Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Drama, Sport  |  14 October 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 17,644 users   Metascore: 98/100
Reviews: 74 user | 50 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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Hoop Reality is the sequel to the 1994 documentary "Hoop Dreams" and explores what happened during the last decade from where "Hoop Dreams" left off. It follows the original basketball hero... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
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
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


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


An Extraordinary True Story.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 October 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basquete Blues  »

Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)


$7,830,611 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During filming, the electricity was turned off in the Agee home. The filmmakers paid for the lights to be turned back on. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the St. Joseph High School community and Coach Gene Pingatore who agreed to participate in a not for profit Kartemquin Educational film telling William and Arthur's stories. Today, St. Joseph, with a 39% minority enrollment, remains committed to the dream of a better life for all. Awarding need based financial aid to 40% of its students, St. Joseph with limited resources continues to maintain its academic excellence. A Hoop Dreams Fund has been set up to provide academic scholarships. See more »


Followed by Hoop Reality (2007) See more »


Hoop Dreams
Written by Ben Sidran, Ricky Peterson & Tony Mosley
Featuring Tony Mosley (as Tony M.)
© 1993 Bulldog Music & St. Paul Music (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

Objective and Quiet, but Powerful Statement to Represent Disadvantaged Youth in Urban America
11 March 2004 | by (Chiba City, Japan) – See all my reviews

"Basketball is a ticket out of ghetto." (William Gates)

"... nobody cares about you. You're a black, you're a young male... The only reason why you're here [Nike training camp] is so you can make their team win. And if the team wins these schools get a lot of money." (Spike Lee)

These phrases, which have persisted as common knowledge among the African-American community during last several decades, have become familiar to the non-hyphenated Americans in the 90s, thanks to the films such as Boyz N the Hood and He Got Game. Among them, Hoop Dreams, a documentary that follows two black youths during a five-year period, is the most objective and the most quiet, but the most powerful statement to represent the disadvantaged youth in urban America.

The film reveals the pattern they follow. Being deluded by the luxurious surface of pro sports, they neglect education and then ending up going nowhere. The community suffers the vicious cycle and their feelings that the system exploits them remain.

Kudos to the filmmakers for their insane amount of work. They must have gone through numerous negotiations to attend and film various scenes, such as family's private events, classrooms, academic counseling, recruiting sessions with college coaches, and surgery operation rooms.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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