Bring It On (film)

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Bring It On
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeyton Reed
Written byJessica Bendinger
Produced by
CinematographyShawn Maurer
Edited byLarry Bock
Music byChristophe Beck
Distributed by
Release date
  • August 25, 2000 (2000-08-25)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$11 million[2]
Box office$90.5 million[2]

Bring It On is a 2000 American teen cheerleading comedy film directed by Peyton Reed and written by Jessica Bendinger. The film stars Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jesse Bradford, and Gabrielle Union. The plot of the film centers around a high school cheerleading team's preparation for a national competition.

Bring It On was released in theaters in North America on August 25, 2000 and became a box office success. The film opened at the number 1 spot in North American theaters and remained in the position for two consecutive weeks, earning a worldwide gross of approximately $90 million. The film received generally positive reviews and has become a cult classic.[3][4][5]

It was the first of the Bring It On film series and was followed by six direct-to-video sequels, none of which contain any of the original cast members: Bring It On Again (2004), which shared producers with the original, Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006), Bring It On: In It to Win It (2007), Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (2009), Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack (2017), and the TV film, Bring It On: Cheer or Die (2022).[6]


Cheerleader Torrance Shipman is a senior at Rancho Carne High School in San Diego. Her boyfriend, Aaron, is at college at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and her cheerleading squad, the Toros, is aiming for a sixth consecutive national title. Torrance is elected the next team captain, replacing her highly successful predecessor, "Big Red" after she graduates. In her first practice as captain, teammate Carver is injured and forced to sit the rest of the season out. Torrance holds auditions for a replacement and gains Missy Pantone, a skilled gymnast who transferred from Los Angeles with her twin brother, Cliff.

While watching the Toros practice, Missy accuses them of plagiarizing their cheers, which Torrance vehemently denies. Missy takes her to L.A. to watch the East Compton Clovers, a squad Missy's previous high school frequently competed against, who perform an identical routine. Isis, the Clovers captain, confronts the two and demands to know what they are doing there. She reveals that Big Red videotaped the Clovers' routines and stole them for the Toros. The Clovers vow to beat the Toros in the national competition, which they could not afford to attend in previous years, and prove that they are better cheerleaders. Torrance worries that she is cursed with bad luck after she dropped the Spirit Stick during a dare at cheer camp over the summer, an object that is never supposed to touch the ground. Meanwhile, Torrance and Cliff begin to get to know each other and a mutual attraction grows between them as Aaron becomes more distant.

After Torrance informs the Toros about the routines, the team votes in favor of using the current routine to win. Torrance agrees feeling there is no time to learn a new routine, while Missy reluctantly goes along with it. At the Toros' next home game Isis and her teammates perform the Toros' routine in front of the whole school, humiliating them. After advice from Aaron, Torrance recruits the team to raise money through a car wash and hire choreographer Sparky Polastri. Polastri puts the whole team on a diet and regularly belittles them, but the team learns the routine in time for competition. At Regionals the team scheduled before the Toros performs Sparky’s routine, embarrassing the team who perform the same routine with little choice. Torrance speaks to a competition official and learns their choreographer has provided the routine for six other teams. As the defending champions, the Toros are granted their place in nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida, but Torrance is warned that a new routine will be expected. Big Red chastises Torrance for her inability to be a leader, and says that if she made any mistake as a squad leader it was not stealing cheers but rather announcing Torrance as her successor. Crushed by Big Red's words and her failure to lead the squad successfully, Torrance considers quitting.

Aaron recommends that Torrance step down from her position as captain and considers to sell her out to her team rivals Courtney and Whitney. When Cliff sees Torrance and Aaron together kissing, he severs his friendship with her. Torrance breaks up with Aaron after confronting him about being distant and not believing in her, as well as catching him cheating. She uses Cliff's previous encouragement and his personally made mixtape for her as inspiration for the team to have a real original routine. When the Toros learn that the Clovers are unable to get the funds to pay for nationals, Torrance asks her father's company to sponsor the team; Isis refuses, calling it "guilt money". Instead the Clovers write to a local talk show host from their neighborhood and get the funds needed to go to Florida. At nationals, both the Toros and the Clovers make it to finals, with Cliff making a surprise appearance in the audience to cheer the team on. Torrance and Isis give each other last-minute advice. Ultimately, the Clovers come out victorious with the Toros coming in second. Despite their loss, the Toros and Clovers leave with a newfound respect for each other, with Isis complimenting Torrance on leading the squad and Torrance admitting the Clovers were deserving of their victory. As the Toros celebrate another successful season, Cliff and Torrance share a kiss.




