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He Got Game (1998)

R | | Drama, Sport | 1 May 1998 (USA)
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A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Jake Shuttlesworth
Ray Allen ... Jesus Shuttlesworth
Milla Jovovich ... Dakota Burns
Rosario Dawson ... Lala Bonilla
Hill Harper ... Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
Zelda Harris ... Mary Shuttlesworth
Ned Beatty ... Warden Wyatt
Jim Brown ... Spivey
Joseph Lyle Taylor ... Crudup
Bill Nunn ... Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay Michele Shay ... Aunt Sally
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ... Sweetness
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Big Time Willie
John Turturro ... Coach Billy Sunday
Lonette McKee ... Martha Shuttlesworth
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Storyline

Tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation. Jesus and his dream to make it to the big ranks in professional basketball are overshadowed by his father, Jake, who is spending his life in prison for killing Jesus' mother. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A father's freedom depends on his son's choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexuality, some drug content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tudo em Jogo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,610,663, 3 May 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$21,554,585, 26 July 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to the multiple coaches and players appearing as themselves, three of Jesus' teammates were played by NBA players at the time of the movie's release, Travis Best, Walter McCarty, and John Wallace. Another NBA player, Rick Fox, played Chick, who shows Jesus around Tech University. As of 2014, Fox has quite a bit of acting roles, but this movie is the only screen roles for Best and McCarty, while Wallace only has one other acting role, in another Spike Lee movie Bamboozled (2000). See more »

Goofs

At first while D'Andre is touching Lala's neck, he's not wearing any ring - next scene he's wearing a silver ring on his ring finger. See more »

Quotes

Michael Jordan: He got game.
See more »


Soundtracks

Down a Country Lane
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Aaron Copland, Conductor
Written by Aaron Copland
The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Copyright Owner
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Solo Publisher
Courtesy of Sony Classical
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A flawed film that still flies.
4 May 2003 | by ericb336See all my reviews

My two favorite Spike Lee movies are "Clockers" and "He Got Game" and they share similarities: both are about guys trying to keep integrity amidst characters whose primary motives are to persuade him to leave the path.

"He Got Game" gets the edge because I love basketball and because I'm a sucker for well done father-son conflicts. The basketball parts of this movie are absolutely brilliantly shot. Most sports movies share two commonalities: completely ridiculous storylines and actors who throw like sissies. He Got Game avoids both.

Okay, some parts of the story are hoky, but allowable. But what makes this movie work, similar to "Clockers" is that you get sucked into a main character whose nobility is tested at every turn. Will Jesus Shuttlesworth make it through the maze or fall prey to it? And will he be able to recognize that his father is not just one more flesh peddler? It makes for good drama. But above that, the basketball scenes just completely rock. They're examples of absolutely masterful cinematography and editing. In fact, the movie has some of the best montage sequences every put on film. Seriously.

Denzel is excellent in this movie. He plays a Jeckyll and Hyde and plays both sides well. This conflicted character was very easy to root for. (I can identify.) NBA perennial All-Star Ray Allen, while more than a little stiff at times, holds his own as a non-actor in a dramatic role.

He Got Game is a flawed piece of work: parts drag, it's not without its hokiness, and the subplot with Denzel and Jojovovich didn't quite fit. But the essential storylines work and play true: you believe in a conflict between father and son and you root for a high school basketball player who requires the wisdom of an adult to avoid the flesh peddlers. Kudos to Spike for not trying to hit us over the had with his message, but letting it unravel naturally.


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