Hoosiers Movie Poster Image




Stirring tale of heroic sportsmanship will inspire families.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: August 8, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Working to overcome obstacles and redemption are the co-themes of the movie. A tiny farming town's small high school basketball team works its way to becoming improbable state champions. They achieve this by learning to play as a team, as taught by a new coach who has a past and obstacles of his own to overcome. The townspeople learn that change shouldn't always be feared. 

Positive role models

At first the players treat the new coach disrespectfully. As they work with him he earns their loyalty and they earn his respect in return. A teacher who at first greets the coach's arrival with hostility also is persuaded that her first impression was mistaken. The players work hard in practice and stand up for each other and the coach.


Several sports melees, including a bench-clearing brawl at the sectional championship game. One such altercation results in a bloody injury that requires eight stitches.


The coach and a teacher kiss.


The coach asks a referee who has made a bad call, "You got pigeon s--t in your eyes?" At another moment of stress, he says, "Ah, Jesus."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A player's father is an alcoholic who shows up at games reeling and nearly incoherent. Although the son loves him, the father's behavior causes his son pain and embarrassment. The father checks into a rehab facility and appears to be straightening himself out by the end of the story.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hoosiers focuses on a tiny farming town's small high school basketball team, which works its way to becoming improbable state champions. They achieve this by learning to play as a team, as taught by a new coach who has a past and obstacles of his own to overcome. There's lots of emotional intensity here, of the "who will win?" variety. The movie also deals with alcoholism but features the redemption of two adult leads. There's some profanity: A coach asks a referee who has made a bad call, "You got pigeon s--t in your eyes?" At another moment of stress, he says, "Ah, Jesus." There are several sports melees, including a bench-clearing brawl at the sectional championship game. One such altercation results in a bloody injury that requires eight stitches. Strong positive messages include not judging a book by its cover, giving second chances, and the importance of hard work, discipline, and teamwork. 

What's the story?

HOOSIERS is a stirring movie about teamwork, discipline, and second chances that features exciting basketball action and a meticulous re-creation of 1950s Indiana. Hired to coach a small-town high school team, Norm Dale (Gene Hackman) searches for personal redemption in his quest to lead the underdogs of Hickory High School to victory at the state championships. In a memorable scene, Dale gets a lecture from a group of locals on how things are done in Hickory: You need to be a God-fearing man, you must always set a fine example for the boys, and, more importantly, you mustn't mess with the traditional zone defense. With help from assistant coach Shooter (Dennis Hopper), a recovering alcoholic, Dale and his team surprise everyone in Indiana by making it all the way to the state finals.

Is it any good?


Much more than a sports flick, Hoosiers is a great movie for families to watch and enjoy together. This slice of Americana conforms to the rules of sports movies but manages to transcend the genre. The barest of plots is fleshed out by an electric Gene Hackman, and the renewal of Dennis Hopper's character -- whose emotional wounds are more openly visible than Hackman's -- smartly doubles the redemption factor.

The writing is strong and wonderfully sly. To its credit, the movie gets the details right, starting with the passion that high school basketball elicits. Even the compulsory practice scenes are played with a fervor and realism that is compelling, and the David-vs.-Goliath aspect gives the movie an extra punch. It occasionally succumbs to sports-movie clichés, such as the line "Aren't you the kind who'd rather look for a fight than run away from one?" and there's an obligatory love subplot. But overall this is an outstanding example of a sports movie with positive lessons and lots of heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message. The town initially wants to fire the new coach because he does things differently. Why do so many people fear change? How do you remain open to new possibilities?

  • This film is a classic underdog tale. Why are such stories so popular? Can you think of any other underdog movies?

  • How does the team manage to beat such seemingly insurmountable odds? Which qualities do the teammates share?

  • Families can talk about sports movies. What is appealing about them? Do you ever doubt the outcome? What kinds of feelings do they stir up? How does this one compare to other sports films you've seen?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 14, 1986
DVD release date:May 1, 2002
Cast:Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, Gene Hackman
Director:David Anspaugh
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Character strengths:Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic intensity

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Parent of a 11 year old Written byFanner50 January 22, 2011
Good film about a person who sticks to what he believes under tremendous pressure from the towns people to do things differently. Kids play hard and fair, with a few transgressions. The coach has a temper and it gets him into trouble, but there is remorse and improvement. Very positive movie. Filming is well-done and beautiful. Might be a little slow for under 11 yr olds, but the games are exciting and tense.
Adult Written byjowoho April 9, 2008

A Classic Tale of the Underdog

The story of a coach with a troubled past and an unmotivated team who like to do things their way.
Adult Written byMovieluver101 August 6, 2011

Great but ehhhh for 10 and under

Okay... So I agree with all the other comments, that this is a four or five star movie. I agree. But when I watched this with my 9 year old son who is a BIG sport lover, I felt that some of the parts that just put a chill through your spine. Not the chill that you get in Black Swan but the chill for a kids movie. I thought the language was not necessary and I also felt that emotionally and just seeing it that my son was not ready to learn about the mans achool problems and why he was tipsy, and so on. No sex...just the teenage kisses on the cheek. I think that this is a great movie but maybe the points and morals are a little too strong for younger kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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