Jessica Bendinger, a former journalist and music video director, originally pitched the idea for the film, then titled Cheer Fever, as "Clueless meets Strictly Ballroom set at the National High School Cheerleading Championships", saying she was obsessed with cheerleading competitions on ESPN.[7] Bendinger said the idea combined her love for hip hop music and cheerleading.[7]

The film’s depiction of cultural appropriation was informed by Bendinger's experiences as a white writer covering hip hop artists at music magazine Spin, a predominantly white publication.[7][8] Said Bendinger: "Having seen white kids emulating hip hop moves at those [cheer] competitions, I thought, 'Well, what if.' I started asking what if questions...until I got to, what if the best team in the country had been stealing their routines? What if that squad they’d been stealing from finally came to show up and compete for their crown?”[7]

Bendinger's pitch was passed over 28 times before finding a home at Beacon Pictures.[7][9]

Marc Abraham and Thomas Bliss came on board to produce the film, as well as director Peyton Reed who had previously helmed two made-for-television films for Walt Disney.


Prior to auditioning for the film, actors were expected to have a cheer prepared.[10] To avoid the use of stunt doubles, Reed required all the actors to participate in a four-week cheerleading camp.[10] Reed and Gabrielle Union met numerous times to discuss the best way to approach her character.[10] "I think she was able to find what was cool about that character, in a way, I doubt other actresses could," Reed explained in an interview, "Whenever she's on the screen she has this charisma."[10]

James Franco and Jason Schwartzman both auditioned for the role of Cliff Pantone.[9] Kirsten Dunst originally turned down the role of Torrance Shipman as she wasn’t interested. Marley Shelton was the second choice for the role but she decided to star in the film Sugar & Spice instead.[9][11]


While editing the film, Reed and editor Larry Bock watched cheerleading exploitation films from the 1970s.[4] The movie clip shown to the cheer team during the 'types of dance inspiration' montage is from Sweet Charity.[12]

Most of the scenes in the film were shot in different locations and high schools in San Diego County, California, as well as San Diego State University.[13][14] Local high school cheer squads were used as extras.


Box office[edit]

Bring It On was released in North America on August 25, 2000. The film grossed $17,362,105 in 2,380 theaters during its opening weekend, ranking first at the North American box office.[15] Although it experienced an 18% decline in gross earnings, the film held the top position for a second consecutive week, and later on a third.[15] The film went on to gross $68,379,000 in North America and an additional $22,070,929 in other territories for a total gross of $90,449,929.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Many critics felt the film displays Dunst's range as an actress.

The film received a 63% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 120 reviews, with an average rating of 6.00/10. The site's consensus reads: "Despite the formulaic fluffy storyline, this movie is surprisingly fun to watch, mostly due to its high energy and how it humorously spoofs cheerleading."[16] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 31 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[17] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.[18]

A. O. Scott from The New York Times commended the film for the ability to "gesture toward serious matters of racial/economic inequality", as well as for its "occasional snarl of genuine satire".[19] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times also favored the film, calling it a "Smart and sassy high school movie fun for all ages."[20] In addition, Thomas commended the film for how it "subversively suggests that sometimes there are more important values in life than winning", as well as for its inclusion of a gay cheerleader character who is comfortable in his sexuality.[20] Kim Morgan of The Oregonian dubbed the film the "newest, and probably first, cheerleading movie."[17] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post also gave a positive review, praising the film's "tart, taut script by first-time screenwriter Jessica Bendinger" as well as its depiction of teenagers.[21]

However, some reviewers criticized the plot and tone of the film. Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times disliked how the film's bowdlerizing of crude humor to avoid an R rating resulted in a tonally inconsistent film. Ebert opined, "We get a strange mutant beast, half Nickelodeon movie, half R-rated comedy. It's like kids with potty-mouth playing grownup", and awarded the film two out of four stars.[22]

