Identify and describe from the film "Remember the Titans" an internal conflict.

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no shortage of internal conflict within the 2000 film Remember the Titans. From the film's plot, which depicts the integration of a Virginia high school football program, to the personality clashes and struggles among individual players to come to terms with their prejudices, "Remember the Titans" is all about the ability of a group of dedicated coaches and athletes to overcome these societal obstacles and form a cohesive unit. The efforts of Herman Boone, the African American hired to take over as head coach of this newly-integrated football team, to overcome racial tensions and prejudices to bring his players together into a winning unit, could by itself constitute a good discussion of internal conflict. Perhaps a better example of internal conflict in Remember the Titans, though, is that between two top, mean football players, one black, the other white. These two players, Gerry Bertier, the Caucasian, and Julius Campbell, the African American, represent a microcosm of the racial hostilities that permeate the atmosphere but but that ultimately give way to the common humanity that unites these athletes as they focus on the goal of winning.

Early in the film, Boaz Yakin, the film's director, and Gregory Allen Howard, the screenwriter of record, focus on the conflict between Bertier and Julius, or Big Ju. Bertier, a team captain totally dedicated to football, berates Julius for the latter's narcissistic attitude towards the rest of the team. From Julius' perspective, however, the underlying problem affecting the team lies in the racial prejudices of white players unwilling to support their black brethren:

Julius: Why should I give a hoot about you, huh? Or anyone else out there? You wanna talk about the ways you're the captain, right?

Bertier: Right.

Julius: You got a job?

Bertier: I've got a job.

Julius: You been doing your job?

Bertier: I've been doing my job.

Julius: Then why don't you tell your white buddies to block for Rev better? Because they have not blocked for him worth a plug nickel, and you know it! Nobody plays. Yourself included. I'm supposed to wear myself out for the team? What team? Nah, nah what I'm gonna do is look out for myself and I'ma get mine.

The conflict between Bertier and Julius represents the journey this team takes on its way to a championship. These are children on the cusp of adulthood thrust into the culturally uncomfortable situation courtesy of the country's legacy of racism and institutionalized segregation. By focusing on the conflict between these two prominent members of the football team, the film can better illuminate the extent of the journey on which the team as a whole is traveling. Bertier, a real-life figure (the film is based on a real-life story) is paralyzed in an automobile accident, by which time the racial gulf between players has been overcome. Contrast the following exchange later in the film with the above dialogue from earlier:

Bertier: Well, you think I look banged up, you should see my Camaro.

Julius: Man, I sure am sorry, man. I should have been there with you.

Bertier: What are you talking about? You would've been in that bed right next to me.

Julius: You can't be hurt like this. You - you're Superman.

Bertier: I was afraid of you, Julius. I only saw what I was afraid of, and now I know I was only hating my brother.

The relationship between Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell evolves during the course of Remember the Titans, just as occurs with the team as a whole. In the face of hostile outsiders represented by opposing teams, and with the courageous leadership of the team's coaches, the players overcome their initial reluctance to form a cohesive unit. There are, as noted above, other examples of internal conflict in Remember the Titans. The one involving Bertier and Julius, however, warrants particular attention.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the movie Remember the Titans, internal conflict shows up clearly in the way Gary must decide how to handle his desire to be on the team and the internal conflict with being friends with people of color.  Gary confronts Julius openly about the black power poster in the room causing a fight, but thinks about what Julius says when he says the white players do not block for Rev, the black running back.  Quietly, internally, Gary fights the battle to decide if he can trust or be friends with Julius, the leader of the black players on the team.  He finally confronts his white friend who isn't doing his job for the team, and eventually Gary must choose between being part of the football team, black players and all, or joining the segregation promoted even by his mother.  Gary's choice to give his all to the team and trust his black coach and teammates leads to a united football team and a championship.  Gary pays a big price for his choice while admitting to Julius that he was afraid of what he didn't know --that Julius is his brother. Gary's internal conflict plays throughout the movie showing the audience how difficult the choices were for everyone involved in this integrated championship team.