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National Champions | 2021 | R | – 5.2.10

content-ratingsWhy is “National Champions” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language throughout and sexual references.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes two implied sex scenes with partial nudity, a protest that culminates in a threatened boycott, many arguments, threats of exposure of damming information, and nearly 70 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


As two college football players (Stephan James and Alexander Ludwig) prepare for a National Championship game, they plan to derail the proceedings by staging a protest over unfair practices and the exploitation of student athletes. As coaches and sponsors scramble to get things back on track, the two players work to convince more of their teammates to join the boycott and make their voices heard. Also with J.K. Simmons, Lil Rel Howery, Tim Blake Nelson, Andrew Bachelor, David Koechner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kristin Chenoweth, Timothy Olyphant and Uzo Aduba. Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. [Running Time: 1:56]

National Champions SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A man and a married woman kiss passionately in a hotel room, they lie in bed (sex is implied) and we see the man shirtless and the woman wearing skimpy lingerie (his bare chest and abdomen and her cleavage are seen). A married woman wearing skimpy lingerie (we see her cleavage and partial leg and hip) smokes a marijuana cigarette and dances suggestively in a hotel room as a shirtless man (we see his bare chest and abdomen) in a bed watches her; the woman climbs on the bed, straddles the man and they kiss passionately (sex is implied).
 A man appears to be flirting with another man working in a bar and offers him football tickets; he asks then when he gets off work. A man refers to his relationship with a married woman as a “hotel room romance.” A man describes having to rely on a pill to help him perform sexually. A woman accuses a man of spending money on high-paid escorts.
 A woman wears a very deeply cut dress that reveals cleavage. A young man answers his hotel room door shirtless and we see his bare chest, abdomen and back. A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage.

National Champions VIOLENCE/GORE 2

 – Men pound on hotel room doors looking for two players that they are unable to locate. Several people do rounds in a hotel conducting bed checks on football players. We see tent villages of homeless people under highway overpasses in a city.
 Men and a woman argue about what should be their strategy to stop a protest by athletes in several scenes. A man tries to rally his team and talks about there being no glory in money. A woman yells at a man to leave a hotel room. A wife tells her husband that she is leaving him and he pleads with her to stay. A woman yells at two young men and describes her experience as a student athlete.
 A young man talks about an injury to his elbow during a football game that has caused a continuing issue. Two young men repeat lines from a movie scene and pretend to shoot each other; one falls on the floor and one falls on a bed (there are no injuries). A woman talks about a fight that caused a young man to lose sight in one eye. A young man talks about his brother committing suicide. A young man remarks about another player that, “Gave us all Rona.” We hear about a man that worked in the kill beds in a meat packing plant and that the job broke him. A man talks about college sports being a “modern day slave trade.” A woman accuses a man of being in breach of 16 contracts. We hear about an athlete injuring his knee in a practice and that he lost his scholarship because he couldn’t play anymore. People talk about an attempted murder charge. People talk about a young man’s felony possession charge and that he served time in jail. A reference to someone being ripped apart limb by limb.
 A young man gags and spits (we do not see goo) and complains of his nerves. A young man coughs and sniffles in many scenes throughout the movie and appears ill; we see him with an IV in one scene and people talk about giving him a Z-pack. A man says that his best friend died of a blood cancer.

National Champions LANGUAGE 10

 – About 68 F-words and its derivatives, 3 sexual references, 36 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 20 mild obscenities, 3 derogatory terms for African-American people, name-calling (selfish, dog and pony show, crazy, white boy, green, crazy, poor fools, brainwashed, pawn, poison, amateur move, Haitian Hammer, tragic, tanking, martyr, self-righteous, ungrateful, pimply faced, calamitous, hilarious, spoiled brats, sick system, monster, overlords, completely heartless, simple snowflakes, Kaepernick him, Bible Belt [F-word deleted], circle jerk), exclamations (spitting in the wind, yo, shut-up, easy big fella, I get it, jeez, wake up), 17 religious profanities (GD), 18 religious exclamations (e.g. thank God, oh my God, I swear to God, God bless your daddy’s soul, Holy [scatological term deleted], Jesus [F-word deleted] Christ, pray on it, two young men say prayers in a few scenes). | profanity glossary |

National Champions SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man talks about “blow,” a woman smokes a marijuana cigarette in a hotel room, and a young man that appears to be ill is shown with an IV in one scene and people talk about giving him a Z-pack. A bar is shown on a TV report where bottles of liquor are seen in the background and a few people are seated at the bar, people drink at a dinner event, a young man asks another man how drunk he is, a young man guzzles a beer in a bar, men drink glasses of whiskey in a few scenes, and we see a video of a young man chugging a lot of beer.

National Champions DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – College football, student athletes, racism, respect, controversy, boycotts, cover-ups, national football titles, glory, sacrifice, the American Dream, greed, capitalism, funding college football programs, infidelity, suicide, exploitation of student athletes, unions, ACLU.

National Champions MESSAGE

 – College sports need to be more responsible to their players.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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