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4.7 out of 5 stars
Undefeated
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
"Undefeated" (110 min.) brings the story of the North Memphis Manassas High School football team's 2009 season. The football team's history is one of losing, losing, losing, until a few years before that a volunteer coach named Bill Courtney steps up and coaches and wills these young men, all of them underprivileged from this inner-city part of Memphis, to greater things. "Coach Bill", as he is referred to by his players, tries to instill discipline, character, and the "team first" concept to them, and what a struggle it is.

The title of this documentary is quite curious, as the team does NOT go undefeated, nor do these young men go undefeated through life. The movie focuses primarily on three of the team's players, including a young man who returns to school as a junior after having served a 15 month jail sentence as a juvenile (it is never made clear what he did to deserve that sentence). Another of those kids the movie focuses on gets injured early into the season and we see him struggle, having lost a sense of belonging (as he is no longer part of the team) but trying to get back into shape in time for the play-offs. There are many incredible moments in this movie that I won't spoil here, but suffice it to say that I welled up on more than one occasion. Special mention to "Coach Bill", who does an incredible job, at the sacrifice of his own family (he has a wife and 4 young kids). Be sure to watch the end credits, as the film makers reveal what became of the pirncipals in this movie after that 2009 season.

"Undefeated" won this year's Oscar for "Best Documentary" and it's easy to see why. Yes, this is a movie about high school football (and if you love HS football, as do I being in Cincinnati, with such a rich local tradition in HS football), but this movie is about so much more. Going into the theatre this past weekend to see this, I had a general sense (or so I thought) about this movie, but I was surprised, elated and yes, moved to tears. "Undefeated" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Format: DVD
I fell in love with football while I was in High School and have been a fan ever since. I actually learned about the game just to impress a boy but my love of the sport stayed long after he was gone! I always love a good sports movie and a true one is even better so I was really looking forward to watching Undefeated.

I actually had no idea what to expect because I never read the back of movies before watching because I don't like to have any pre-conceived notions. I didn't know anything other than this was a football movie based on the cover. I didn't know it was a documentary so I was a little disappointed when it started and I realized it. I don't usually like documentaries but I have never been so happy to admit I was wrong.

This documentary was so touching and inspirational. I think for a documentary to be successful it has to be put together perfectly and there has to be a balance between interviews, shots of the football games and the players home lives. This documentary was expertly put together and inspiring music completed the recipe for success. I can see why this won an Oscar!

Coach Bill Courtney took a football team at a school with no money and no hope for a future and made them into winners.

Undefeated isn't just referring to winning football games. It's about not letting life defeat you and working hard to accomplish your dreams no matter what your circumstance. These boys had no hope for a future after school and lived in absolute poverty; most with only one parent at home and some with none. These are the types of kids that people write off and add to a statistic which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Courtney was not going to fall into that category without a fight.

By the end of this DVD I was in tears. I was sad for the life they had so far but happy for the futures they had to look forward to, in large part because one man took the time to believe in them and invest in their lives. You will be touched, inspired and remember your own dreams after watching Undefeated.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I have never been so thoroughly and completely in a movie's vice grip. There's a scene at the end that is so gripping, so profound, that it's almost unbearable to watch. Incredibly stirring. Wow.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
"Undefeated" (110 min.) brings the story of the North Memphis Manassas High School football team's 2009 season. The football team's history is one of losing, losing, losing, until a few years before that a volunteer coach named Bill Courtney steps up and coaches and wills these young men, all of them underprivileged from this inner-city part of Memphis, to greater things. "Coach Bill", as he is referred to by his players, tries to instill discipline, character, and the "team first" concept to them, and what a struggle it is.

The title of this documentary is quite curious, as the team does NOT go undefeated, nor do these young men go undefeated through life. The movie focuses primarily on three of the team's players, including a young man who returns to school as a junior after having served a 15 month jail sentence as a juvenile (it is never made clear what he did to deserve that sentence). Another of those kids the movie focuses on gets injured early into the season and we see him struggle, having lost a sense of belonging (as he is no longer part of the team) but trying to get back into shape in time for the play-offs. There are many incredible moments in this movie that I won't spoil here, but suffice it to say that I welled up on more than one occasion. Special mention to "Coach Bill", who does an incredible job, at the sacrifice of his own family (he has a wife and 4 young kids). Be sure to watch the end credits, as the film makers reveal what became of the pirncipals in this movie after that 2009 season.

