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(2006), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 52min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
April 6, 2006
49 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG-13 [R-13*] -- Know that Take the Lead  is another R-13 ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): New Line Cinema, Tiara Blu Films
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Liz Friedlander
Producer(s): Christopher Godsick, Michelle Grace, Mathew Hart, Mark Kaufman, Ray Liotta, Matt Moore, Diane Nabatoff, Luke Ryan
Written by: Dianne Houston
Cinematography/Camera: Alex Nepomniaschy
Music: Swizz Beatz, Aaron Zigman
Film Editing: Robert Ivison
Production Design: Paul D. Austerberry
Art Direction: Nigel Churcher
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

The tag line for Take the Lead  is "Never Follow", making "follow" an undesirable matter. While the lead-follow concept certainly applies to partner dance, the implication of "never follow" as used in the tag line is not the same, drawing heavily on its appeal to the inexperienced heart.

Jesus would not likely approve that "never follow" encouragement since He told us that to be first we must be last: to be greatest we must be least and the servant of all. [Mark 9:33 - 35] Jesus tells us many times in the New Testament to follow Him. For example, Matt. 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." As used in the tag line, "follow" does seem to be used in a derogatory sense contrary to His wishes. Maybe "follow" would not be so undesirable if we think of it in the following way: to be a good leader one must first know how and when to be a good follower.

There is nothing wrong with being a follower, for a leader cannot be a good leader without good followers and vice versa. Isn't Jesus the greatest leader ever known but yet servant of all? That  is a good example of practicing what you preach.

Take the Lead  is reported to be based on a true story of how Manhattan ballroom dance instructor Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) "took the lead" with a group of John Drake High School detention hall teens and made a difference in their lives.

In the beginning, Jason "Rock" Rockwell (Rob Brown) attempts to muscle his way into a school affair which requires tickets. His ticket was counterfeit according to the school teacher ticket-taker. The school principal, Augustine James (Alfre Woodard - a perfect choice for "principal") came and, with the help of two security officers, set Rock back a space or two. Rock didn't like that.

Though reluctant at first, as if he had scruples, at the goading of a couple street thug acquaintances of his, Rock trashes James' car with a golf club. Dulaine witnesses the trashing but does not turn Rock in to the police. Rock is also one of the detention hall students under Mr. Dulaine's supervision.

As time and persistence go by, Dulaine helps the kids find confidence and respect. Confidence built by the self-realization that the kids can dance. Respect in a most unexpected way. At a PTO meeting assembled to terminate the dance class, one of Dulaine's points of rational was that dance would teach their sons how to touch girls ... with respect. He won the PTO over and even garnered inquiries of whether Mr. Dulaine teaches adults, too. Similar and unrelated examples of the teaching by example of righteous thought and behavior are relatively frequent in the film.

Dulaine's program is so successful each of the D-Hall students becomes proficient enough to enter the 25th Annual Grand Ballroom Dance Competition along with the high society snobs. The previously vulgar, sometimes criminal, always disrespectful, ever-doubting teens are dancing the waltz, the foxtrot, the tango and more. And doing a good job of it. Good enough to win some of the parts of the competition.

There is much to be said for "teaching by example" whether in the classroom or at home. Too bad that so much "teaching by example" is caught from the big screen. Yes, "caught" is correct. Values and ethics are not so much taught as caught. Red-handed ... in the act ... on the screen. God is right. [1 Cor. 15:33]

Though Take the Lead  has a number of good things to say, such is up to your discovery should you opt to watch this film. Our focus is not to inform our readers of the positive features of films, which many films present. Our focus is to provide you with the most detailed accounting possible of the assaults on morality and decency so that you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your family or not.

Know that Take the Lead  is another R-13 evidently targeted at the high school age stratum. It is R-13 mainly because of so many sexually suggestive/expressive mannerisms [Gal. 5:19] plus so many uses of profanity. [2 Tim. 2:16 - 17, Eph. 5:4] Not only is Take the Lead another example of R-13 entertainment, it is also another example of the CAP Rule of 1000. [Ps. 12:8]

Please depend more on the listing of observations in the Findings/Scoring section for your assessment of this film than on this Summary Commentary. But please note that I left in the middle of the rolling credits in which the filmmakers inserted replay shots from the body of the film, some of which may be repeats of the assualts on morality and decency. Sights/sounds not observed/heard by the investigator are not noted in the Findnigs/Scoring section nor are they incoporated into the scoring.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Mark 9:33 - 35 They [the disciples with Jesus] came to Capernaum. When he [Jesus] was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 - 17 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker...
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [sunedrion: adjudication]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. I suspect "offend" includes sexually abusing the little ones. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Take the Lead (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • fighting with police
  • coaching to vandalize
  • trashing car for revenge
  • traffic violence
  • petty theft - teen, twice
  • physical aggression by a teen against a teacher
  • assault of father
  • teen son choosing crime/violence to deal with pain of dysfunctional family
  • martial fighting
  • trespassing - teen
  • abusing parenting, repeatedly
  • teen fight
  • teen possession of illegal firearm
  • firearm threat to teen's head
  • firearm threat by teen
  • beating of teen

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 45 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, 32 times by teens
  • teen arrogance/disrespect toward authority, repeatedly
  • hateful talk to parents

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • dressing to maximize the human form and/or skin exposure, repeatedly
  • dressing to intentionally expose underwear
  • pelvic thrusts, repeatedly, in dance and not
  • self grabbing of privates, some rather vulgar
  • inappropriate touch - teen, twice
  • moves of intercourse
  • exposing children to cohabitation/prostitution
  • teen talk of intercourse
  • below navel skin threatening exposure of that which follows
  • suggestive dance moves
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts
  • flashes of semi-thong nudity
  • attempted rape of teen girl by adult male
  • teen asking about teacher's sex life
  • request for sex of teen by teen
  • mother practicing prostitution (unseen)
  • sexual innuendo by teen

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drunkenness
  • reference to teen murder from involvement in illegal drugs

    Offense to God (O)
  • "fool", twice [Matt. 5:22]
  • three uses of God's name in vain, each with the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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