Hoosiers (1986)

PG | 115 mins | Drama | 12 December 1986

Writer:

Angelo Pizzo

Cinematographer:

Fred Murphy

Production Designer:

David Nichols

Production Company:

Hemdale Film Corporation
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HISTORY

An epilogue depicts a young boy shooting baskets in the “Hickory High School” gymnasium under a photograph of the 1952 State Championship team, accompanied by dialogue from “Coach Norman Dale’s” first day of practice.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo were fraternity brothers at Indiana University when they conceived the idea for a screenplay loosely based on the Milan High School basketball team’s miraculous state championship victory in 1954. After graduation, both men enrolled in film school at the University of Southern California (USC) and pursued separate careers in the entertainment industry—Anspaugh became an established television director, while Pizzo produced television movies at Time-Life Films. Hoosiers marked Anspaugh’s motion picture debut, and Pizzo’s first feature screenplay.
       On 6 Mar 1985, Var announced that the project had been picked up by Hemdale Film Corporation, with an estimated budget of $7 – $8 million. A 27 Aug 1985 HR item reported the casting of Gene Hackman, while the 24 Jan 1986 Back Stage claimed that Dee Wallace and an unknown actress from Chicago, IL, were among those considered to play “Myra Fleener” before the casting of Barbara Hershey. Of the seven young men hired to make up the “Hickory Huskers” basketball team, only David Neidorf had professional acting experience. The remaining six players were selected from a pool of over 600 Indiana locals, and were required to participate in an abbreviated basketball game as part of their audition.
       The 18 Oct 1985 HR stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 21 Oct 1985 in New Richmond, IN. The fictional ... More Less

