10 user 3 critic

That Championship Season (1999)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 6 June 1999
Four former high school basketball champions and their coach come together annually to celebrate the year they won the Pennsylvania State Basketball Championship. But this year, instead of ... See full summary »



(play), (teleplay)

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

It started as a friendly meeting between 4 old buddies with their basketball coach and ended up in revealing the truth about their relationship. The meeting forces the five men to reveal ... See full summary »

Director: Jason Miller
Stars: Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Robert Mitchum
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A drama revolving around characters whose lives are transformed one summer at an exclusive East Coast country club.

Director: J. Mills Goodloe
Stars: Mason Gamble, Gary Sinise, Philip Baker Hall
The Final Days (TV Movie 1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Based on the acclaimed book written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, The Final Days chronicles president Richard Nixon's administration during his critical period after the Watergate ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Pearce
Stars: Lane Smith, Richard Kiley, David Ogden Stiers
Bruno (2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Bruno is the story of a unique young boy genius, Bruno (Alex D. Linz), whose expression of his own individuality leads his family and community along an emotional journey. By the time he ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley MacLaine
Stars: Alex D. Linz, Shirley MacLaine, Gary Sinise
The Witness (TV Short 1993)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Chris Gerolmo
Stars: Ryan Alosio, Aaron Freeman, Jono Gero
Jack the Bear (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Danny De Vito is a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Herskovitz
Stars: Danny DeVito, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr., Miko Hughes
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A con-artist hires two low-lifes to cover him during a deal, ending with three criminals, two dueling pistols, and one night they'll never forget.

Director: Oz Scott
Stars: Vincent D'Onofrio, Matthew Lillard, Valeria Golino
All the Rage (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Handguns figure in the intertwining lives of nine people. Warren shoots his wife Helen's lover and his defense is that he thought he was shooting an intruder. She leaves him; the lawyer ... See full summary »

Director: James D. Stern
Stars: Joan Allen, Jeff Daniels, Robert Forster
Made-Up (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A look at how our cultural obsession with youthful good looks affects women who are told their value is dependent on their appearance.

Director: Tony Shalhoub
Stars: Brooke Adams, Lynne Adams, Eva Amurri Martino
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: Paul Sorvino
Stars: Laurence Leboeuf, Paul Sorvino, Glynnis O'Connor
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Stars: Anna Belknap, A.J. Buckley, Sarah Byrd
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of Mary Thomas, the mother of basketball star Isiah Thomas, and how she fought to keep her family together and her sons out of trouble despite the surroundings of poverty, drugs, ... See full summary »

Director: John Patterson
Stars: Alfre Woodard, A.J. Johnson, Leon


Complete credited cast:
Denise Kaye ...
Claire's Mother
Claire (as Jerri Lynn London)
Nick Risher ...
James, Jr. (as Nicolas Risher)
Jeff Rogers ...
Hammond Basketball Player
Frank Lozano ...
Game Announcer (as Frank Rodriguez)
Louis L. Weiss ...
Old Violin Player


Four former high school basketball champions and their coach come together annually to celebrate the year they won the Pennsylvania State Basketball Championship. But this year, instead of the usual whimsical nostalgia they usually experience, the former friends and teammates unleash all their secrets on each other so that the foundation of their lives begins to crumble. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including some sex-related dialogue | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

6 June 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A bajnokok  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


This tele-movie was made and released about twenty-seven years after its source play of the same name by Jason Miller had been first performed in 1982. Miller also wrote the tele-play for this tele-movie as well as the screenplay for the first That Championship Season (1982) movie. See more »


Version of That Championship Season (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Excellent theatre that doesn't translate well to film
21 January 2000 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews

This is the second attempt to bring this thought provoking play to the mass market, this time through a TV movie now in rental. Thoreau is quoted as saying: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This play peels away the layers of self delusion to reveal such desperation in the insecurities, disappointments, unrealized potential and mediocrity of four men and a coach who's lives peaked in high school when they won the state basketball championship.

It is, unfortunately, a depiction too familiar to the many who never escaped their small town or neighborhood and live trying to salvage some feeling of dignity from the mediocrity and despair to which they have allowed their lives to sink.

At the 20th reunion at the coach's house (Paul Sorvino) the characters gradually reveal how pathetic their lives have become. There is the bitter coach, a unabashed bigot who still talks to grown men like they were teenaged basketball players and who believes all of life can be summed up in sports aphorisms.

James (Terry Kinney), a junior high school principal, is by far the most self delusional of the five, clearly a loser who never changed with the times, he believes he has a bright future in politics when he couldn't get elected to a sanitation post.

George (Tony Shalhoub) plays the mayor of Filmore, who has bungled his term in office and will imminently be voted out. He spends most of this time trying to convince himself and everyone else how popular and wonderful he is, when it is clear to everyone that he is a fool.

Phil (Vincent D'Onofrio) is a spoiled little rich boy who inherited his father's business which is now raping the environment for profit. He supports George's campaign so he can get variances that allow him to profit from this abuse.

Tom (a fabulous performance by Gary Sinese) is James brother, a vagabond alcoholic who ironically is the only one who sees the situation with any clarity. He is openly cynical of himself and the others and constantly speaks with justifiable disgust about all his peers and their miserable lives.

The problem with this and most plays that try to go to film is that unless the director adds uniqueness visually, or through the set, location, props or costumes, it just looks like you are watching a play through a window. Since you have lost the power of the live performance, it always loses something in translation.

Sorvino, as the director, failed to do this. He clearly focused on the actors performances (which were all exceptional) and did a brilliant job of recreating a great play on film. That did not make it a great film. It made it seem overly long and tedious. As a play I would give it a 9, as a film a 6.

This is not a film for everyone. One needs to get into a philosophical frame of mind and prepare to see an interesting character study of some very miserable characters. If you are an avid theater goer and can handle a downbeat drama about the failings of common people, I strongly recommend it. Otherwise look for some lighter fare.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
how come no one's posting? bluepotter20
Tour de force cpoet
Discuss That Championship Season (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: