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Hoop Dreams (The Criterion Collection) (1994)

William Gates , Arthur Agee , Steve James  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, Curtis Gates, Sheila Agee
  • Directors: Steve James
  • Writers: Steve James, Frederick Marx
  • Producers: Steve James, Catherine Allan, Frederick Marx, Gordon Quinn, Peter Gilbert
  • Format: Full Screen, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2005
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFYBG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,113 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hoop Dreams (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Two audio commentaries with stars Arthur Agee and William Gates and filmmakers Peter Gilbert, Steve James, and Frederick Marx
  • Segments from Siskel and Ebert tracking the acclaim for Hoop Dreams
  • Original music video
  • Theatrical Trailers

Editorial Reviews

Two ordinary inner-city kids dare to dream the impossible - professional basketball glory - in this epic chronicle of hope and faith. Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows young Arthur Agee and William Gates as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics while striving to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of their Chicago streets. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this landmark documentary chronicling two remarkable families who challenge the American dream.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the Best Documentary Ever? July 25, 2005
As much as I love the Academy Awards, a lot of mistakes are made every year when they hand out those little coveted golden statues. No Best Director Oscar to Hitchcock? No Best Director Oscar to Scorcese for "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas"? Both travesties. And there are a number of Best Picture Oscar Winners which are only remembered today because they won the Best Picture Oscar. Many of the films nominated the same year are still in the public consciousness because they are great, memorable, outstanding films. Some of the biggest mistakes perpetrated on the public by the Academy Awards have been in the Best Documentary category. "The Thin Blue Line", the groundbreaking documentary by Errol Morris, "Roger and Me", the wildly popular film by Michael Moore and "Hoop Dreams" were all passed up. "Hoop Dreams" was not the best documentary of 1994 but "Maya Lin" is?

Anyone who knows me knows I hate sports. I have never liked to play them or watch them. I am a sports atheist. So, my love of "Hoop Dreams" may come as a surprise to many people.

I think I am drawn to the film so much because, much like the more recent "Murderball", "Dreams" isn't about a sport so much as it is about two kids who love to play the sport. Basketball is a big factor in the lives of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two poor kids from the Chicago projects; they live, eat, dream about becoming professional basketball players, but the film covers their lives and how basketball impacts them as they grow up.

Steve James, Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert, the filmmakers, worked on this project for eight years. Eight years! How many films have such a dedicated crew?
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This 1994 award-winning documentary is about William and Arthur, two Chicago African-American teenagers who, in the eighth grade, are recruited to play basketball for a middle-class parochial high school. Both are good at basketball but struggle with their academics. And both dream of playing for the NBA.
The film follows these two boys for a full six years. It also follows their families and we get a glimpse of the challenges of everyday life in the ghetto. These are real people, not actors, and they have to cope with a lot, including Arthur's father drug problem and the economics of living on $268 per month on welfare. Wisely, the camera is never feels intrusive, and I felt I was right there with them, watching them grow, both mentally and physically. There's a lot of struggle, with highs and lows in their personal lives as well as on the basketball courts, and it is always fascinating. The film is almost three hours long but it is so intriguing that I could have watched it for another hour.
This might not be fiction, but the individual stories are filled with drama as it deals with some very sensitive issues of class, race, maturity and hard choices. And the director, Steve James, who wrote the film along with Fredrick Marx, managed to edit it so perfectly, that I was totally unaware of anything else but just being a part of this world for the duration of the film. Highly recommended for everybody. Do see it! It's wonderful!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest February 25, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
In my opinion, being a big fan of the genre, Hoop Dreams stands as one of the greatest nonfiction works of film, most probably the most important movie of any genre made in the last 35 years and a serious contender for the somewhat silly "greatest movie of all time" credential, comparing favorably with such cultural fixtures as Citizen Kane. I'm not a sport fan whatsoever, I dont know anything about basketball, and my life has been about as different from the two kids in the film as possible. When I first saw this movie about ten years ago I was bracing myself for some blaxploitation movie. I have since watched it at least a half a dozen times since, and I never fail to be awed by the incredible scope and pathos of this film. On the surface, the movie is about basketball, poverty, aspiration, frailty, loss, hope, marginalization, ghetto life, and youth. When put together over the most engaging 3 hours I have ever had, the film constructs a monumental testament to the human experience. Brilliant in its themes, virtually flawless in its execution, stunningly humane in its treatment of its subjects, Hoop Dreams is big, important, and excellent. Like other true greats, its greatness is often overstated, but it's the type of movie that if you have half a brain and half a heart, you will be seized by the brilliance dripping from every pixel.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For everyone, not just basketball fans July 6, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Hoop Dreams is more than a documentary about two inner-city teens hoping to make it to the NBA, it's a brilliant, true-life tale of the American Dream told from a different context and point of view. I watched this because I saw that Roger Ebert had voted it as the best movie of the 1990's. I was skeptical at first (partly because I don't follow basketball), but when it was over I realized that it really was a great movie. Don't miss it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Docu-underdogs May 8, 2006
It's a testament to how powerful this movie is that I didn't care in the slightest about the subject matter, and yet still was very emotionally affected by the trials and errors of these two kids. I've always viewed sports as that thing that I do to have fun, and I stopped playing once people started taking it so seriously that it became too competitive to be fun.

