Dennis Hopper was nominated as Best Supporting Actor in Hoosiers (1986), a basketball drama where he delivers the most family-friendly role of his career. David Anspaugh directs.
Hopper died in 2010 at age 74 from complications of prostate cancer.
Team, coach overcome odds
Hopper played Shooter, a basketball assistant coach who struggles with alcoholism. Hoosiers is one of the first films Hopper completed after he overcame his real-life addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Shooter is committed to a sanitarium during his detox. Meanwhile he listens to the radio while the Hickory Huskers wrestle victory after victory on their way to the Indiana state basketball finals.
Direct look at addiction
Groundbreaking is this film’s honest portrayal of addiction and how it affects others. Shooter’s son, who plays on the team, must reconcile his love for his father with humiliation when his dad shows up drunk one day to an important game.
The character-driven Hoosiers is considered a classic basketball movie as team members step up with the physical and mental discipline needed to win.
Classic basketball film
Filled with the pride and emotion of local sports meets, Hoosiers is based on the true story of the Milan, Indiana team that reached the state finals in 1954.
Gene Hackman stars as affable, complex Norman Dale, a coach with a spotty past and anger issues. Dale is asked to lead the struggling team.
Coach Dale expertly molds team members with military-like discipline. Finally they begin to earn his respect. Dale lets them take the lead during a crucial play.
Yearning for greatness
Barbara Hershey embodies resentment as an angry teacher who escaped from her hometown but returned to help her struggling farm family. Aiming her bitterness at the new coach, Hershey captures the frustration of many an aspiring soul in small town America.
Hackman and Hershey meld conflict and attraction in their uneasy dance. Sheb Wooley plays the school’s principal Cletus.
Indies for Hooper
Annie Karni of the New York Post noted that Hopper’s years of drug abuse likely limited the number of good Hollywood roles he was offered. Hopper told Karni, “I don’t really get any of the roles that one gets nominated for. So I have to go out and do independent films.” (5 out of 5 stars)
Hoosiers 1986 / PG / 1 hr, 54 mins
Cast Overview: Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey, Sheb Wooley, Fern Persons, Chelcie Ross
Director: David Anspaugh
Genres: Drama, Sports Drama, Sports, Basketball, Drama Based on Real Life