Hoop Dreams

UK Premiere: Hoop Dreams

classified 12A

Restored and Rediscovered


Please note: This was screened in July 2019

Steve James
William Gates, Arthur Agee, Emma Gates
172 mins, 1994, USA
Primary language

Steve James', newly restored, landmark documentary Hoop Dreams, tells the story of two African-American dreamers determined to one day play professional basketball.

Originally intended as a short film and seven-and-a-half years in the making, this intimate reflection of contemporary American inner-city culture follows William Gates and Arthur Agee on the courts of the game they love. Plucked from the streets and given the opportunity to attend a suburban prep school and play for a legendary high school coach, they both soon discover that their dreams of NBA glory become obscured amid the intense pressures of academics, family life, economics and athletic competitiveness. But most importantly, both boys remain focused on their dream, no matter how hard tragedy strikes or how desperate their situation becomes.

What emerges is an insightful portrait of two teenagers striving to live their dream, and a candid exploration of our society’s tendency to exploit young athletes by making promises of fame and fortune that rarely come to pass. Twenty five years after its premiere at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival, this revelatory film continues to inspire, and is widely considered one of the great works of American non-fiction cinema.

Hoop Dreams screens alongside Hale County, This Morning This Evening, a more recent touchstone for non-fiction film, also chronicling the lives of two young men (college basketballer Daniel and new father Quincy) as a starting point from which to draw a loose, lyrical cross section of a small community in Hale County, Alabama.

A recent digital restoration c/o Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive and Kartemquin Films. Digitally remastered at Modern VideoFilm with sound restoration by Audio Mechanics, this version allows you to see the film as conceived by its filmmakers. After its premiere at Cinema Rediscovered, Hoop Dreams opens in UK cinemas 25 October c/o Violet Pictures.