Remember the Titans (2000)
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.
Suburban Virginia schools have been segregated for generations. One Black and one White high school are closed and the students sent to T.C. Williams High School under federal mandate to integrate. The year is seen through the eyes of the football team where the man hired to coach the Black school is made head coach over the highly successful white coach. Based on the actual events of 1971, the team becomes the unifying symbol for the community as the boys and the adults learn to depend on and trust each other.
In the early 1970s, two schools in Alexandria, Virginia integrate forming T.C. Williams High School. The European American head coach of the Titans is replaced by an African American coach from North Carolina. Tensions arise when players of different races are forced together on the same football team. Many of these tensions are eased during the two-week training camp in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. When players returned to Alexandria the players found the city in turmoil due to the forced desegregation of the high school. As the season progresses the team's success caused the community to accept the changes. After the Titans' perfect season, the team and the city were closer than ever.
Denzel Washington plays Herman Boone, who is hired as the T.C. Williams High football coach over a white coach in Alexandria, Virginia in the early 1970's during a time when the school has just been integrated to allow blacks into the school.
- In the autumn of 1981, a group of former football coaches and players attend a funeral.
Ten years earlier in July 1971, at the desegregated T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, a black head coach, Herman Boone, is hired to coach the school's football team. Boone is assigned to the coaching team under current coach Bill Yoast, nominated for the Virginia High School Hall of Fame. In an attempt to placate rising racial tensions and the fact that all other high schools are "white" only, Boone is assigned the head coach job. He refuses, believing it is unfair to Yoast, but relents after seeing what it means to the black community. Yoast is then offered an assistant coach's job by the school board and initially refuses, but reconsiders after the white players pledge to boycott the team if he does not participate. Dismayed at the prospect of the students losing their chances at scholarships, Yoast changes his mind and takes up the position of defensive coordinator under Boone, to his daughter Sheryl's dismay.
The black students have a meeting in the gymnasium in auditioning to play for the team until Boone arrives, but the meeting turns into a fiasco when Yoast and white students interrupt. On August 15, the players gather and journey to Gettysburg College, where their training camp takes place. As their days of training camp progress, black and white football team members frequently clash in racially motivated conflicts, including some between captains Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell. But after forceful coaching and rigorous athletic training by Boone, which includes an early morning run to the Gettysburg cemetery, and a motivational speech, the team achieves racial harmony and success. After returning from football camp, Boone is told by a member of the school board that if he loses even a single game, he will be dismissed. Subsequently, the Titans go through the season undefeated while battling racial prejudice, before slowly gaining support from the community. Gerry even has his best friend Ray removed from the team because of his racism, following a game where he intentionally missed a block which consequently led to the near-season-ending injury of starting quarterback Jerry "Rev" Harris.
Just before the state semi-finals, Yoast is told by the chairman of the school board that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame after the Titans lose one game, implying he wants Boone to be dismissed over his race. During the game, it becomes apparent that the referees are biased against the Titans. Upon seeing the chairman and other board members in the audience looking on with satisfaction, Yoast realizes that they've rigged the game and warns the head official that he will go to the press and expose the scandal unless the game is officiated fairly. The Titans nonetheless win and advance to the state championship, but Yoast is told by the chairman that his actions have resulted in his loss of candidacy for Hall of Fame induction.
While celebrating the victory, Bertier is severely injured in a car accident with a truck after driving through an intersection. Although Bertier is unable to play due to being paralyzed from the waist down, the team goes on to win the state championship. Bertier would remain a paraplegic for the rest of his life.
Ten years later, Bertier dies in another automobile accident caused by a drunk driver, after winning the gold medal in shot put in the Paralympic Games; it is then revealed that it is his funeral the former football coaches and players are attending.
In the epilogue, descriptions show the players' and coaches' activities after the events in 1971.