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4.3
2,229 Ratings

Hoop Dreams

Directed by Steve James
United States, 1994
Documentary, Drama, Sport

Synopsis

Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows two inner-city boys as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics at a prestigious college as they strive to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of the Chicago streets.

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Hoop Dreams Directed by Steve James

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1995 | Nominee: Best Film Editing

Sundance Film Festival

1994 | Winner: Audience Award (Documentary Competition)

Independent Spirit Awards

1995 | Winner: Special Distinction Award

What is the value of black life? Few films have posed this question so insistently, and so thoroughly, as Hoop Dreams. The film was an unlikely success, achieving both critical acclaim and crossover box-office appeal despite its three hours. More importantly, Hoop Dreams enlarged the scale of what a socially engaged documentary could be: probing and comprehensive, intimate and grand, thrilling and devastating. It did so by placing the matter of black lives in the center of the screen.
January 03, 2017
There isn’t a better argument for the social value of long-form nonfiction filmmaking than Hoop Dreams. And sports have never been put into such careful context, where the dramatic power of winning and losing is woven into the narrative construction of characters’ lives rather than overwhelming it. Hitting a last-second layup matters, but only because these boys’ dreams register as meaningful, intricate, and real.
March 31, 2015
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The word “epic” is applied to movies so offhandedly nowadays that it has nearly lost its meaning, but Hoop Dreams is one of the few that merits the term an epic not just about the popular religion of sports, but about the vicissitudes of race and class, and the steep price of admission to the American Dream.
November 01, 2007
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