Drumline (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Drumline (2002)



Critic Consensus: Essentially a sports movie with drums, the energetic Drumline somehow manages to make the familiar seem fresh.

Movie Info

Drumline brings the world of "show-style" marching bands (popular at traditionally black, Southern colleges) to the big screen for the first time. The story, by Shawn Schepps, was inspired by the high school drumline experiences of executive producer/executive music producer Dallas Austin. Devon (Nick Cannon of Nickelodeon's The Nick Cannon Show) is a Harlem drummer who earns a full scholarship to the fictional Atlanta A&T University. There, his talent gets the attention of the school's embattled musical director, Dr. Lee (Orlando Jones), who puts his students' education and appreciation for musical tradition ahead of the marching band's popularity. Devon's brashly egotistical attitude doesn't endear him to Lee, whose slogan for the band is "One band, one sound," or to the drumline's disciplined captain, Sean (Leonard Roberts, late of TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Devon has more success with the dance captain of the marching band, Laila (Zoe Saldana, who played a ballet dancer in Center Stage), a Southern belle who's won over by Devon's confidence. Sean feels threatened by Devon's talent, and his attitude, so when he learns that Devon can't read music, he uses the information to his advantage. With the band facing their archrival at a huge marching band competition, Dr. Lee has to decide whether to allow the brilliant drummer to perform, despite his attitude. Devon has to prove that he can show his skills while still being part of the team. Drumline was directed by Charles Stone III (Paid in Full), and features cameo appearances by musical artists Blu Cantrell and Petey Pablo. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for innuendo and language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Tina Gordon Chism, Shawn Schepps, Reginald Blythewood
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 15, 2003
Box Office: $56.2M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


Orlando Jones
as Dr. James Lee
as Jayson
Earl Poitier
as Charles
Afemo Omilami
as President Wagner
Angela Gibbs
as Dorothy
Brandon Hirsch
as Buck Wild
Al Wiggins
as Principal
Petey Pablo
as Himself
Stuart Scott
as Fox Sports Commentat...
Von Coulter
as Devon Miles Sr.
James Sims-Prewitt
as Trumpet Section Lead...
George A. Peters II
as Sax Section Leader
Gary Yates
as Coach Ellison
Rob Cleveland
as Music Professor
Enoch King
as Tuba Section Leader
AJ Calloway
as BET Announcer No. 1
as BET Announcer No. 2
Reggie Gay
as Morris Brown Announc...
Ryan Cameron
as A&T Announcer
Blu Cantrell
as Nation Anthem Singer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Drumline

Critic Reviews for Drumline

All Critics (93) | Top Critics (31)

Charles Stone III is a craftsman with brains and taste, an instinctive sense of where to put the camera and the discipline not to belabor scenes.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Top Critic

A superlative B movie -- funny, sexy, and rousing.

Full Review… | December 23, 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Offers little that's surprising or groundbreaking, but, because the script is smart enough not to insult us and to develop a group of interesting characters, the act of watching the film is an entertaining experience rather than a tedious exercise.

Full Review… | December 17, 2002
Top Critic

I love that we get into this world of marching bands. We barely see any football players -- we see the top of their helmets as they're getting out of the way.

Full Review… | December 16, 2002
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Outstanding cast, great message, strong language.

Full Review… | December 22, 2010
Common Sense Media

True bandos can see themselves in this exuberant, charismatic and lovingly accurate college marching-band movie that faked no flavor while staying in step with themes of instruction, character and respect.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

Audience Reviews for Drumline

Wow. A movie that can make watching marching bands interesting. The constant battles are very fun to watch. Young funny guy Nick Cannon really adds alot to this movie.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


I had never planned on seeing this (for whatever reason), but I saw it a few years ago in a film and music class and forgot to review it on here.

It's predictable, a little corny, but it's still a harmless and heartwarming tale of inspiration that makes you feel good afterwards. The music is good, and the performances are above average, so if you have some spare time and are bored, this is an okay time filler.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I was in the band in high school. I appreciate it's cuteness.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

Drumline Quotes

Devon Miles: I'm the best drummer you got!
– Submitted by Anna S (3 years ago)
Dr. Lee: You have to learn how to follow before you can lead.
– Submitted by Kaye E (4 years ago)

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