Half Nelson

Synopsis: Young Caucasian Dan Dunne teaches history and coaches the girls basketball team at a Brooklyn high school populated primarily by black and Hispanic students. To the chagrin of his superiors, Dan bucks the outlined curriculum of historical facts in favor of the philosophy of historical events, generally discussing the concept of dialectics. As such, he captures the imagination of his students, at least in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, Dan's life is in shambles. He has a distant but cordial relationship with his family. He uses illicit drugs rampantly. Although his former girlfriend Rachel was able to clean up her drug habit, Dan believes that rehab will not work for him. Due to a combination of these issues, he treats women poorly. Thirteen year old Drey is a student in his class and a player on his basketball team. Drey has her own problems. Her parents are divorced, with her father a virtually non-existent figure in her life and her EMT mother generally absent as she is alw
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Ryan Fleck
Production: ThinkFilm
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 29 wins & 47 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

One, two, three,

four, five, six

Seven, eight, nine,

ten, eleven, twelve


--auditions for Miss Jackson

step rehearsals.

Step rehearsals will meet

in room 326 after school today.


What is history?


You can read the board.

I'm so happy to hear that.

No, what is it?

What does it mean?



Thank you, Stacey.

I'm glad to hear

someone's paying attention.

History is the study

Of change over time.

and what's change?

It's this.

It's opposites.

It's two things that

push against each other

in opposite directions.

So the civil rights movement,

okay, it's essentially,

It's two opposing mentalities.

In the south,

the majority believes

All men are not created equal,

and there's a minority

Who believes that they are,

so that minority struggles

and it fights and it pushes

till eventually

It becomes the majority.

Am I boring you?


Let's give you some examples,

okay, of opposing forces,

Like I'm going to go

night and day.

What else?

Big and little.


Anything else?

Left and right.

Left and right, very good.


Me and you.

You and I.

Teacher, student.

Anything else?

Mr. Dunn?


Just wondering if you

could count me and Gina's

baldheaded sister as opposites.

Oh, insult.

Gina come on, tell me you're not

going to take that?

You got a bald sister?

Is your sister bald?

Give me something.

May 17, 1954.


and I expect some thought

from you.

I don't want

just dates and facts.

I want to know why.

I want to know consequences.

I want to know what it means.

All right.

Now, back to the bald sister.

What's going on with that?





I'm shooting.

You got your girl open

over here.

She's sending out smoke signals

over here.

She's got the fire.

She's going I got it over here

and you're like--

Come on, get open.

Oh, yeah.


You going to put that down

and come play or what?

I ain't done yet, Coach.

All right, top of the key,

three passes, here we go.

Thursday, 11:
16 a.m.

Hello, this is Taylor calling

from Consolidated Credit.

This is an urgent message

For Mr. Daniel Dunn

Regarding your

outstanding balance.

Please call me back as soon--

Thursday, 5:
25 p.m.

Hey, Dan, it's Rachel.

I'm in town for a while.

You know, my Mom, anyway,

I know it's been forever,

But I'd really like to see you.

I don't know.

I'll be at my parents

so give me a call, okay?


Thursday, 5:
25 p.m.

Hey, Dan, it's Rachel.

I like Oprah.

I love Oprah.

But the thing is I was just

f***ing things up just

to f*** them up.

Right, right.


You know what I mean?


But I was a writer.

I hate words.


Right, because everything

that is worth--

Right, just forget it.

so you're a teacher?

I'm a teacher.

and what am I supposed

To teach them, you know

what I mean?

What am I supposed

to teach them?


That's the point,

you know what I mean?


If you can help one student.


No, if you can change

One person, right?

If you can change one person--

Then you can change them all.

No, that's not the point.

The point is, if you change one.

I want to dance.

Then you can teach them--

Do you want to dance?

--the rest of the village,

The-- what is it?

I want to dance.

Let's dance.

What's going on, bro?

What's the word?

What's that?

What, this right here?


Some new street sh*t.

Go ahead, man, check it out.

You got to feel that sh*t.

What you think about that?

Yeah, it's not bad.

It's the street sh*t?

That's the street sh*t.

So what you need, teach,

another eighth?

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Ryan Fleck

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Half Nelson" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 28 Sep. 2022. <https://www.scripts.com/script/half_nelson_9491>.

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