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Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Drama, Sport  |  14 October 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 17,445 users   Metascore: 98/100
Reviews: 73 user | 50 critic | 18 from

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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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 »


Referenced in Sports Jeopardy!: Episode #1.25 (2015) 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

Utterly Absorbing Documentary
17 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Engrossing documentary about two inner city kids and their struggles to make it into professional basketball.

"Hoop Dreams" made a big splash when it was released in 1994, and there was a big controversy around Academy Award time when it was deemed ineligible in the Best Documentary category. It likely would have won had it been nominated, and it ranks right up there among some of the best documentaries of all time. This is mostly due to how engrossing the storytelling is. You forget you're not watching a fictional film, which just supports the claim that truth can be more compelling than fiction.

You don't have to be a fan of basketball to enjoy this movie.

Grade: A

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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