Jon Barth Leadership Logo

Helping students become
leaders who make an impact on the world

The Best of Enemies Movie Lesson Plan


  • This resource is a downloadable PDF
  • Ideal for Grades 9-12
  • Perfect for Language Arts, Social Studies, Life Skills, Character Education, or Leadership classes
  • Aligned to Common Core State Standards
  • Activities designed to help students meet Social & Emotional Learning Competencies

The Best of Enemies Movie Lesson Plan helps teachers show their students the many lessons to learn from the inspiring true story of a friendship that developed between two people who appeared to live in completely different worlds.

Using The Best of Enemies Movie Lesson Plan, students will learn about rising above their limited perspectives, being a lighthouse to others, and living by the principles of their integrity.

Ann Atwater was a vocal civil rights activist. CP Ellis was the local leader of the Ku Klux Klan. They both had something at stake when the issue of school integration surfaced in Durham, North Carolina in 1971. And they were selected to be co-chairs when an outsider was brought into town to conduct a charrette. This committee was formed to let members of the community decide whether black and white students would go to school together. As they were forced to work together, Ann and CP discovered people have the capacity to do good no matter the color of their skin.

The Best of Enemies Movie Lesson Plan teaches us that we all have a story to tell. And when we encounter people with who we come into conflict, the best way to overcome our differences is to get to know the other person better. Because no matter how much a person seems stuck in their ways, there is always an opportunity for transformation.

In order to complete these activities, students will need to watch the movie The Best of Enemies, which has a rating of PG-13 (thematic material, racial epithets, some violence, and a suggestive reference) and a run time of 2 hours and 13 minutes.


Each of our Leadership at the Movies lesson plans includes the following activities:

✅ Reflection: allows students to journal about one of the movie’s themes prior to watching.

✅ Analysis: questions and prompts to analyze the characters, plot, and climax of the movie.

✅ Practice & Discussion: a partner/group activity that takes the principles of the movie and asks students to take action and grow in their own lives.

✅ Extension: a RAFT (Role-Audience-Format-Topic) writing prompt to help students apply their new knowledge.

✅ Lead for Impact: challenges students to pinpoint how the hero of the story exhibited The 12 Fundamentals of Impact and then synthesize how they can apply the lessons to writing their own story.


WARNING: This is a DEEP LEARNING lesson plan to help students employ a LEADERSHIP approach to SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL LEARNING.

These activities are designed to help students meet the following Social & Emotional Learning Competencies as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

⭐ Develop SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-MANAGEMENT skills to achieve school and life success.

⭐ Use SOCIAL-AWARENESS and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS.

⭐ Demonstrate DECISION-MAKING skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.


The activities in The Best of Enemies Movie Lesson Plan will challenge students to move closer to mastery in the following skills: leadership, cooperation with others, creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, problem solving, and judgment and decision making.

Related Products

Leadership at the Movies Bundle

With school-wide access to lesson plans and teaching resources for over 75 movies, you can help your students strive to reach their full potential!