8.3/10
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76 user 59 critic

Hoop Dreams (1994)

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

Director:

Steve James
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Basquete Blues See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,830,611

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,830,611
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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

Spoofed in Coop Dreams (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Original Lesson
Written by Ben Sidran, Ricky Peterson & Shock-G (as Greg Jacobs)
Featuring Shock-G (as Shock G & Humpty Hump)
© 1993 Bulldog Music (ASCAP), Pubhowyalike Music (ASCAP), Crazed Weasel Music (BMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A real, human drama
10 May 2005 | by dee.reidSee all my reviews

"Hoop Dreams" is a film about real life, because that is what it's exactly about, real life. I feel that I must put a stronger emphasis on the word "real" to get my point across. This isn't some hokey, Hollywood drama about living out a dream, but is about two aspiring young athletes rising out of the dredges of the Chicago ghetto life and into the flash and glitter of the NBA.

Though I'm not a hardcore sports fan, nor am I really into movies about sports, but I really admire basketball, as I feel it has a kind of grace and natural balance that's lacking in most other sports this vigorous. That is why I like some of the film's exhilarating on-court action that is interspersed evenly with the human drama.

Directed by Steve James and produced by Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert, "Hoop Dreams" originally began as a 30-minute documentary about rising ballplayers, but the filmmakers quickly saw that 30 minutes was just too narrow a scope for their story. This realization came when they witnessed two teens, William Gates and Arthur Agee, as they both try to join the NBA, much like their idol Isiah Thomas.

In total, 250+ hours of footage was gathered over the course of a five-year period and then edited into an engaging 171-minute documentary, following the two teens (from ages 14-18), as they attend expensive Catholic schools, go through the rigorous on-court training, meet the demands of their coaches, and live out their dreams. (Director Spike Lee also appears at a training camp and gives some of the aspiring players some less-than-inspiring advice about what their skills mean to the people at the top of the ladder.)

We watch as their poignant, real-life struggles unfold on the screen, and watch as time after time they get stonewalled by the system of bureaucracy and racism that's meant to be especially hard on two young black boys from the ghetto. They have difficulty with making decent grades, financial issues, preparing for the ACT, sports-related injuries, and must contend with problems at home as well, including trouble with family matters (Arthur's relationship with his father is especially touching and sad; William welcomes a new addition to his family while still in high school).

For years, success stories, such as "Hoop Dreams," have dominated Hollywood cinema and have won over legions of audiences, but we've never seen anything like this. Gates and Agee are both bright-eyed and ambitious that they're embarking on something that's historically significant to their lives and community.

This is the best movie about basketball and reality I've seen yet because of the simple fact that it's real; no scripts, no phony Hollywood theatrics, just "real" action, drama, and emotions.

10/10


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