An epilogue depicts a young boy shooting baskets in the “Hickory High School” gymnasium under a photograph of the 1952 State Championship team, accompanied by dialogue from “Coach Norman Dale’s” first day of practice.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo were fraternity brothers at Indiana University when they conceived the idea for a screenplay loosely based on the Milan High School basketball team’s miraculous state championship victory in 1954. After graduation, both men enrolled in film school at the University of Southern California (USC) and pursued separate careers in the entertainment industry—Anspaugh became an established television director, while Pizzo produced television movies at Time-Life Films. Hoosiers marked Anspaugh’s motion picture debut, and Pizzo’s first feature screenplay.
       On 6 Mar 1985, Var announced that the project had been picked up by Hemdale Film Corporation, with an estimated budget of $7 – $8 million. A 27 Aug 1985 HR item reported the casting of Gene Hackman, while the 24 Jan 1986 Back Stage claimed that Dee Wallace and an unknown actress from Chicago, IL, were among those considered to play “Myra Fleener” before the casting of Barbara Hershey. Of the seven young men hired to make up the “Hickory Huskers” basketball team, only David Neidorf had professional acting experience. The remaining six players were selected from a pool of over 600 Indiana locals, and were required to participate in an abbreviated basketball game as part of their audition.
       The 18 Oct 1985 HR stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 21 Oct 1985 in New Richmond, IN. The fictional township of “Hickory” was comprised of various locations in Ninevah, Knightstown, Danville, and Lebanon, all roughly one hour from production headquarters in Indianapolis. The Knightstown Elementary School gymnasium doubled as the Hickory High home court, while the final state championship game took place at Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. On the first night shooting at Butler, only 400 local background actors showed up to fill the 15,000-seat stadium, which prevented the production from filming any long shots of the court. Although filmmakers briefly considered rewriting the script, Indiana Film Commission director Karen Galvin solved the problem by asking a nearby high school to move their next game to Hinkle, drawing a crowd of 8,000 fans. All games were choreographed by veteran coach Tom McConnell and former Indiana University players Tom Abernathy and Spyridon “Strats” Stratigos, who served as technical advisors to develop a style of play that was appropriate for teams in the early 1950s. The seven-week production concluded in Dec 1985, three days over schedule. Final production cost was estimated at $6 million.
       A 7 Nov 1986 DV indicated that the world premiere took place 10 Nov 1986 at the Circle Theater in Indianapolis. All proceeds were donated to the Jameson Camp for Children. According to a 25 Nov 1986 HR advertisement, the film opened four days later in thirty Indiana theaters, where it collected a seven-day gross of $291,775. The West Coast premiere took place 11 Dec 1986 at the Cineplex Odeon Plitt Theatre in Century City, CA, followed by a limited, one-week engagement 12 – 19 Dec 1986 at the UA Coronet Theatre in Westwood, CA, to qualify for Academy Award consideration. However, due to its success, the 27 Feb 1987 NYT reported that the run was extended and business expanded to ninety theaters. Orion Pictures distribution chairman Joel Resnick claimed that the nationwide opening was postponed until 27 Feb 1987 in hope that the end of the high school basketball season would bolster the film’s success.
       A 26 Jan 1987 Long Beach Press-Telegram item reported that the picture was released in Europe under the title Best Shot, since Orion executives believed international audiences would likely be unfamiliar with the demonym, “Hoosiers,” which is used to describe people from the state of Indiana.
       Hoosiers was well received by both critics and audiences, and earned Academy Award nominations for Music (Original Score) Actor in a Supporting Role (Dennis Hopper). In 2006, AFI ranked the film #13 on its list of the 100 Most Inspiring Films of All Time.
       According to the 23 Mar 1987 issue of People magazine, DePauw University point guard Steve Hollar, who portrayed Hickory player “Rade Butcher,” was penalized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for accepting money to play the sport. Although the NCAA agreed that most of his participation in the film was acting, Hollar was suspended from three season games and forced to forfeit five percent of his $15,000 paycheck, or $632, to the university. The article also noted that DePauw player Griff Mills received a similar punishment for appearing in a brief “walk-on” role, although he is not credited onscreen.
       In 1988, several contemporary sources reported that Hemdale had become locked in a lengthy legal battle with Vestron, Inc., over the home video rights to Hoosiers and Platoon (1986, see entry). As a result, the 10 May 1989 DV announced that Gene Hackman filed suit against Hemdale for allegedly withholding his $500,000 share of videocassette revenues, while claiming an additional $5 million in damages. Although the suit was settled for an undisclosed sum, the 24 Jul 1991 DV stated that composer Jerry Goldsmith also filed a similar complaint against the company, the outcome of which could not be determined.
       End credits state: “The producers wish to thank Governor Robert Orr; Lt. Governor John Mutz; The Indiana Film Commission, Karen Galvin; Butler University; The people of New Richmond, Knightstown, Nineveh and all the other Hoosiers whose contribution and support helped make this film possible”; and, “Filmed entirely on location in the state of Indiana.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
24 Jan 1986
pp. 57-58.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1986
p. 12.
Daily Variety
10 May 1989.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1986
p. 3, 93.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1986.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
26 Jan 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1986
Section H, p. 1, 4.
New York Times
27 Feb 1987
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
27 Feb 1987
Section C, p. 10.
People
23 Mar 1987.
---
Variety
6 Mar 1985.
---
Variety
15 Oct 1986
p. 21.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion Pictures Release
Hemdale Film Corporation Presents
A Carter De Haven Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Steadicam cam asst
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Rigging gaffer
Still photog
Still photog
Crane op
Dir of photog, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Cam and lenses supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Prod illustrator
Asst art dir, 2d unit
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
Asst film ed
2d asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dec
Set dec
Const coord
Scenic artist
Head carpenter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Key costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus supv
Mus rec by
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Prod sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
Asst hairdresser
Addl asst hairdressers from
Addl asst hairdressers from
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
of Carlson-Dowd, Inc.
Scr supv
Asst to Mr. De Haven
Casting assoc
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Extra casting coord
Extra casting asst
Voice casting
Unit pub
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Period vehicle coord
Prod van driver
Honeywagon driver
Insert car driver
First aid
Craft service
Asst craft service
Basketball coord
Tech adv
Tech adv
Cheerleader adv
Indiana State Police coord
Indiana State Police officer
Indiana State Police officer
Prod services and equip
Digital keyboard by
Legal services performed by
Cooper, Epstein & Hurewitz
Insurance provided by
Albert G. Ruben & Co., Inc.
Completion guarantee by
Travel arrangements by
TST International
Motion picture banking
Credit Lyonnais Bank, Nederland
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Big Band Highlights 2 And 3," composed by Neil Amsterdam, courtesy of Capitol Production Music
"Manchester High School Fight Song," written and composed by Harold Leckrone
"Indiana (Back Home Again In Indiana)," words by Ballard MacDonald, music by James Hanley, published by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc.
+
SONGS
"Big Band Highlights 2 And 3," composed by Neil Amsterdam, courtesy of Capitol Production Music
"Manchester High School Fight Song," written and composed by Harold Leckrone
"Indiana (Back Home Again In Indiana)," words by Ballard MacDonald, music by James Hanley, published by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc.
"Butler War Song," composed by John Heiney, courtesy of Butler University
"Do Lord," traditional, performed by the Travel-Aires
"Hail To Southport," written and composed by Doris Schlensker
Star Spangled Banner Quartet
Travel-Aires.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Best Shot
Release Date:
12 December 1986
Premiere Information:
Indianapolis premiere: 10 November 1986
Indiana opening: 14 November 1986
Los Angeles premiere: 11 December 1986
Los Angeles opening: 12 December 1986
New York opening: 27 February 1987
Production Date:
21 October--December 1985
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28162
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1951, unemployed college basketball coach Norman Dale begins a new job at Hickory High School in rural Indiana, after being hired by his long time friend, Principal Cletus Summers. Resistant to change, the teachers and townspeople defensively question Norman’s credentials, making him feel unwelcome. Among the dissenters is faculty member Myra Fleener, who has advised star player Jimmy Chitwood not to participate in the upcoming season because his mother has fallen ill. At his first practice, Norman is shocked to learn the team consists of only seven members, one of whom is ridiculed for his short stature. Despite the disadvantage to the team, Norman does not hesitate to dismiss Buddy Walker and his friend, Whit Butcher, for being disrespectful. With the five remaining players--Rade Butcher, Everett Flatch, Merle Webb, Strap Purl, and Ollie McLellan--Norman develops exercises to improve their fundamental techniques while downplaying scrimmage and shooting. The program is met with derision from Hickory’s male residents, but Rollin Butcher eventually forces his son, Whit, to apologize for his behavior, and convinces his peers to refrain from intruding on Norman’s practices. Although he does not pressure Jimmy Chitwood to change his mind, Norman wonders if the boy has potential to attend college on an athletic scholarship. Myra challenges him, believing that pursuit of an athletic career will squander Jimmy’s academic potential and chance to get out of Hickory. At a school pep rally, the students chant, “We want Jimmy!,” but Norman demands they respect the six players who have put in the time and effort to be on the team. During the first game, the boys disobey the coach’s instructions to practice passing the ball before shooting. After a ... +


