Coach Carter

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Coach Carter
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThomas Carter
Written byMark Schwahn
John Gatins
Produced byDavid Gale
Brian Robbins
Michael Tollin
CinematographySharone Meir
Edited byPeter Berger
Music byTrevor Rabin
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • January 14, 2005 (2005-01-14)
Running time
136 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[1]
Box office$76.7 million[1]

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film starring Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Thomas Carter (no relation). It is based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter, who made headlines in 1999 for suspending his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic results.[2][3][4] The screenplay was co-written by John Gatins and Mark Schwahn. The cast features Rob Brown, Channing Tatum (in his film debut), Debbi Morgan, Robert Ri'chard, and the singer Ashanti.

The film was a co-production between MTV Films and Tollin/Robbins Productions. It was commercially distributed by Paramount Pictures for theatrical release and home video rental. The film explores professional ethics, academics, and athletics.[5] The sports action in the film was coordinated by Mark Ellis. On January 11, the film's soundtrack was released by Capitol Records, and the film's score was composed and orchestrated by musician Trevor Rabin.

Coach Carter was released in the United States on January 14, 2005, and earned $77 million. It received a varied reception from critics, with 53% of reviews being mixed, 44% positive, and 3% negative.[6]


In Richmond, California, Ken Carter becomes the coach of Richmond High School's basketball team, the Oilers, which he once played for. The team is initially undisciplined and disrespectful. Carter implements strict contracts requiring the players to sit in the front rows of their classes, maintain a 2.3 GPA, and submit to progress reports on grades and attendance.

Despite parental opposition, most players sign the contracts, though some, like Timo Cruz, walk out. Cruz is a talented player involved in drug dealing. Principal Garrison questions Carter's strict approach, doubting the players' ability to meet his demands.

Carter imposes a rigorous training regimen focused on conditioning and teamwork. His son, Damian, joins the team after transferring from a private school. Cruz eventually asks to rejoin, agreeing to complete a series of tough exercises. Although he falls short, his teammates help him finish, allowing him to rejoin the team.

Team captain Kenyon Stone struggles with his girlfriend Kyra's pregnancy, leading to tension between them. Another player, Junior Battle, is suspended for skipping classes. His mother, Willa, pleads with Carter, who reinstates Junior after he apologizes.

The team improves, bonding with Carter and becoming undefeated in the regular season. After winning a holiday tournament, the team sneaks out to a party, which Carter interrupts. He later discovers some players are failing academically and locks the gym, directing the team to study until they meet the contract's terms.

Cruz quits again, but after witnessing a tragic shooting, he begs Carter to return. Carter's gym lockdown draws media attention and community outrage. He argues that the boys need education to avoid a life of crime or limited prospects. At a school board hearing, Carter offers to resign if the lockdown is lifted. Despite support from Principal Garrison and the board's chairwoman, the lockdown is ended by the majority vote.

Carter prepares to leave, but the team, inspired by his message, chooses to continue studying instead of playing. Cruz, responding to Carter's repeated query about his deepest fear, quotes from "A Return to Love," signifying personal growth.

The team reaches their academic goals. Kenyon reconciles with Kyra, who had an abortion, and invites her to join him at college. The team plays in the state tournament, losing narrowly to St. Francis. Despite the loss, Carter is proud of their perseverance and academic achievements. The team is celebrated by the community, with several players earning college scholarships.


Samuel L. Jackson who portrayed real-life basketball coach Ken Carter


Production started in mid-2004 and ended in late 2004.[citation needed]

Filming locations for the motion picture included, Long Beach, California and Los Angeles.[8] Such locations in Long Beach included St. Anthony High School's gymnasium. The film was released June 21 2005.


Coach Carter was released on January 14, 2005, in the United States. During that weekend, the film opened in 1st place grossing $24.2 million from 2,524 locations, beating out Meet the Fockers ($19.3 million).[9] The film's revenue dropped by 24% in its third week of release, earning $8 million. For that particular weekend, the film slipped to 5th place with a slightly higher theater count at 2,574.[10] Coach Carter went on to top out domestically at $67.3 million through a 16-week theatrical run.[1] For 2005 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 36.[11]

Following its cinematic release in theaters, the Region 1 edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on June 21, 2005. Special features for the DVD include; two commentaries: Coach Carter: The Man Behind the Movie, Fast Break at Richmond High, Deleted Scenes and Music Video "Hope" by Twista Featuring Faith Evans.[12] The film was also released on VHS.