David Sterritt of The Christian Science Monitor praised the writing, though he also likened the storyline's simplicity to "the average football cheer".[23] Vicky Edwards from the Chicago Tribune found the film "Absurdly unrealistic at times."[24] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Paula Nechak concluded the film was "predictable and surprisingly confusing in its ultimate message."[25]

Many critics praised Kirsten Dunst's performance. In his review, A. O. Scott called her "a terrific comic actress, largely because of her great expressive range, and the nimbleness with which she can shift from anxiety to aggression to genuine hurt."[19] Charles Taylor of Salon notes "among contemporary teenage actresses, Dunst is the sunniest imaginable parodist."[26] Jessica Winter from The Village Voice shared this sentiment, commenting "[Dunst] provides the only major element of Bring It On that plays as tweaking parody rather than slick, strident, body-slam churlishness."[27] Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle, despite giving the film an unfavorable review, commended Dunst for her willingness "to be as silly and cloyingly agreeable as it takes to get through a slapdash film."[28]


The film ranked #30 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[29] Roger Ebert recanted his initial negative impression of the film, later referring to Bring It On as the "Citizen Kane of cheerleader movies."[30][31]

Cultural impact[edit]

In the years since its release, Bring It On has been lauded for being a rare teen film to address issues of systemic inequality,[5] cultural appropriation, and intersectional feminism,[32][33] which are seen as major factors for the film's continued legacy.

Beatrice Hazlehurst of i-D wrote, "While its racial inclusion — especially among primary characters — already put the film far ahead of its time, the dynamics of social strata woven throughout the tapestry of Bring It On allow it to hold up so well 20 years later. By wrapping its arms narratively around 'not only people of colour, but queer kids and kids who might feel othered,’ Bendinger says Bring It On offered the overlooked and ostracized the chance to see themselves on screen."[5]

This was echoed by actor Jesse Bradford who said, “[The movie] managed to shine a light on problems like appropriation and white fragility… in light of recent history, Bring It On seems relevant right now."[5]



Bring It On is followed five direct-to-video sequels & one television film sequel:

The only sequel to feature any of the original filmmaking crew from Bring It On was 2004's Bring It On Again. The producers of the original film did not return for sequels after Bring It On Again, and none of the films share recurring cast members. Original star Eliza Dushku is quoted in interviews as never having been invited to participate in the sequels.[citation needed] Steve Rash directed two of the sequels and Alyson Fouse wrote four screenplays. Otherwise, none of the films in the Bring It On franchise share personnel.

The five released films following Bring It On share tenuous plot links. The plot of each film typically follows the first film—a competitive cheerleading team changes routines or other elements to win.

Stage musical[edit]

A stage version of the film premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on January 16, 2011. The musical has music by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tom Kitt, lyrics by Amanda Green, and a book by Jeff Whitty.[34][35][36] The director and choreographer is Andy Blankenbuehler. The cast includes Amanda LaVergne as Campbell, Adrienne Warren as Danielle, and Nick Blaemire as Randall, and "award-winning competitive cheerleaders from across the country".[34]

The Alliance Theatre production was nominated for eight Suzi Bass Awards, winning awards for Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), Sound Design (Brian Ronan), and World Premiere Play or Musical.[37] The production was nominated for ten Atlanta Theater Fan Awards from in 2011.[38] The production won for Best Musical and Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler).[39]

A national tour of the musical started at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles in November–December 2011 and then traveled to San Francisco, Denver, Houston, and Toronto. The national tour stars Taylor Louderman as Campbell and Jason Gotay as Randall.[40][41] The cast celebrated kicking-off the national tour of the musical on October 22, 2011 by performing skits from the show.[42]

The New York Times reviewer wrote of the Ahmanson Theatre production: "After an opening number truly-dazzles as it reveals the cast’s impressive gymnastic prowess, the score hits its stride after Campbell transfers to Jackson High. Surging R&B grooves and churning lyrics suggest the fingerprints of Mr. Miranda ... the dance numbers for the Jackson crowd kick the musical into high-gear for most of the first act.... Like most entertainments about the trials and triumphs of the teenage years, 'Bring It On' has as much sap as it does pep in its DNA, distinguished primarily by the electrifying dance routines and the elaborate cheer-squad performances."[40]

