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One of the most rousingly enjoyable sports movies ever made, this small-town drama tells the story of the Hickory Huskers, an underdog basketball team from a tiny Indiana high school that makes it all the way to the state championship tournament. It's a familiar story, but sensitive direction and a splendid screenplay helped make this one of the best films of 1986, highlighted by the superb performances of Gene Hackman as the Huskers' coach, and Oscar nominee Dennis Hopper as the alcoholic father of one of the team's key players. As the drama unfolds we come to realize that many of the characters (including Barbara Hershey as a schoolteacher with whom Hackman falls in love) are recovering from disappointing setbacks, and this depth of character is what makes the otherwise conventional basketball story so richly rewarding. Like Rocky, Rudy, and Breaking Away, this is a quintessentially American movie about beating the odds and rising above one's own limitations.

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MG908018 Hoosiers DVD (1986/Gene Hackman) $14.95