12 Things You Didn’t Know About the Movie Hoosiers

unnamedI watched Hoosiers the other night and was reminded again how it’s not just a great sports movie, but a great movie. Afterwards, I was curious about the making of the film and discovered some very interesting facts about the movie. Enjoy!

In no particular order [Sources: Wikipedia & ESPN.com]:

1. The screenplay was written by Angelo Pizzo and directed by David Anspaugh. These two teamed up for another great sports movie: Rudy.

2. The school in the movie was Hickory High School but the name of the real school, which the film was based on, was Milan High School. Milan won the Indiana state championship in 1954 with an enrollment of only 161. It still stands as the smallest school to win a state basketball championship in Indiana.

3. In route to the 1954 state championship, Milan defeated Crispus Attucks High School of Indianapolis which starred future NBA Hall-of-Famer, Oscar Robertson.

4. The real life Jimmy Chitwood, Bobby Plump, went on to play college basketball at Butler and then professional basketball in the National Industrial Basketball League.

5. In the UK, the movie is named Best Shot.

6. The budget was so low for the movie that the crew had to hire locals from New Richmond, IN (where the film was shot) to play the parts of the Hickory basketball team.

7. Maris Valainis, who plays Jimmy Chitwood in the movie, was cut four times from his own high school team.

8. Maris Valainis was known for completing many of the shooting scenes in the movie in one take.

9. Gene Hackman thought that doing the movie would be a career killer for him. He was wrong.

10. In the real-life championship game, Bobby Plump (Jimmy Chitwood), held the ball for 4 minutes and 13 seconds before draining the winning jumper. That would have made for a less dramatic ending to the movie.

11. The gym used in the movie, as the The Hickory High School gym, is in Knightstown, IN and is open daily to the public free of charge.

12. The movie is 115 minutes long and there’s only 6 minutes of basketball action.


Here are some memorable quotes from the movie:

“My practices aren’t designed for your enjoyment.” –Coach Norman Dale

“If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.” –Coach Norman Dale

Myra Fleener: You know, a basketball hero around here is treated like a god, er, uh, how can he ever find out what he can really do? I don’t want this to be the high point of his life. I’ve seen them, the real sad ones. They sit around the rest of their lives talking about the glory days when they were seventeen years old.
Coach Norman Dale: You know, most people would kill… to be treated like a god, just for a few moments.

“Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team – no one more important that the other.” –Coach Norman Dale

“Let’s win this game for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here.” –Merie Webb (player)

Coach Norman Dale: What’s gotten into you?
Strap Purl: The Lord! I can feel His strength!
Coach Norman Dale: Well… keep His strength in the dribble alright?

“I would hope you would support who we are. Not, who we are not. These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next 4 months, to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team.” –Coach Norman Dale

Finally, a part of Roger Ebert’s review of the movie:

unnamed-2special is not its story, however, but its details and its characters. Angelo Pizzo, who wrote the original screenplay, knows small-town sports. He knows all about high school politics and how the school board and the parents’ groups always think they know more about basketball than the coach does. He knows about gossip, scandal and vengeance. And he knows a lot about human nature. All of his knowledge, however, would be pointless without Hackman’s great performance at the center of this movie. Hackman is gifted at combining likability with complexity — two qualities that usually don’t go together in the movies. He projects all of the single-mindedness of any good coach, but then he contains other dimensions, and we learn about the scandal in his past that led him to this one-horse town. David Anspaugh’s direction is good at suggesting Hackman’s complexity without belaboring it.

Credit: Bob Schindler – The Executive Director of our sister ministry, Church Sports Outreach
Submitted by Ken Cross.

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