicated volunteers like Bill Courtney who go beyond the call of duty to mentor his players. The challenges he faces begin in his opening monologue where he gives a list of the players lost to the program and why.
  • July 26, 2013
    This is a nice story with some touching moments. Coach Bill has a lot of positive characteristics, but also some that concerned me. You kind of fall for some of the athletes, but we never really get into their lives.
  • July 7, 2013
    "Undefeated" is the story of a group of high school football players whose means and situation should have led to failure. This Oscar-winning documentary chronicles the on- and off-the-field experiences of the Manassas Tigers, a Tennessee football team striving to win their fir... read morest playoff game in the school's 110-year history. Coach Bill Courtney takes this rough crew and teaches them to succeed through hard work, respect, and self-discipline. It has the makings of an inspirational summertime sports film but this true story inspires without a script or paid actors. The film is so poignant because these are real people. I will be a huge O.C. Brown fan if he makes it into an NFL jersey someday! I compare this film to a documentary like "Hoop Dreams" and I actually prefer this one. Rather than focusing on a few individual players, the film is driven by an entire team that must work together to succeed. The film never feels long-winded and the progress of the featured players creates an emotional attachment and sense of pride as these boys grow into men. You will cry. Maybe even twice. You just can't script things like this. "Undefeated" is a real-life "Gridiron Gang" and proves that you don't have to score a game-winning touchdown to succeed.
  • March 5, 2013
    With a name like Undefeated, one would think that The Weinstein Company's new sports documentary would be like so many other tear-jerker sports documentaries and sports-centric big screen dramas that have been created throughout Hollywood's modern era. But the reality of Undefea... read moreted is that while it does bare some semblance to other fictitious football dramas and sports documentaries, this documentary stand out in that it is actually less about football than it is about the struggle of a group of young men to overcome the challenges of their surroundings and escape those environs. It just so happens that the main means of escaping all of that is through football.

    What is most impressive about Undefeated is that while it is a documentary film, the progression of the story makes it feel just like it was a scripted work. That's thanks to equally solid editing and cinematography. Rather than simply being another par for course documentary, what audiences get in this program is more of a fly on the wall point of view. There is no interaction with the camera throughout the story. And the first person testimonials of sorts are kept to an extreme minimum. Yes, there are times when audiences are offered Courtney's personal thoughts on his journey with his players. But those "testimonials" are more along the lines of voice-overs than someone sitting in front of the camera, talking to viewers. That angle gives the story an extra amount of emotional depth. That depth will pull viewers in even more and keep them engaged throughout the course of the story's near two-hour run time. And in being so emotionally invested in the story, no viewer will be left dry-eyed by its final moments. Even the strongest of male audiences will be moved by the story's final closure and its epilogue included in the end credits. And that's okay. That emotional openness just shows character, which as coach Courtney notes is revealed through football.

    The shooting and the editing go a long way toward making Undefeated a moving story for all audiences. But what would the shooting be without the story itself? Yes, it bears some semblance to so many big budget sports based dramas. But as audiences will see in this story, it is its own original story. For starters, Coach Courtney (who looks a little bit like comedian Louie Anderson) isn't one of Hollywood's beautiful people. He is an ordinary person who leads this group of roughnecks for absolutely no pay. He is a volunteer coach. How often have audiences ever seen such a story on the big screen? And he shows his love and respect for the young men he leads not by some script loaded with flourishing soliloquies and moments of epiphany. Rather, he shows them a mix of tough love and respect. That mix is used as many of these young men have no male role model in their lives. This is very much a reality in everyday life. Courtney himself admits to having grown up without a father. That makes his determination to make these young men into respectable individuals and athletes that much stronger. And it's because of this that audiences will easily find themselves rooting both for Courtney and for the group of young men whom he leads into battle every Friday night on the high school gridiron.

    Those on-field battles help key players O.C., Money, and Chavis become better. They also help the whole team become a stronger unit and become one of the best teams that Manassas has ever had. Of course it all leads up to a rather unexpected ending, which won't be revealed here. But even with that ending, it is the personal wins of O.C., Money, and Chavis and the entire team that makes the title of this documentary so fitting. It's that understanding that leaves Undefeated a rare touchdown of a sports documentary that audiences will want to watch over and over again.
  • March 29, 2012
    good documentary! having played football on different levels, I really related to this film however having played football will not aid you in getting this film. it's about obstacles in life & how one deals with them....& overcome them, I loved this movie
  • March 5, 2012
    very good doc, keeps it at a human level, street level, showing us how things really are, which i always like, i liked all the players/coaches and really wanted to see them succeed

Critic Reviews

Tom Huddleston
July 31, 2012
Tom Huddleston, Time Out

'Undefeated' is no 'Hoop Dreams', but it's sturdily built and worthwhile. Full Review

Joe Williams
April 6, 2012
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Undefeated" doesn't have a deep penetration of poverty and race in its playbook, but it does have enough heart to make substantial forward progress. Full Review

Moira MacDonald
March 29, 2012
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

It's a surprisingly moving, emotional film, even for those who (like me) know little of football; by its end, you just might be blinking away a few tears. Full Review

Colin Covert
March 20, 2012
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Volunteer high school coach Bill Courtney says, "Football doesn't build character. Football reveals character." The triumphant sports documentary "Undefeated" proves that it does both. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
March 16, 2012
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

[A] winning documentary. Full Review

Ann Hornaday
March 16, 2012
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

[A] stirring, emotional portrait of a high school football team in the impoverished neighborhood of North Memphis, Tenn. Full Review

Tom Long
March 16, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

It's a bit too long and a bit too vague at times, but this is a film about dedication, progress and the bond of human effort. It just also happens to include football. Full Review

Wesley Morris
March 15, 2012
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

"Undefeated'' needs less of what we know we've seen (the football stuff) and more of the players' and coaches' lives, which even if we feel we've seen, we haven't. Full Review

Bill Goodykoontz
March 15, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

What makes this a terrific film is how much we care about the players. Full Review

J. R. Jones
March 8, 2012
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Courtney really does believe all that stuff about adversity and character, and the film is moving for its modest tale of boys learning to act like men. Full Review

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Undefeated Trivia

  • What movie did Rock Hudson star in with John Wayne?  Answer »
  • What recently departed regional mexican singer co-stared with John Wayne and Rock Hudson in The Undefeated?  Answer »
  • Jon Favreau played me in a movie, I'm the only undefeated heavy weight boxer with a record of 50-0?  Answer »
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