(1994) Directed by Steve James
The Citizen Kane of sport documentaries. Almost everyone who has made one since lists it among his or her influences. It was truly ground-breaking in format and content. A film crew spent five years in Chicago with two schoolboy basketball prospects and their families, to craft a near threehour film with a range and depth of insight simply not seen before. Since then, of course, the story of the kid trapped on the wrong side of the tracks with sport as their means of escape has been told many, many times, but there hasn’t been a film that takes the viewer into that world so fully. Hoop Dreams retains all of its emotional and dramatic power, and has perhaps even gained some over time. Watching it now, you realise that no one is putting forward the version of themselves they feel they need to be on camera—an impossibility with the rise of reality TV in the last 10 years.