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Knights of the South Bronx Reviews

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Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2012
A well-executed, inspiring, feel good classroom film. I just love movies like this. A little more than made-for-tvish, but it did my heart good...
May 20, 2010
The script's cliche/weak, and lacks the overt drama of better 'teacher' films. Nevertheless, the story of David MacEnulty's nationally successful, baked-from-scratch scholastic chess team within one of the most underprivileged school districts in America is indeed a story well worth telling and viewing.

Not surprisingly, the studios balked on this property, shopped for years before finding production under A&E's made-for-television moniker. The sadder, untold ending is MacEnulty was eventually baited away to run chess at Manhattan's prestigious Dalton School.

As a once organizer (and player) of scholastic chess, I can attest that the ideas dramatized herein are true enough. Young students WILL find chess fascinating and initially attain significant skill simply through practice. Chess IS a leveler; reasonably smart students lacking resources (such as private coaches) CAN challenge and defeat those who have them. Students ARE mesmerized by the trophies that represent their intellectual achievement. Involvement in scholastic chess DOES positively impact academics: it instills physical and intellectual focus, practices logical/spatial reasoning, teaches that concentration/study and practice is not meaningless work but rather eventually leads to REAL outcomes/improvement.

And yes, there is often administrative resistance. Chess pulls no gate, hence financial backing is a major issue, though chess costs far less than most sports. Chess is not status quo curriculum, so it's allotted no time or respect. Advocacy by parents and outsiders is key. Within two years, my own "high-need, urban high school" chess program went from scratch to competitive, running active tournaments, interesting over 100 students, taking some state/national trophies, after which a district-wide program was implemented and a full-time chess master hired.

Scholastic chess CAN work wonders for K-12 students; watch this film - and then imagine what it can do for your children and your schools.
March 20, 2008
I am such a sucker for these kinds of movies, only because they are real life & this is exactly what I wanted to do with my life, until I was blessed with my son!
This is a very touching, heartwarming movie about fourth graders & one five year old in the Bronx who are given an oppurtunity to learn to play chess to benefit their future!
Ted Danson played a terrific role as the teacher, who is basically pulled by his family & the children who have made way into his heart, by teaching them how life is like chess. It had some good points & good quotes throughout.
"Always keep watch with your third eye, which is your brain & nothing can stop you!"
September 24, 2012
Good movie indeed !! Inspiring for childrens !!
Anna M.
July 27, 2010
The lackluster effect of this film is a result of uninspired directing. The kids give decent performances but the script and the directing never let it soar. It'll make you feel hopeful but it is far to saccharin. Very little effort was made to reflect the true grittiness of the lives of the children, everything is telegraphed and fits into a sweet little preconceived package. I rolled my eyes far too often at the convenient and sudden change of heart the bad guys TV!
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