"Hoop Dreams" Is Released

Hoop Dreams is a 1994 documentary film directed by Steve James.

It follows the story of two black high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.

Originally intended to be a 30-minute short produced for the Public Broadcasting Service, it eventually led to five years of filming and 250 hours of footage. It premiered at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. Despite its length (171 minutes) and unlikely commercial genre, it received high critical and popular acclaim. It was on more critics' top ten lists than any other film that year, including Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Heavenly Creatures and Quiz Show.

As of July 1, 2008 it had earned over $7.8 million, making it the tenth-highest-grossing documentary film in the United States (in nominal dollars, from 1982 to the present).

This documentary about the aspirations of high-school basketball players from inner city Chicago won awards from the Sundance film festival, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Academy Award (Oscar) for best editing. Two young men are followed during their entire high-school career, beginning with their participation in playground games and ending with their being recruited by colleges. The obstacles these young men face include parental drug addiction, family poverty, and inner-city violence, as well as the usual obstacles that arise in competition, including physical injuries. While each aspires to leave the ghetto, there are many reasons to suppose they may not be able to, despite each beating the odds against them by winning college scholarships. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide