Hoop Dreams

  • Review Date: July 21, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 171 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Stunning documentary, great for older kids.
  • Review Date: July 21, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 171 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

A characters describes how he was mugged.

Sex

Teen sexuality is discussed in terms of its consequences.

Language

Some strong language from basketball coaches and a scene where one of the characters is listening to music with particularly strong lyrics.

Consumerism

Basketball shoes and athletic gear are depicted and are discussed by brand name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drug use by family members and friends is discussed, always in terms of its consequences.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary film features a lot of intense discussion by two young men about their experiences with parental separation and divorce, familial drug use, extreme poverty, sport-related injury, urban blight and violence, as well as teen pregnancy, all while they are trying to earn college basketball scholarships.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

HOOP DREAMS follows the trials and tribulations of two young black basketball standouts from Chicago. Following the boys from eight grade through their senior year in high school, director Steve James offers an intense look at the often depressing situation facing many young people who live in inner cities: parents, siblings, and friends all struggling with vastly limited opportunities, potentially fatal temptations, and overwhelmingly poor odds. That William Gates and Arthur Agee are gifted athletes provides them with the potential to avoid the predicaments of those they love by winning basketball scholarships to college--and maybe, just maybe, a ticket to the NBA.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

James is careful to highlight the many obstacles standing in Gates and Agee's way: from corner drug dealers to test scores, from tuition payments at ritzy private schools to parental desertion. Therein lies this film's greatest strength: it is pragmatic before it is hopeful. Rather than providing viewers with a candy-coated confection of "local boy makes good," Hoop Dreams illustrates how nearly impossible it is for such a story to even take place--and frequently as a result of things completely out of the boys' control. The result is a searing portrait of inner city life in America, and the extraordinary, downright unfair expectations placed on the shoulders of many young black athletes.

Hoop Dreams painstakingly tempers the romanticism characteristic high school athletes by paying special attention to the many roadblocks that stand in the way of Gates' and Agee's dreams. This movie provides an excellent way for families to talk about issues as lofty as race and class in urban America, but also for things that hit closer to home like long-term goals, teen sex and drug use, and getting good grades.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the experiences of William Gates and Arthur Agee both on and off the high school basketball court. How are William and Arthur's high school experiences different? How are they the same? How do their family environments both help and hurt each of them? Why do other young people -– particularly young black men –- find themselves in similar situations? What do you think about the boys' long-term goals? What would you have done differently? How are their predicaments similar and different to other children in inner cities across the United States?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1994
DVD release date:May 10, 2005
Cast:Arthur Agee, Emma Gates, William Gates
Director:Steve James
Studio:Criterion Collection
Genre:Documentary
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:171 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, some drug content, and some sexual references.

This review of Hoop Dreams was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byTotally500 August 27, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

A Basketball Film that is remarkable for teens to see

this was a great film that i ever saw. It showed lots of messages and it was sad in most parts. It is a great film that every teen should see
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 22, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

hoop dreams

Families can talk about the experiences of William Gates and Arthur Agee both on and off the high school basketball court. How are William and Arthur's high school experiences different? How are they the same? How do their family environments both help and hurt each of them? Why do other young people -– particularly young black men –- find themselves in similar situations? What do you think about the boys' long-term goals? What would you have done differently? How are their predicaments similar and different to other children in inner cities across the United States?
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old April 25, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

have to see

it was sad but good. a great film!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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