In 1951, unemployed college basketball coach Norman Dale begins a new job at Hickory High School in rural Indiana, after being hired by his long time friend, Principal Cletus Summers. Resistant to change, the teachers and townspeople defensively question Norman’s credentials, making him feel unwelcome. Among the dissenters is faculty member Myra Fleener, who has advised star player Jimmy Chitwood not to participate in the upcoming season because his mother has fallen ill. At his first practice, Norman is shocked to learn the team consists of only seven members, one of whom is ridiculed for his short stature. Despite the disadvantage to the team, Norman does not hesitate to dismiss Buddy Walker and his friend, Whit Butcher, for being disrespectful. With the five remaining players--Rade Butcher, Everett Flatch, Merle Webb, Strap Purl, and Ollie McLellan--Norman develops exercises to improve their fundamental techniques while downplaying scrimmage and shooting. The program is met with derision from Hickory’s male residents, but Rollin Butcher eventually forces his son, Whit, to apologize for his behavior, and convinces his peers to refrain from intruding on Norman’s practices. Although he does not pressure Jimmy Chitwood to change his mind, Norman wonders if the boy has potential to attend college on an athletic scholarship. Myra challenges him, believing that pursuit of an athletic career will squander Jimmy’s academic potential and chance to get out of Hickory. At a school pep rally, the students chant, “We want Jimmy!,” but Norman demands they respect the six players who have put in the time and effort to be on the team. During the first game, the boys disobey the coach’s instructions to practice passing the ball before shooting. After a crushing defeat, Norman warns them to never question his authority. In town, Myra’s mother, Opal, invites Norman to visit their farm. Although reluctant to reveal many personal details, Myra confesses she left Hickory to pursue a graduate degree, but was forced to return after her father died. The night before the next game, Everett’s alcoholic father, “Shooter” Flatch, draws from his experience as a former Hickory player to offer Norman some friendly scouting tips. In the next match against the Cedar Knob Knights, Norman gets into an altercation with the referee over an unfair call. Rade comes to his defense by punching an opposing player, and Cletus is forced to take over as coach. Afterward, Norman learns that Cletus suffers from a serious heart condition, and asks Shooter to get sober and step in as his new assistant. Shooter is initially unwilling to give up drinking, but cleans up his appearance in time for the next game. With Cletus home on bed rest, Myra assumes the role of acting principal and informs Norman that the town has proposed a referendum for his dismissal. After another incident on the court, Myra discovers that Norman was permanently suspended from coaching in New York for physically assaulting one of his own players during a game. Although she intends to disclose the truth at the referendum, she admires his efforts to help Shooter, and speaks publicly his favor. Moments before the vote is announced, Jimmy Chitwood announces he will resume his basketball career if Norman is permitted to continue coaching. The townspeople agree, and the team goes on to secure a string of successive victories. Over time, Shooter finds confidence as a coach and rebuilds his relationship with his son. However, the mounting pressure of sectional finals causes him to relapse, and he drunkenly wanders onto the court in the middle of the game. Embarrassed, Everett gets into a fight with another player, sustaining a large gash in his shoulder blade. Later that day, Everett and Norman discover Shooter lying unconscious in the snow, and take him to the hospital. During the sectional championships, Everett’s wound reopens, forcing Norman to pull him out of the game. When Strap commits a foul in the final quarter, Ollie is sent in as an alternate. Defying all expectations, Ollie scores two free throw points and wins the game. Before going on to the state finals, Norman and Myra admit their mutual attraction, and Everett encourages his father to get well. The smallest school to ever compete in the Indiana State Championships, Hickory travels to Indianapolis to face off against the defending team from South Bend Central. With only seconds remaining on the clock, Jimmy makes a tiebreaking basket and clinches the title. As the crowd erupts in applause, Norman looks to the stands and sees Myra proudly smiling back at him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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