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September 15, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER

What: "Remember the Titans."

Where: Theaters everywhere

When: Opens Sept. 29

"Remember the Titans" is the most enjoyable sports movie since "Hoosiers."

It's filled with humor, drama and action, all without profanity, nudity or alcohol. It teaches important lessons about race, friendship and responsibility.

It's the true story of the high school football team from Alexandria, Va., the T.C. Williams Titans. It's 1971, and the school board has been forced to integrate a mostly all-white school with students from a mostly all-black school.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday September 15, 2000 Home Edition Sports Part D Page 2 Sports Desk 1 inches; 20 words Type of Material: Correction
Hot Corner--There were 51,000 killed, wounded or captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. The information was incorrect in Friday's editions.

As part of the agreement, a black coach has been hired as head coach over a white coach who had more seniority. Turmoil is spreading through the team, the school and the community.

What unfolds is an inspiring tale of how two proud but determined coaches learn to trust each other and how a group of players show the way for an entire city, turning hatred and distrust into friendship.

One of the most powerful scenes involves the team engaging in a 3 a.m. run during its preseason training camp. The exhausted players finally reach their destination, a cemetery at Gettysburg, where 50,000 Americans died in the epic battle of the Civil War.

Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, pleads with his football players to abandon their bickering and prejudices.

"If we don't come together on these hallow grounds, we too will be destroyed," he says.

The team wins its first game, then its second, its third and keeps winning all the way to the state final. The championship game is just as memorable as the final basketball game in "Hoosiers."

This is a movie for people of all ages, but those who play or coach high school football will receive a special jolt of inspiration.

And any coach who needs an assistant might want to take tips from the 9-year-old daughter of T.C. Williams assistant coach Bill Yoast. She knows more about football than John Madden and steals some of the best lines in the movie.

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