Hoop Dreams

The filmmakers of this groundbreaking documentary meant for it to be a short movie, but wound up weaving a widely celebrated feature-length film spanning years filled with grace and honesty. Meet Arthur Agee and William Gates, two young boys from equally rough Chicago neighborhoods who make use of their prodigious basketball talents to aim for a life outside the ghetto. But strife and setbacks befall them at every turn. Will they succeed?
Netflix Rating: 3.9
NYT Critics' Pick
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Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 98%
Critics' score: 98   Audience score: 92   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

The film's great achievement is to reveal the relentless way in which coaches and recruiters refuse to see Arthur and William as anything other than social cliches. full review

Caryn James, New York Times

It's about three hours long. But it moves like Isiah, fast and smooth, and it's over in a heartbreak. full review

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine

Hoop Dreams has shown us that the rules of the game are stacked against kids like Gates and Agee. Even better, it shows us how they fight back, with the inside moves of hope. full review

David Ansen, Newsweek

A heady dose of the American dream and the American nightmare combined -- a numbing investigation of how one point on an exam or one basket or turnover in a game can make all the difference in a family's fortunes. full review

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

A prodigious achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length, Hoop Dreams is a documentary slam dunk. full review

Todd McCarthy, Variety

An ironic drama so beautifully sculpted it could be transposed without alteration into a fictional film.

Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter

A documentary that breathes new life into the subject by showing the everyday reality of that dream. full review

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Along the way it becomes a revealing and heartbreaking story about life in America. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The most powerful movie about sports ever made. full review

Hal Hinson, Washington Post

An extraordinarily affecting documentary. full review

Desson Thomson, Washington Post

This picture has a legitimate dramatic structure that is equally as compelling as a scripted slice of fiction. full review

James Berardinelli, ReelViews
full review by Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
full review by Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Weekly
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