Hoop Dreams is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Steve James and written by James and Frederick Marx, with Kartemquin Films. It follows the story of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.
Originally intended to be a 30-minute short film 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. Hoop Dreams is the most recent documentary film to be specifically nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Despite its length (171 minutes) and unlikely commercial genre, it received high critical and popular acclaim, and grossed over $11 million worldwide.
The film was universally acclaimed by critics. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film "Two Thumbs Up" on their show and both Siskel and Ebert named Hoop Dreams the best film of 1994. Ebert in his initial television review proclaimed "This is one of the best films about American life that I have ever seen", and later called it the best film of the decade and "one of the great moviegoing experiences of my lifetime." The film was ranked #1 on the International Documentary Association's Top 25 Documentaries list, based on polling of members in 2007.
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