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The Heart of the Game

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Go courtside for a true-life rush like no other in this passionate and inspirational documentary in the same powerful tradition as Hoop Dreams, Director Ward Serrill brings the camera up close and personal to capture the Roosevelt Roughriders girls' basketball team during six turbulent seasons, taking us far beyond the court. You'll meet Bill REsler, the tax professor turned hard-driving unorthodox coach who turns the team around- and Darnellia Russel, the talented inner-city tough girl who battles off-court threats to regain eligibility. You'll meet a real team full of drive, toughness and the unbridled desire to make history.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary
  • The making of The Heart of the Game
  • Beyond The Heart of the Game: including interviews with Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Coach Bill Resler and Darnelia Russell

Product Details

  • Actors: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (narrates)
  • Directors: Ward Serrill
  • Writers: Ward Serrill
  • Producers: Ward Serrill, Liz Manne
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LXGXX4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,208 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Heart of the Game" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By steveirwin on June 23, 2006
Verified Purchase
I often enjoy documentaries - but I can't say i'm a huge fan of girls basketball, and moreso especially highschool girls basketball. However, this movie is awesome!! Edge of your seat excitement, real emotion, real people and the coach (Bill Resler) steals the show. You can't help but be touched by the story, and you'll also be laughing out loud too. It's not often for me that movies hit such a wide range of emotion - and I watch a lot of movies. Heart of the Game is a definite must-see if you like any of the following: comedy, action, drama, sports or uplifting stories. It's truly a film for every age and every gender. I don't often believe the movie critics out there - yet all of them seem to be raving about this film as much as me, so check it out!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 23, 2007
Format: DVD
You'll probably come to this film expecting to see a female version of the Academy Award winning documentary Hoop Dreams. At least I did. But it's much more than that. It's the story of a team and it's players but it's also the story of their amazing coach - college tax professor Bill Resler (a REALLY funny guy who you'll not soon forget) and - behind the camera, the film's Writer/Director Ward Serrill. They, as well as one player who sets things in motion, Darnellia Russell, all have that HEART that's in the title!

The best way to see this film is to know nothing going in except it's about a high school girl's basketball team, filmed in "real time". Then let yourself get immersed in it as the story plays out. The less you know, the better. You will laugh and cry and have your spirits lifted in the film's 98-minute length.

But don't stop there. The DVD has HOURS of extras, and that doesn't count the full feature commetary (which I did not listen to). Many of the deleted scenes will add more background and you should watch them. Next watch the 29 minute "On the Road with Heart" short to get some real insight and hear a VERY VERY funny story as told by Coach Resler and having nothing to do with Basketball. Finally you MUST watch the 30 minute "Making off short", which tells it's own story of heart and self-esteem when you learned the story behind Write /Director Serrill's journey to make this film.

This is a great sports film but also a film that every teenage girl should see. It's rated PG-13 but I don't remember even hearing what is called "Brief Strong Language".

The film only played some small festivals and hopefully will reach a wider audience on DVD. Come for the feature and stay for the bonus features. You won't be sorry (or bored either!).

Steve Ramm "Anything Phonographic"
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on March 11, 2007
Format: DVD
This absorbing documentary is a fascinating study on the transcendence of sports and teamwork. It features a Seattle high school scrapping and clawing its way to the state basketball girls championship. Its star player, a young black single mother named Darnelia Russell becomes the focal point of the narrative as she must go to court against the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association to retain her eligibility for high school competition.

Coach Bill Ressler is an unorthodox tax professor turned basketball guru. He harbors and implements a number of quirky ideas which seem to work:

* drills were the girls lean on each other in order to overcome their phobia about physical contact
* players only meetings where the girls or sequestered for hours without coaches in order to resolve interpersonal rivalries and conflicts
* giving each team and animal theme for this season such as pack of wolves, school of Peron is, etc. for a motivational purposes

It becomes clear that Coach Ressler is not just coaching basketball but teaching life lessons. Whether you are a sports fan or not, you will be engrossed by this absorbing documentary of self-transcendence through the discipline of teamwork and athletics
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By avoraciousreader on June 14, 2006
Bill Resler, a Seattle college tax professor with three school-age daughters, loved basketball, so when he heard that Roosevelt High School was looking for a girl's coach, he applied for the job. Shambling and bearded, Resler is far from the expected image of a basketball coach, and his techniques are even more unorthodox ... but they work and turn Roosevelt into a powerhouse, with highly motivated players chanting "Draw Blood!" before games and playing a "five guard offense". Resler's biggest challenge comes when a new freshman, Darnellia Russell, shows great promise as a player (genuine pro material) yet struggles against against a variety of insecurities and real-world difficulties. The film concludes with the team in a battle for the state championship, and Darnellia in a court battle to regain lost eligibility.

Now, I'm not a big fan of sports flicks, nor of high school basketball (boys or girls), but hey, it was a free preview ... and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the film. (If you are a member of one of the target groups, you may very well give this one a 5* rating.) Definitely a documentary, and without slick Hollywood production of the game scenes in particular, it was nonetheless engrossing, full of humor and suspense, less for whether a game would be won or lost than for what would happen in the players' lives. The diverse audience I was with, from teen girls to families to older adults, seemed to all enjoy it as well.
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