The musical opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, in a limited run, starting on July 12, 2012, in previews, officially on August 1 through December 30, 2012.[43][44][45]


Bring It On: Music from the Motion Picture was released by Epic Records on August 22, 2000. It features multiple tracks from Blaque, who play Clovers cheerleaders in the film.[46] It also includes songs from Daphne & Celeste, 3LW, and a cover of the Toni Basil song "Mickey" by B*Witched.[47]

Bring It On: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedAugust 22, 2000
GenrePop, hip hop, pop rock, dance pop
LabelEpic Records
1."As If"Blaque feat. Joey Fatone3:47
2."See Ya (Radio Mix)"Atomic Kitten2:52
4."Anywhere USA"P.Y.T.4:06
5."U.G.L.Y."Daphne & Celeste3:24
6."Jump Up (If You Feel Alright)"Da Beat Bros.4:00
7."Freakin’ You"Jungle Brothers3:36
8."Cheer For Me"95 South4:37
9."What’s A Girl To Do (Urban Mix)"Sister2Sister2:43
10."Bring It All To Me (Remix)"Blaque feat. 50 Cent4:08
11."'Til I Say So"3LW3:57
12."2 Can Play That Game"Sygnature3:12
13."As If"Blaque3:45


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  6. ^ "Below Deck Cold Water Series, Summer House Winter Spinoff, Dick Wolf Unscripted Crime Series & Jason Biggs Game Show Lead NBCU Cable Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. 13 May 2021.
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  18. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
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  23. ^ David Sterritt (8 September 2000). "The Monitor Movie Guide". Christian Science Monitor.
  24. ^ Edwards, Vicky (August 25, 2000). "NOT MUCH TO CHEER ABOUT". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 16, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  25. ^ Nechak, Paula (October 2, 2000). "Nothing new in banal 'Bring It On'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on October 2, 2000. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  26. ^ Taylor, Charles (August 25, 2000). ""Bring It On": Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Spunky cheerleaders rip-up 'the color line'". Salon. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  27. ^ Winter, Jessica (August 29, 2000). "Cheer and Loathing". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  28. ^ Stack, Peter (August 25, 2000). "Navel Maneuvers / Cheerleader comedy 'Bring It On' shows its stomachs, not its brains". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  29. ^ "50 Best High School Movies". May 14, 2021. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  30. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 18, 2009). "Fired Up". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
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  32. ^ Rush, Tyree (August 25, 2015). "5 Things 'Bring It On' Taught Us About Intersectional Feminism". HuffPost. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "15 Years Later, 'Bring It On' Remains Our Most Surprisingly Feminist Teen Movie". Mic. August 25, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  34. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth and Hetrick, Adam. Something to Cheer About: Bring It On: The Musical Begins Atlanta Run Jan. 16 After Ice Delay" Archived 2011-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, January 16, 2011
  35. ^ Rohter, Larry (October 27, 2010). "Lin-Manuel Miranda to Close Out Broadway Run of 'In the Heights'- ArtsBeat Blog -". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  36. ^ Listing Archived December 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, accessed November 10, 2010
  37. ^ "Suzi Bass Awards" Archived 2012-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ "Atlanta Theater Fan Award Nominations" Archived 2012-04-22 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "Atlanta Theater Fan Award Winners Announced" Archived 2011-09-16 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ a b Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review:'Bring It On'. Power Struggles Over Pep and High School Popularity", The New York Times, November 22, 2011
  41. ^ "'Bring It On: The Musical' to Launch National Tour at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theatre", February 17, 2011
  42. ^ "Stage Tube Highlights"., October 28, 2011
  43. ^ Staff. "Three Cheers! Bring It On: The Musical Confirmed to Play Broadway This Summer", May 15, 2012
  44. ^ Bring It On - The Musical- at Playbill Vault
  45. ^ Broadway's Bring It On Sets New December 2012 Closing Date,, October 16, 2012
  46. ^ "'Bring It On' at 20: Blaque Reflect on Playing Clovers With Gabrielle Union". August 20, 2020. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
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External links[edit]