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Hoosiers (1986)

Hoosiers (1986)


Director: David Anspaugh
Writer: Angelo Pizzo
Starring: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper
Reviewed By: Sammy The Blade

The heartwarming story of the small town in Indiana which is brought together by the heart and drive for success by an outsider brought in to coach the boy’s high school basketball team.  A perfect example of the ever classic David vs. Goliath cinematic experience. Hoosiers is that feel good story from 1986 that even 27 years later still sends chills up my spine. This film never fails to  put a smile on my face, and have me sitting on the edge of my seat; no matter how many times I have watched this movie and know the outcome.  I fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it with my dad years ago and it still continues to amaze me, and sometimes it even seems as though it gets better each time it’s watched.

Hoosiers Screenshot

Gene Hackman (Coach Dale) is transplanted here in Hickory, being given a second chance at coaching after a long hiatus when after being disbanded from coaching after a controversial incident between him and a player.  This story is about never giving up, never giving in and to always look ahead at life no matter what anyone says about you.  Coach Dale (Hackman) was from the very start treated as the outsider by the people in this rural, blinder wearing community and was quickly questioned about his character and his coaching style, game plans, and practices.  It takes a long time for him to win their trust but the more important thing he must win is his teams trust.  It is either Coach Dale’s way, or the highway and he makes it apparent in this film on numerous occasions.  Like a line in the movie goes…

Student:”It feels like we are in the army!”

Coach Dale: “You are. You’re in my army!”


Hoosiers Screen shot 2


Dennis Hopper’s character Shooter is my personal favorite, and really steals the show.  Hopper played Shooter so well that he was nominated for best supporting actor award in 1986, and really make you think twice about giving a second chance to someone even if they are a run down, rock bottom living individual.  The grass might not always be greener on the other side but it was a chance that Coach Dale was willing to take with Shooter, in order to help out the team as well as rekindle the relationship between Shooter and his son, who is on the basketball team.


hoosiers screenshot 6

There is a particular scene in this movie that has always stuck out to me and it is one of those lessons from Coach Dale to his team.  Hickory travels to the “big city” to play a tournament game that is held in a BIG arena.  The arena is MUCH bigger than the horse stable they play in back in Hickory.  It is obvious that this group of high school kids who “have probably never seen a building taller than two stories” were extremely nervous.  So what does Coach Dale do when they first get to the arena?  He brings the team right out onto the court and has them measure the distance from the free throw line to the back board and from the rim to the floor.  The point he makes to his team is that even though the arena is about 100 times bigger but the measurements of the court are all the same no matter where you play, and because of that there is nothing to fear.


hoosiers screenshot 3


This film is one of my all time favorite sport films, as well as one of my all time favorite films period.  If I have watched it once, I have watched it probably three dozen times and it never grows old.  Everyone always loves the underdog, the David vs. Goliath, and the stories about the guy that just isn’t supposed to win – and this film is all three wrapped up in one.  Being based off a true story makes this film even better, and can really teach you and inspire you to never give up no matter how high the odds are stacked against you.  This film gives me a smile every time I see certain scenes.  It’s a film sure to excite even the most non-sport loving of movie fans, especially during those dramatic basketball games of Hickory VS their foes.  If you haven’t seen this movie, you are in for a treat, and if you have seen this movie you know what the treat ist. This film gets a 3 pointer from me.

3guys copy


Buzzer Beater Line of the Movie:


Shooter (Hopper) addressing the team during a time out: “Now boys, don’t get caught watching the paint dry!”

– The Blade Abides -

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Adam June 27, 2013, 10:03 am

    One of my favorite sports films of all-time. While the town I grew up in and played basketball for was a bit larger, I could relate to half the town being at the gym on game days. When I was younger the kids on the team were like celebrities.

    I like this breakdown of the box score for the championship game by Bill Simmons http://espn.go.com/page2/movies/s/simmons/020827.html

  • Sammy June 27, 2013, 1:36 pm

    This movie is so awesome and seems to get better with every viewing!

    That Simmons article is funny because of the fact that he broke down that whole down to the minute. Jimmy is quite the ball hog isn’t he? haha

  • Marilyn Armstrong June 27, 2013, 7:49 pm

    Good movie. Especially fine performance by Dennis Hopper. Gene Hackman is always good and he gives a fine, subtle performance. The movie manages to be unsentimental AND sentimental simultaneously … hard to pull off, but good acting and a good script do the job.

    • Sammy June 28, 2013, 4:21 pm

      It’s too bad that Hopper lost the best supporting actor award that year because his performance was quite phenomenal in Hoosiers.

  • Keith July 1, 2013, 7:27 am

    This is a sports movie classic hands down. It’s one of those pictures that I stop to watch whenever I see it on TV.

    • Sammy July 1, 2013, 10:53 pm

      i don’t blame you Keith. I think I can watch this movie over and over and over and over and over and over and over again…

  • Chris July 2, 2013, 6:56 am

    Great film, I think Gene Hackman was born bald. No?

    • Sammy the Blade September 26, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Haha he might have been! And a great film indeed!

  • Joe July 9, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Hey Adam,
    Hoosiers is definitely a modern classic that never gets old no matter how many times you see it. Can’t help but see similarities between the Hoosiers championship game and the 1986 Millbury vs East Boston although unfortunately we had lost and of course Hickory defeated their Goliath. I believe Parath was starring as Chipwood in our movie:) Great review!

  • Sammy the Blade September 26, 2013, 1:34 pm

    I can watch this movie a hundred times and never get tired of it! Thanks for the comments!

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