Director: David Anspaugh
Screenwriters: Angelo Pizzo

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Autumn, 1951. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), a man whose past is closed territory, comes to Hickory, Indiana to coach basketball. He finds a community suspicious of his aggressive, unorthodox ways, and a loosely-termed basketball “team” of irregulars and castoffs, A man possessed, he drives his team on, embittering some players, inspiring others, and causing havoc with the school and city administrators. Shooter (Dennis Hopper), ex-basketball star, loyal fan and town drunk, contributes sporadic scouting reports on other teams which play an increasingly crucial part in Dale’s coaching strategy.

While easily misunderstood as a “sports movie,” Hoosiers is really about redemption, second chances and the aspiration to excellence. Hackman is so close to his character that one can’t imagine any other actor in the role. He is brilliant, delivering an intense performance of a man driven to a goal by demons known only to him.

Much of the principal cast and crew hail from the Midwest, giving Hoosiers an authentic ring. The story is, in fact, a true one, based on a 1954 Milan High School team that went into the state championship against a heavily favored powerhouse.

Screening Details

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