But seeing these two boys drive themselves through troubles with funds, injuries, and scholastics in order to pursue their one dream is very inspiring. It's yet another work that makes your typical normal middle-class life seem banal in light of the accomplishments and struggles of the underdogs.

Basically, it's like watching all of those millions of "underdog sports" movies, except this one has the added tension of being real: these kids can fail at any moment, and sometimes a last-second basket gets missed. In a way it displaces all of an entire genre of sports movies and makes it only necessary to watch this one, one that is real, has real characters, has real dialog, and has real risk.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Documentary!
I really enjoyed this documentary. I'm happy these young men did something positive after Hoop Dreams. It was really hard to find this on DVD so I would recommend this seller.
Published 10 months ago by Shamika L. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to get it
Better than I expected because it included the updated info too. I use it as a teaching video...great stuff! Thanks
Published 11 months ago by Mike E.
5.0 out of 5 stars From Chicago's Inner City to the Suburbs and the Way Out
This is a wonderful documentary which does not seem like one. The producers and directors followed two teens in the inner city of Chicago who knew each other and who had the same... Read more
Published 16 months ago by clarence a connelly, jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!
I love this movie! I had to watch it for my Cinema class and fell in love with the characters. Overall a must see film for everyone!
Published 19 months ago by maricela lazcano
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoop Dreams
I'm not sure what it is about this movie that touches me so deeply, but I could watch it a hundred times over.
Published 21 months ago by jane caboto
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film.....
This is one of the finest American documentary's ever made; if you haven't seen it you should check it out!
Published 22 months ago by imagemakker
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary That Is A Must See
Perhaps the greatest documentary of all time and a film that should be watched by everyone. I've scene this documentary three times and each time I watch it I still find it to be... Read more
Published 22 months ago by ABL
4.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary!
This was a realy great movie. I watched this with my son and my husband. Neither of the kids that the movie focused on went to the NBA but this was motivation for my son to never... Read more
Published on January 3, 2012 by Sally
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, Shattering Urban Saga.
Viewed: 6/03, 11/03, 2/05, 8/05, 7/07, 8/11
Rate: 10

7/07: Hoop Dreams is probably the best movie of any to recapture the structure and the machinery of a Greek... Read more
Published on September 14, 2011 by Austin Somlo
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Young Athletes, a Basketball, a Court and a Camera Tell the Inside...
The original project was intended as a 30-minute short film about two young African-American athletes playing in a yard which was supposed to air on PBS. Read more
Published on August 6, 2011 by classicalsteve
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