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Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Drama, Sport  |  14 October 1994 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 16,279 users   Metascore: 98/100
Reviews: 70 user | 43 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional.

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Title: Hoop Dreams (1994)

Hoop Dreams (1994) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself
...
Himself
Emma Gates ...
Herself - William's Mother
Curtis Gates ...
Himself - William's Brother
...
Herself - Arthur's Mother
Arthur 'Bo' Agee ...
Himself - Arthur's Father
Earl Smith ...
Himself - Talent Scout
Gene Pingatore ...
Himself - High School Basketball Coach
Isiah Thomas ...
Himself - Professional Basketball Player
Marlyn Hopewell ...
Herself - High School Guidance Counselor (as Sister Marlyn Hopewell)
Bill Gleason ...
Himself - Television Reporter
Patricia Weir ...
Herself - President: Encyclopedia Brittanica
Marjorie Heard ...
Herself - High School Guidance Counselor
Luther Bedford ...
Himself - High School Basketball Coach
Aretha Mitchell ...
Herself - High School Guidance Counselor
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Storyline

This documentary follows two young African-Americans through their high school years as they perfect their skills in basketball in the hopes of getting a college scholarship and eventually play in the NBA. Arthur Agee and William Gates both show great potential and are are actively recruited as they look to enter high school. They start off at the same high school but unable to pay an unexpected bill for tuition fees, Arthur has to withdraw and go to the local public high school. The film follows them through their four years of high school and their trials and tribulations: injuries, slumps and the never ending battle to maintain their grades. Through it all, their hoop dreams continue. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An Extraordinary True Story.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for drug content and some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basquete Blues  »

Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$7,830,611 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Roger Ebert, after the film failed to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, he and Gene Siskel learned about the nominating process. He said that members of the Academy's documentary committee held flashlights when they watched documentaries, and anyone who had "given up" could wave it against the screen. The movie was turned off if a majority waved their flashlights. Hoop Dreams (1994) was turned off after 15 minutes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Announcer: Welcome to the 38th Annual NBA All Star game from Chicago Stadium.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to Marshall High School and Coach Luther Bedford. This Chicago Public high school is dedicated to academic excellence for all its students. The Hoop Dreams Fund will be used to help Marshall's graduating seniors attend college. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Unhappily Ever After: Hoop Dreams (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Face
Written by Ben Sidran
Featuring Bob Malach & Ben Sidran
© 1993 Bulldog Music (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
10/10
16 September 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The filmmakers here show an admirable dedication to their art and to the underprivileged, spending five years tracking two kids, Arthur and William, and their dreams of basketball stardom. The two subjects and their families are simple and somewhat naive, in an endearing way. Their struggles, sometimes unflattering, are put forth for us to relate to, and we all can. Of course this is about two kids and their love for basketball, and about the "road to" that takes place as they try to get there, but it's really about the way people in near-poverty live, the education system and its downfalls, the manipulation of organized sports and tendency for people to try and achieve their goals through others (Arthur's father, William's brother), and the situation between blacks and whites in America. In one scene, Arthur laments being around mainly white kids for the first time in his life, and says it'll be difficult but he'll manage. That kind of relaxed confidence is so rewarding to watch. The film has endless insights into the black urban experience. Of course not every family in the ghetto is in a position where a father is a criminal and drug user, but when two kids in the same story are in that situation, it's got to be somewhat prevalent.

It's the kind of movie that's sustaining, and there are so many transcendent, revealing moments that stand out: Arthur's mother, such an inspirational woman to watch, as she gets her nurse certification; Arthur's family talking to another family in a cafeteria, with his mother high-fiving an elderly white lady; the descent into and path out of drug addiction; and a scene where the man who recruits these boys says that sometimes he has doubts about himself when he sees the pain that's a part of these kids' lives. Spike Lee makes a brief appearance giving a speech to the kids, and his pessimism is the only sore spot in the film.

We don't have to work for any of this, we don't have to question it. There's nothing to clean away before we can get to the real thing. This is the real thing. A curious moment, however, is one scene where Arthur's mother explains to us at one point she had her electricity cut off, which suggests that the crew wasn't there to film that period. But the next scene has her walking in the dark with a lamp, that seems like an undeclared "reenactment" of something they missed, for editing purposes. But the criticism of manipulation in documentaries is tired. Yes, the possibility of tricking an audience into believing something with a documentary is greater, but unless it's political in some respect it doesn't matter. Documentaries are supposed to be presented how the filmmaker sees fit. With no license, we'd have 350-hour documentaries.

At one moment near the end, William's coach says goodbye to him and as he walks out his coach mentions that that's the system: one goes out, another comes in. It feels like we're saying bye to a member of the family. This is a life-affirming experience, a family that should be visited again. 10/10


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the guy who introduced arthur to st joseph neighborly
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