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Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) loves to swim. During the 60's, he joined his schools swim team, which created problems. Jim is African American, and the white competitors in North Carolina weren't happy to be competing against him.

10 years later, Jim has landed in Philadelphia. Despite his credential to teach math, the only job he can get is cleaning out the recreation center in the poor part of town. It's scheduled to be torn down soon. The only person inside the building is maintenance man Elston (Bernie Mac). The closest anyone else comes to it is playing basketball outside.

That changes one day when the basketball hoops are taken down in the march toward tearing down the center. As five of the guys stand there fuming about the loss of the hoops, Jim invites them in to use the pool.

Slowly, Jim gains their trust and begins to teach them the fundamentals of swimming. They gain enough skill to ask to go to a meet, hoping to meet women. But do five men and one woman really have the skills to compete against all male teams who have been training for years?

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way first. This is an underdog sports movie featuring kids from a bad neighborhood. Picturing every cliche that normally brings to mind? Yep, they're here.

But, is this movie worth seeing? Absolutely.

As is always needed for a film like this to succeed, you need to become attached to the characters. Jim is a sympathetic character from the start, and the youth he's working with grow on you quickly as well. The result is a movie that truly does inspire.

To top is off, the acting is great. Terrence Howard is absolutely believable as Jim. His drive to reach the kids comes through in every scene. I'm not usually a Bernie Mac fan, but he did a great job as well with a part that is mostly series with a few comic bits thrown in. And the kids were all great.

I do have a couple complaints. The minor one is the needless slowing down of the climax. The two swimmers in the final race are slowed way down to build suspense. And I do mean way down. It was beyond laughable.

My bigger complaint was the language. Considering the PG rating, I was surprised by the handful of "s" words that littered the film. Not as surprising were the few racial epithets used. Unfortunately, they fit the time period and setting of the film.

This film isn't highly original, but it is inspiring. And if that's what you want to watch, you could do much worse then this great film.
0Comment| 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
PRIDE does not open any new doors in the genre of film biopics of teachers who raise the status of downtrodden students to the point of genuine appreciation of self worth. The story has been told countless times with different characters, both male and female, different races (African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, etc), and different areas of the United States. But despite the recurring similarity of heart-on-the-sleeve stories such as this, PRIDE stands solidly on its own merits, in part due to the well developed and written screenplay by Kevin Michael Smith, Michael Gozzard, J. Mills Goodloe, and Norman Vance Jr. based on the life and contributions to society of Jim Ellis, in part due to the sensitive direction of Sunu Gonera, and in part due to the fine cast. The idea behind the story may not be new, but PRIDE is a fine example of the genre.

Opening in the 1960s we meet Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) as a superior swimmer unable to use his gifts because of his race. Jump 10 years forward and Ellis has finished college as a math major and seeks to teach in Philadelphia, only to face racism again. Desperate for work he accepts a 'closing down' job at a condemned Philadelphia Recreation Center tended by downtrodden Elston (Bernie Mac) who resents Ellis' intrusion into his domain. Ellis restores the center's swimming pool and gradually initiates a swim team for troubled teens, young boys and a girl who are new to swimming and even newer to the thought that they can become someone important and rise out of their slum surroundings and influence of drug lords. With time Ellis teaches the team not only how to swim like champions, but also how to gain faith in themselves through PDR (Pride, Determination, Resilience), eventually winning a championship as a team of African Americans in a city still plagued by racism.

The cast is excellent: Terrence Howard once again proves he can create a character of complete credibility, completely immersing himself in a role with all of the subtle facilities of fine acting; Bernie Mac at last is given a serious role and rises to the level of Howard in skill; Kimberly Elise and Tom Arnold provide fine cameo roles. But one of the treasures of this film is the cast of young actors who seem so natural that they deserve special plaudits: Brandon Fobbs, Alphonso McAuley, Regine Nehy, Nate Parker, Kevin Phillips, and Evan Ross. Clint Eastwood's son Scott Reeves plays a pivotal role as a racist swimmer.

So despite the overexposure of stories such as this, PRIDE stands out as one of the best. It is a beautifully filmed and well-developed homage to a very worthy man and coach: PDR. Grady Harp, June 07
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on September 21, 2007
I showed Pride to my high school students, a first viewing for most of us. Actors, directing, movie set--action, drama, healing--a heady combination in the portrayal based on a true story that caused chill bumps, laughter, and tears among us all. I highly recommend it to young adults--and older ones as well.
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VINE VOICEon October 11, 2007
I know what you are going to say: "The same concept has been done over and over". And you are right, there are a lot of movies out there based on a group of teenagers facing difficult challenges and finding solace and a way to move forward in life in a sport or an art. The plot of the movie, except for a couple of unexpected turns, is pretty predictable too. But I still think that this is a film worth watching, because the story is presented with the needed level of emotion, and the acting is really good compared to other sport movies out there.

