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Hoop Dreams Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    One of the rare sports films that devotes extensive screen time to heartbreaking losses is full of other surprises as well. [13 Oct 1994, p.1D]

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A film like "Hoop Dreams" is what the movies are for. It takes us, shakes us, and make us think in new ways about the world around us. It gives us the impression of having touched life itself.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Hoop Dreams has the movie equivalent of all-court vision. It picks up everything happening in the gym, in the stands and even outside. It gives us the thrill of the game, but it doesn't cheat on either the vibrant social context or the deep human story.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The rich texture of Hoop Dreams' drama is its greatest asset.

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  • See all Hoop Dreams reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Stunning documentary, great for older kids.

What 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.

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Not an issue

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A characters describes how he was mugged.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Teen sexuality is discussed in terms of its consequences.

  • language false3

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

  • consumerism false3

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

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

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