Hoop Dreams (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Documentary, Drama, Sport  |  14 October 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 17,641 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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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
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Did You Know?


St. Joseph High School filed a lawsuit to prevent the film from being released to theaters. They claimed they were told the film would only air on PBS, and accused the filmmakers of misrepresenting and defaming the school. The two sides reached a settlement, and the filmmakers created an academic fund at the school. 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 »


Walking the Walk
Written by Ricky Peterson, Ben Sidran & Paul Peterson
Featuring Ricky Peterson
© 1993 Bulldog Music, St. Paul Music (ASCAP), Crazed Weasel Music (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

A true testament to the encroaching world of pro sports
9 May 2002 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

This film simply exemplifies the reason why I hate most Oscar voters. This movie didn't even get a nomination, and it was one of the most successful documentaries ever! This especially exhibits the encroachment of coaches, family and other parties when it comes to the well being of inner city kids, who just happen to be good basketball players. Considering the state of pro basketball now, this kind of shows how the downward cycle of basketball was seeking lower standards. Sometimes funny, often times sad and poignant, this film is easily one of the best documentaries of all time.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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