"Undefeated" won this year's Oscar for "Best Documentary" and it's easy to see why. Yes, this is a movie about high school football (and if you love HS football, as do I being in Cincinnati, with such a rich local tradition in HS football), but this movie is about so much more. Going into the theatre some months ago, I had a general sense (or so I thought) about this movie, but I was surprised, elated and yes, moved to tears. "Undefeated" is HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 26, 2013
Format: DVD
This was an inspirational story of a great group of players that overcome so many obstacles to achieve so much both personally and as a team. This is a movie that will leave you wanting to watch it again and you can see very quickly why this movie won an Academy Award for being the Best Documentary in 2011. While I had never seen this, I am a big high school football fan in our own home town, so I was excited to watch this and see what it was all about. The movie definitely did not disappoint as I mentioned and it lives up to its' Oscar win. If you too love football, or simply love to see a story of people working through the challenges that life throws at them, then this is definitely the movie for you! I highly recommend this to all!

*I received a copy of this DVD for an honest review as written above*
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Both stories take place in Memphis. In both cases, a well to do white family, headed by a former college athlete, makes a commitment to helping disadvantaged African-American high school athletes. I am particularly attracted to real-life stories, and "Undefeated" could not be more true to life. It is a documentary filmed over several years following the progress of an especially promising freshman class which takes the football team from worst to first. A great deal of the action takes place off the field, and the progress is largely do to the devoted group of volunteer coaches. Slightly gritty, and thoroughly inspiring.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This one amazes throughout, a compelling story about High School Football, has you feeling every moment in both the darkness and the Glory. Never a dull moment in this one, very Enjoyable and Entertaining from start to finish. This is one Stunning movie I would add to my collection of Must-own, and would certainly watch again. Acting Performance Superb, story is fascinating, and Highly Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
2011's Academy Award winning feature for Best Documentary, "Undefeated" tells the true story of a high school football team in Memphis that defied the odds to challenge other squads with much greater resources and support. Told largely through one exciting season, we see the team evolve as a powerhouse with the tireless assistance of a volunteer coach named Bill Courtney. Building the team from the ground up, Courtney sees football as a way to build character with many of his troubled teens. And indeed, these kids are growing up in a world where crime and poverty claim victims all around them. You probably know the format of the inspiring sports documentary. There have certainly been plenty of them. "Undefeated" is, at the same time, exactly what you might expect but also a great deal more. Football becomes a metaphor for something much larger. And if you think you know the outcome due to the film's title, it doesn't necessarily refer to a winning season!

"Undefeated" is structured around several key players as well as the coach. Courtney is an inspiring character who sacrifices time with his own family to do what he loves. He's found several unlikely stars on the team, but getting them to work together with discipline might be his biggest obstacle. There is a volatile hothead just out of juvenile correction, a massive player with innate speed and talent, and a scrappy go-getter that faces the ultimate challenge as the season progresses. At times, the efforts to build a team seem futile. But perseverance and persistence will ultimately gain the school and its players a form of respect that they have never experienced and really didn't anticipated. In the end, some will rise and some will stumble but all will be changed in a substantial way.

Any film like "Undefeated" seems designed to tug at your emotions. I appreciated that there was a matter-of-factness that really kept the movie grounded. You don't realize the level of involvement that you have (or at least I didn't) until something really powerful sneaks up on you. And there are some pretty memorable moments as the season approaches the end. "Undefeated" doesn't redefine anything new in the arena of the sports documentary, but it is exceedingly well done and involving. And as it showcases that you must work (and cooperate and be tolerant) to achieve success, that's a refreshing message for the younger athletes in your household. KGHarris, 2/13.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
Format: DVD
You don't have to like football to be able to take inspiration from this movie. Heartwarming that people still care so much to teach solid values and how boys become men. Just watched screening and immediately ordered
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
I want to sat that this is the most emotional sports movie since "Brian's Song" but it is more then that. Yes it is a film about football but that is really just the basis for the film. The real story is about two completely different life styles and cultures coming together and out of conflict comes mutual respect, trust, honor and love. If this movie doesnt make you leak a tear or two then nothing will. Coach Bill is a man who is blessed and lives the code of "pay it forward", the type of person this world needs alot more of.
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