Directed by David Anspaugh. Written by Angelo Pizzo. Photography, Fred Murphy. Editing, C. Timothy O'Meara. Production design, David Nichols. Music, Jerry Goldsmith. Cast: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, et al. Produced by Hemdale Film Corp. Released by Orion. 114 minutes.
Arguably the best basketball fiction film ever made--this opinion does not, of course, cover the later "Hoop Dreams" which was a documentary. You absolutely do not have to be a basketball fan (or even to be mildly interested in the sport) to enjoy "Hoosiers" fully. It catches beautifully the local ambience, the relationships and suspicions, and the ball-fever of a wide-place-on-the-road Indiana town and its team, in the 1950s. Gene Hackman is a has-been coach under a cloud who takes his team to victory and himself to respectability. Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper provide first-rate support. The movie is very clever in the way it hides its audience manipulations. It is based on fact. Even so, it has been called corny by many, but what if it is? Midwestern corn can taste awfully sweet.