The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003)



Critic Consensus: LaBeouf is appealing, but The Battle of Shaker Heights feels too watered down and disjointed.

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Movie Info

The Battle of Shaker Heights is directed by the team of Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin. Kelly Ernswiler (Shia LaBeouf) is a quirky 17-year-old whose greatest passion is reenacting battles from World War II. After meeting Bart Bowland (Elden Henson), someone who is nothing like him but shares his passion, Kelly ends up putting his battlefield knowledge to work in real life. The script by Erica Beeney was the winner of the second Project Greenlight competition.

Rating: PG-13 (for language and some drug references)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Erica Beeney
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 9, 2003
Miramax Films - Official Site


as Kelly Ernswiler

as Bart Bowland

as Tabby Bowland

as Lance

as Eve Ernswiler

as Abe Ernswiler

as Harrison Bowland

as Maurice/German Soldi...

as Miner Weber

as Todd/German Soldier

as Mr. Norway

as Principal Holmestead

as German Officer/ Mr. ...

as Xiou-Xiou Ling

as Charlie Hayes

as Infantryman No. 1

as Director

as Infantryman No. 2

as Angry Woman

as Attacker No. 1

as Attacker No. 2
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Battle of Shaker Heights

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (26)

After the movie scored poorly at a test screening, Miramax vice president Rick Schwartz bullied directors Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin into playing up the comedic elements and soft-pedaling the family drama.

Full Review… | April 6, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

For most of its length it coasts by with above-average charm and a solid grasp of messy adolescent emotions.

Full Review… | October 16, 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The film is well-acted and looks good, but it's so inconsequential and bland that you wonder what was it about the script that made anyone think it would make an interesting movie.

Full Review… | October 3, 2003
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Cinematic mush.

October 3, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

It's too much going on, but I think that as was the case with Stolen Summer, the actors rise above the material and make it worth seeing.

Full Review… | September 2, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

An inoffensive, if somewhat bedraggled, little movie.

August 29, 2003
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Battle of Shaker Heights

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Elden Henson, Amy Smart, Billy Kay, Kathleen Quinlan, William Sadler, Shiri Appleby, Ray Wise, Anson Mount

Director: Efram Potelle, Kyle Rankin

Summary: Teenaged Kelly (Shia LaBeouf) loves reenacting battles. When he befriends Bart (Elden Henson), also a war enthusiast, they decide to take on a school bully by using time-tested strategies. But their friendship is tested when Kelly falls for Bart's sister. Directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle and screenwriter Erica Beeney are winners of Project Greenlight, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's moviemaking contest.

My Thoughts: "It was funny and entertaining. Shia plays a kid who's mother is a painter and kinda a hippie.. His father is a recovering drug addict trying to better himself by helping those who are still addicts.. Shia's character is funny, smart, and angry. I think others would enjoy this movie. It was made before Shia got big.. I think it kinda reminded me of his Even Stevens character with all the smart come backs.. Liked Elden Henson in this movie too. Haven't really seen him in a lot of films."


Super Reviewer


The Battle of Shaker Heights may be a simple movie, but it does that in the best way possible. It brings together a great cast of characters in this low-budget, loveable movie. The story of Kelly (Shia Labeouf) as an actor in war films, decides to takes his acting skills into real life situations. When he mixes his war-life with romance, things get complicated and friendships are lost. This is a harmless movie that people of all ages can enjoy, with a heart-warming story and a great life lesson, The Battle of Shaker Heights just barely makes itself a great memory, but I will definitely be revisiting it in time. Very solid teen flick that not too many people know much about...

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


For it being a very small indie with essentially no reason for people to go see it other than it won Project Greenlight, it is a great movie. Shia LaBeouf really did a great job and carried the movie with no trouble. The story was a little corny, but it still manages to be a fun coming-of-age movie.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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