The film is based on the true story of Jim Ellis and his swim team, which he built from scratch after landing in the Philadelphia Department of Recreation as a cleanup worker. Previously, Ellis had been a victim of racial discrimination and had problems with the law as a result. Now, he has to face some of the same problems when he starts coaching a group of kids that are in danger of losing their way in life. With his love and commitment, Ellis finds a way to make these teenagers understand that working as a team and giving it their all is enough to reap the well-deserved benefits.

Terence Howard and Bernie Mac are both excellent in their respective roles, and the cast of kids does not disappoint. The technical aspects relating to the swimming are a little off, but that was expected. You can definitely tell that most of the actors on Ellis' team are not real swimmers, while the kids on the opposing teams are. This of course is possible because the acting needed from the opponents is fairly limited.

I was a competitive swimmer for several years, so I can understand how my interest for the sport may influence my evaluation of this movie, but I still think that most people will have a good time watching it. The only group to which I would not recommend this film is to those that are not interested in swimming and that are looking for a "new story", since they will not find that here.
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on April 4, 2014
Pride is a superb movie that tells the story of young men trying to find meaning in their lives. Not ;an unusual story, but a touching one. The young men who interact with each other through neighborhood basketball are a showcase of various personalities.
Good film for young people and adults to share. Anna M. Seidler
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on June 20, 2013
I love movies that are based on real events, and especially when they are "feel good" stories like this. As a middle school teacher, we celebrate African-American history month every February. We have watched "Remember the Titans", "Glory Road" and now "Pride" to show the struggles that were typical of the times, and what is needed to overcome adversity with diversity. Next year, I'm sure we will be showing "42" as our movie of choice.
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on March 23, 2014
The acting is a little shoddy, but you can tell they're trying to convey a message of work ethic and pride. The movie delivers that message quite well. Regardless of background and even stereo types people have, there should always be an air or dignity about you. ++ for me. The race issues in this movie are sad though! :(
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on May 31, 2012
I was looking for a sports movie and this is one of the few I haven't seen. I also swim and appreciated the authenticity and, if you have followed the sport you know that African Americans are rare even today. Set against the period it is a pretty amazing story that you could get this bunch of kids to give up other sports and in fact excel.

You will love the soundtrack and the groovy clothes and Afros of the era. Bernie Mack and Terrance Howard have some great moments. Tom Arnold sort of phones it in even for the evil guy.

There's a pretty small pool (ha ha) of swimming movies, so this one floats to the top with bonus points for being a true story. There aren't a lot of surprises; you watch these movies to be inspired.
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VINE VOICEon February 10, 2008
This is a pretty good movie but, it has a "been there done that" feel to it. The actors do a good job with what they have to work with and the movie captures the time period without making it look too ridiulous. Swimming as a sport to watch, is like watching paint dry so, that doesn't help the film either. It's worth a look if you see it on cable, as the based on a true story film does inspire you...a little.
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on June 30, 2007
I have seen a lot of these types of films throughout my life. Where the odds are against someone and it seems impossible to accomplish a goal. I've seen it in kids movies, comedy, and even more serious ones like this one. To be honest they get boring after a while because you know that there are really only two outcomes, they win or they lose. Pride kills that feeling I had and made me feel pretty good. It gives you an amazing feeling watching it, I believe that feeling is pride. The film starts 10 years earlier at a very important swim meet. Terrence Howard plays Jim Ellis, a young man that just wants to compete. At the meet Jim is told by his coach that the other teams and judges don't want him to swim because he is African American. His coach supports him and tells him to swim anyway but the teams still refuse to swim and he has no competition.

Now it is 1974 in Philadelphia and even after finishing college Jim is turned down for jobs he's qualified for. After a long frustrating job hunt Jim accepts a job cleaning up the Philadelphia Department of Recreation so it can be closed down in a few months. There he meets janitor Elston (Bernie Mack) who is very close to the building having been there when it was opened many years ago. Instead of tearing the building down Jim ends up really cleaning it up, even the swimming pool. The two become good friends after a while and accomplish a great thing. Jim runs into some kids who have athletic potential and some funny jokes as well. The kids just play basketball all day but now their rim is being taken down because the center is closing down.

On a very hot day Jim lets them in to swim and cool off but they got a lot more than that. Jim coaches the kids on to become great swimmers and even break the same racial barrier that he suffered 10 years ago. Because there are so many characters it's a bit hard to explain everyone without making this a very long review. What I will say is that each character will definitely get to you. This is a true story that is great to see on screen. A few actors really stuck out to me, of course Kimberly Elise was great and Bernie Mack wasn't just doing comedy. Bernie did a great job in showing his love for the Rec Center and also the kids. Evan Ross showed great potential playing a character that really isn't easy. I understand that Terrence Howard got nominated for awards for Hustle & Flow but this is the film he deserves those for and I hope he gets them.

The casting period was perfect; all of these actors did a great job. It's easy to take a star and fault the film because there have been so many like it before it but I won't take that star. What you'll be watching it for is to get that feeling it gives you when you see what Jim Ellis does. To see how he changed something that was dying into something that creates amazing swimmers to this day and even one that is going to the Olympics. The DVD had great quality and pretty good extras. I'd recommend this to anyone and everyone; it's a great movie that has the right title.
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