Won't Back Down

6.52 h 1 min2012X-RayPG
HD. A single mother and a dedicated teacher join forces to fight for reform at a failing Pittsburgh school.
Daniel Barnz
Maggie GyllenhaalViola DavisOscar Isaac
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Rosie PerezHolly Hunter
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.5 out of 5 stars

313 global ratings

  1. 71% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

joel wingReviewed in the United States on August 21, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
2 brave women take on the education system
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As a 20+ year public high school teacher this movie struck home. The opening has Maggie Gyllenhaal as a mother with a daughter in an elementary school looking at all the different teachers from good to bad and her inability to change anything for her kid. Schools are like a giant bureaucratic machine which only cares about enrolling students and seeing them leave. What happens to them during that process is of little concern as long as the system keeps going. Together with a teacher played by Viola Davis they attempt to reform their school by jumping through the massive hoops the school district has created within its rules and regulations to make anything change. It also shows the isolation of most teachers who are only really concerned with their kids and their classroom and not the entire student body and school. It’s a powerful set of barriers to overcome. It makes Gyllenhaal and Davis all the more brave for what they tried to do.
One person found this helpful
Trina BurchettReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
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John Adams Elementary is failing, but thousands of students who can't read or write or add are getting passing grades. Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) and Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) work together to change things for the better. Although there is fear and doubt at times, these two women fight with teachers, the school board and parents, not just for the education and futures of their children but for every child attending this inner-city school.

Children are being sent to school but they're not learning anything. A dyslexic little girl is struggling and she gets no help at all. It was disappointing to see educators who didn't care about their students. And the first scene - very bothersome.

Nona and Jamie: I liked the characters, and I was rooting for them till the end. Even though what was going on with the school kept my attention, I was more interested in their personal lives - Nona's family situation, Jamie's relationship with her daughter.

A good movie with a message of hope.
Favorite Line (I think I'm remembering it right): It's been a long time since I got jiggy with it, and I wasn't jiggy then.
2 people found this helpful
Chris D.Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2013
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good Storyline and Great Cast
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I enjoyed the movie "Won't back Down". The cast was great Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jamie Fitzpatrick and Viola Davis as Nona Alberts both played very good parts. And since I am from Pittsburgh, I enjoyed the familiar scenes. The movie was inspired by true events, and I did like the storyline. Although, I would have liked it more if they would have elaborated more on the ending? Was the school successful? How well did the kids do? Did it in fact fold after a short period of time.

I do think it is hard to be a good teacher. They need to deal with both teachers and parents, along with problem kids. I do think education should not only depend on the school alone, but we parents need to take an active part in it. So I do feel that you need to pay close attention to what is going on with your kids and their school work. That is not just up to the teacher, it is a joint effort between both parent and teacher.

Overall, I did like this and would recommend it. We did watch this on Amazon's instant video and we did experience some technical difficulty several times. It was somewhat annoying. Eventually, it did stop and we enjoyed the movie.
2 people found this helpful
CoyoteReviewed in the United States on September 25, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Happy with purchase and seller.
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This dvd movie "won't back down" is how I feel about this super seller I bought the dvd movie from. It arrived on time and in superb condition which is why it played so beautifully. That is the truth that I "won't back down" from. Thank you seller for a great playing dvd.
One person found this helpful
FirstNameMommyReviewed in the United States on January 15, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good Story
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It was a good movie with an inspirational story. Only criticism is it is such a heavy and political topic that the film barely scratched the surface. If it sparks conversation or research by parents that is awesome! My only criticism is for Maggie's character she proved to have such an awesome skill set for sales, organization and even completing the tedious paperwork of such bureaucratic red tape that I wondered why she chose to stay "poor" and work as a bartender. That all that time taken from her kid to do this could have been harnessed in a better paying job that would allow her family to move intercity deficits of a public school. The story is false in that this law has never been successful in equipping and changing schools around. Charter schools are the closest example. As a parent nothing is more frustrating than witnessing the guarded tenure exploited by bad teachers. What other job in life guarantees your position even when you suck?! I felt Maggie G.'s character's frustration with a bad teacher.
One person found this helpful
Foreign Chat WebReviewed in the United States on September 27, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
It Takes One Person to Make a Positive Difference
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This movie was inspirational. It was about two women (Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal) who fight for justice in the public school system so that their kids and others can be taught fairly and respectfully. Of course, like everyone else, they went through obstacles. However, they overcame them and accomplished their goals.

No matter what happens and what people do to you, always follow your heart and do the right thing.
4 people found this helpful
SueReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
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This is apparently based on a true story. I loved the portrayal of the mother because she didn't allow negativity from others to discourage her. I would hope the movie would inspire others to make a difference in other public schools . Now Id like to see a movie showing the fight that parents have watching education dollars be channeled into social engineering projects which eclipse the basic purpose of public education. The movie also depicted the frustrations of dealing with bureaucracies and tenured teachers who no longer care because they have been so disillusioned by the system.
One person found this helpful
ginabinaReviewed in the United States on March 11, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Better than the usual Issue Movie fare
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I have to say for an "issue" movie this one was fairer, more balanced and nuanced than most. Is it totally realistic? No, but then again, it IS a movie. The performances are real and moving and believable. I don't understand why teachers are against this movie. It is pro-teacher, pro-parent involvement, and pro-student. Even the unions don't come across as all bad. It does take careful aim at the school "bureaucracy" - the school board, which is often the biggest obstacle to real reform in schools. I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness and care taken to show all sides of the debate, while clearly taking a stand "for the kids."
3 people found this helpful
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