A restored widescreen high-definition Blu-ray Disc version of the film was released on December 16, 2008. Special features include two commentaries - The Man Behind the Movie; Fast Break at Richmond High; 6 Deleted scenes; "Hope" music video by Twista featuring Faith Evans; Writing Coach Carter: The Two Man Game; Coach Carter: Making the Cut; and the theatrical trailer in HD.[13] An additional viewing option for the film in the media format of Video on demand has been made available as well.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64% based on 150 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Even though it's based on a true story, Coach Carter is pretty formulaic stuff, but it's effective and energetic, thanks to a strong central performance from Samuel L. Jackson."[15] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on a scale of A+ to F.[16]


The film was nominated and won several awards in 2005–06.

Award Category Nominee Result
2005 BET Awards[17] Best Actor Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
2005 Black Movie Awards[18] Outstanding Achievement in Directing Thomas Carter Won
Outstanding Motion Picture David Gale, Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Black Reel Awards of 2006[19] Best Director Thomas Carter Won
Best Actor Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Ashanti Nominated
Best Film David Gale, Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin Nominated
ESPY Awards 2005[20] Best Sports Movie ———— Nominated
2005 37th NAACP Image Awards[21][22] Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Samuel L. Jackson Won
Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film/Television Movie Thomas Carter Nominated
Outstanding Motion Picture ———— Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Ashanti Nominated
2005 MTV Movie Awards[23] Breakthrough Female Ashanti Nominated
2006 32nd People's Choice Awards[24] Favorite Movie Drama ———— Nominated
2005 Teen Choice Awards[25] Choice Movie Actor: Drama Samuel L. Jackson Nominated
Choice Movie Breakout Performance - Female Ashanti Nominated
Choice Movie: Drama ———— Nominated


The soundtrack for the film was released by Capitol Records on January 11, 2005. The score for the film was orchestrated by Trevor Rabin. An extensive list of songs are featured on the soundtrack, which differs from the soundtrack recording. The recording includes five songs which were not featured in the film: "About da Game" by Trey Songz; "Balla" by Mack 10 featuring Da Hood; "Beauty Queen" by CzarNok; "What Love Can Do" by Letoya; and "Wouldn't You Like to Ride", by Kanye West, Malik Yusef, and Common.

Coach Carter: Music from the Motion Picture
1."All Night Long"3:33
2."No Need for Conversation"3:38
5."Roll Wit' You"3:23
6."Wouldn't You Like to Ride"3:51
8."Your Love (Is The Greatest Drug I've Ever Known)"3:34
9."This One"3:06
10."Beauty Queen"3:44
13."What Love Can Do"4:04
14."About Da Game"3:39
15."Let the Drummer Kick" 
Total length:53:23

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Coach Carter (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Turner, Miki (January 19, 2005). "The real Coach Carter is a class act". Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Coach scores points for academics". San Francisco Chronicle. January 8, 1999. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  4. ^ McManis, Sam (January 12, 1999). "Richmond Rebound". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  5. ^ Thomas Carter. (2005). Coach Carter [Motion picture] Production Notes. United States: Paramount Pictures.
  6. ^ a b Coach Carter. Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  7. ^ However, in the dialogue of the movie, the character played by Debbi Morgan referred to herself as the "girlfriend" of Ken Carter
  8. ^ "Coach Carter Production Details". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  9. ^ "January 14-16, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "January 28-30, 2005 Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  11. ^ 2005 DOMESTIC GROSSES. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  12. ^ "Coach Carter DVD Widescreen". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  13. ^ "Coach Carter Blu-Ray". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  14. ^ "Coach Carter VOD Format". Amazon. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  15. ^ Coach Carter (2005). Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Coach Carter". CinemaScore. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  17. ^ "BET Awards 2005". Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  18. ^ "2005 Nominees and Winners". Black Movie Awards. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  19. ^ "Black Reel Awards winners". Black Reel Awards. February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  20. ^ "The 2005 Espy Awards Nominees". ESPN. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  21. ^ "37th Image Awards Nominees". NAACP Image Awards. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  22. ^ "Jackson, Samuel L." Marquis Who's Who in America, edited by Marquis Who's Who, Marquis Who's Who LLC, 70th edition, 2016. Credo Reference.
  23. ^ "MTV Movie Awards 2005". Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  24. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2006 Nominees". People's Choice Awards. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  25. ^ "The 2005 Teen Choice Awards nominees". Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
Further reading

External links[edit]