|Directed by||David Anspaugh|
|Produced by||Carter DeHaven
|Written by||Angelo Pizzo|
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Release date(s)||November 14, 1986|
|Running time||115 min.|
The story is set during 1951, when all high schools in Indiana, regardless of size, competed in one state championship tournament. It is very loosely based on the story of a real Indiana team of that period, the Milan High School team that won the 1954 state championship.
Gene Hackman stars as Norman Dale, a new coach with a spotty past. It co-stars Barbara Hershey, Sheb Wooley and Dennis Hopper as a basketball-loving town drunkard, a performance that brought Hopper an Oscar nomination.
The movie was written by Angelo Pizzo, who would go on to co-produce the underdog sports movie Rudy, and directed by David Anspaugh, who directed that film. The score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Score.
Hoosiers was ranked number 13 by the American Film Institute on its 100 Years... 100 Cheers. The film was the choice of the readers of USA Today newspaper as the best sports movie of all time. In 2001, Hoosiers was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten" — the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres — after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Hoosiers was acknowledged as the fourth best film in the sports genre.
A museum to commemorate the real life achievements of the 1954 Milan team has been established.
Hoosiers was re-titled as Best Shot in the United Kingdom.
Norman Dale arrives in the rural Indiana town of Hickory to be a teacher and coach basketball. His friend Cletus has offered him the job, knowing that it is something of a last chance for Dale, who lost a previous position after physically striking a student.
Like much of the state, Hickory's community is passionate about basketball. It is also painfully aware that the best player in town, Jimmy Chitwood, does not intend to play on this season's team, and Hickory faculty member Myra Fleener warns the new coach not to try to persuade Jimmy to change his mind.
The enrollment is so small that Dale has very few players on his squad. Nevertheless, when his strict rules are disobeyed, he dismisses a key member of the team. The coach further alienates the community with a slow, defensive style that does not immediately produce results and by losing his temper, causing him to be ejected from games more than once.
Dale needs a new assistant coach and invites a knowledgeable basketball fan known as Shooter, the alcoholic father of one of his players, to join him on the bench. This, too, confounds the town, including Shooter's son.
By the middle of the season, an emergency town meeting is called to vote on whether Dale should be dismissed. Fleener appreciates the coach's staying away from Jimmy Chitwood and sides with him, but the town nevertheless votes him out. At the last minute, however, Jimmy asks permission to speak and announces that it is time for him to begin playing basketball again—but only on one condition, that Dale remain as a coach.
From this point on, Hickory becomes an unstoppable team. Despite a setback in which Shooter arrives drunk to a game and ends up in a hospital, Coach Dale's team advances through tournament play, with contributions from unsung players such as the pint-sized Ollie and devoutly religious Strap.
Hickory shocks the entire state by reaching the state championship game. There, in a large arena and before a crowd the likes of which these players have never seen, Hickory faces long odds in defeating a team from South Bend that is deeper and more athletic. But with Chitwood once again coming to the rescue at the last possible second, tiny Hickory takes home the 1952 Indiana state championship.
== Cast ==hi
The film is very loosely based on the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions, Milan High School (pronounced /ˈmaɪlən/ MY-lun), but the term "inspired by a true story" may be more appropriate, as there was little the two teams had in common.
In most US states, high school athletic teams are divided into different classes, usually based on the number of enrolled students, with separate state championship tournaments held for each classification. At the time, Indiana conducted a single state basketball championship for all of its high schools, and continued to do so until 1997. Today, only Kentucky, Delaware, and Hawaii continue to use the one-class system to determine the state high school basketball champion. In addition, New Jersey uses a Tournament of Champions among all the group champions to determine a single state champion. Some elements of the film do match closely with those of Milan's real story. Like the movie's Hickory High School, Milan was a very small high school in a rural, southern Indiana town. Both schools had undersized teams. Both Hickory and Milan won the state finals by two points: Hickory won 42–40, and Milan won 32–30. The final seconds of the Hoosiers state final hold fairly closely to the details of Milan's 1954 final; the final shot in the movie was taken from virtually the same spot on the floor as Bobby Plump's actual game-winner. The movie's final game was even shot in the same building that hosted the 1954 Indiana final, Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse (called Butler Fieldhouse in 1954) in Indianapolis.
There were other connections between the movie and real life. The announcer of the championship game in the movie was Hilliard Gates, whose voice was familiar to Indiana high school basketball fans of the 1950s and '60s. The legendary announcer Tom Carnegie played the role of the public address announcer during the final championship game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Ray Craft also has a role in the film, welcoming the Huskers to Butler Fieldhouse as they get off the bus for the championship game.
During filming on location at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University, directors were unable to secure enough extras for shooting the final scenes even after casting calls through the Indianapolis media. To help fill the stands, they invited two local high schools to move a game to the Fieldhouse. Broad Ripple and Chatard obliged, and crowd shots were filmed during their actual game. Fans of both schools came out in period costumes to serve as extras and to supplement the hundreds of locals who had answered the call. At halftime and following the game, actors took to the court to shoot footage of the "state championship" scenes, including the game-winning shot by Hickory.
Speculation exists that the character of Norman Dale was named for Norm Ellenberger, whose middle name is Dale. A longtime assistant coach for Bob Knight at Indiana, he once played basketball for coach Tony Hinkle at Butler.
The film's producers chose New Richmond, Indiana to serve as the fictional town of Hickory, and recorded most of the film's location shots in and around the community. Signs on the roads into New Richmond still recall its role in the film.